Rule Change for Rider Score in Dressage Tests

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For years Judges have been frustrated about how to score bad riding in the dressage tests. Arguably, each movement could lose one point for bad riding, however, there is now an important rule change which will be a clear message to the rider to evaluate their seat and its effectiveness. Over the years we have seen a tremendous improvement in horses movement and ability but not the same advancement in the quality of riding.

The collective scores at the bottom of the score sheet are often the deciding factor in similar rides. Normally they are all doubled, however, under the new rule the rider score will be tripled. This will greatly benefit the talented correct riders and will send a clear directive to seek better instruction for the less effective riders.

One of the most common faults is the rider balancing off the reins which causes the horse to resist almost every movement and transition. In training, the rider must always test his horses self carriage and balance by softening the muscles in the arms to see what the reaction of the horse is. If the horse falls on the forehand, you know you are holding him up, if he remains the same, you are on the correct path to good training. It takes tremendous feel and time to develop an independent seat.

Judges prefer to see riders competing at levels one step below what they are training at home so that their ride is confident, flowing and elegant. Remember the goal of dressage is a harmonious rider and horse (hopefully) dancing around the arena.