Fail photos

"Everything will be alright in the end, and if it's not alright, then it is not the end"
If anyone has any misconceptions that we are 100% perfect all of the time, I just wanted to show you some not-so-great photos from Friday's lesson... These were all the result of the bird scarer gunshot thing going off randomly throughout the lesson - fun times!
Trying to slow down a horse galloping off
And when it doesn't stop or slow down, just laugh
Dressage Today had a fantastic article was again that is full of good little tips for test riding. With the possibility of competing this summer becoming more and more likely, I definitely need to work on riding more accurately in order to get better points.

Walk pirouettes is something that we struggle with unless I focus properly and ride it well: 
It is much easier to turn around a shorter, higher stride than a huge, long one.
 If the pirouette is done between letters across the arena (e.g., between M and H), make them close to the rail, which will help set the horse up.

Canter pirouettes are easy for Vallu, but difficult for me to make sure that he doesn't get stuck: 
The most important part is to show the ability to shorten the canter stride and put more weight on the hind legs. 
More strides indicate the rider is having trouble with the turning aids. Fewer indicate the horse's lack of strength to stay in the movement and show the rider's lack of control. 
In a half pirouette, the number of strides is three to four.

Half pass is again very easy for us, but because it is so easy it makes me either rush because I think I know what I'm doing, or then ride it half heartedly without proper preparation: 
Any half pass that comes from centerline must show straightness first. That would be shoulder-fore. Remember the haunches come onto centerline last, so if you go sideways as soon as the front legs hit the centerline, the haunches will lead. This shows a lack of engagement, and the score will generally remain around a 6. 
In the half pass, we see a lot of sloppy endings. Horses lose bend and fall to the rail. Get to the rail with the bend, and then change position into the new direction.
Counter canter has as much bend as a 20-meter circle, and riders tend to over-bend the neck in the direction of the lead, which puts the horse on the outside shoulder, unbalancing him.

Flying changes are not too difficult, but I must not over collect the canter as this makes the changes small and tight:
These are ridden a bit more forward than the normal collected canter. 
If you have a change after a half pass, be sure to finish the half pass exercise in time to ride the canter forward and show a nice expressive change. 
If the change is on the long side, think of making it as the horse's nose touches the letter. 
If you wait until the horse is on a curved line (the corner), you increase the difficulty and likely decrease the balance and the score.
In tempi changes on the diagonal, it is best to center the middle change at X.

Transitions on a diagonal line: 
If you have an extended or medium canter with a flying change at the end, collect on the second quarterline and ride forward. The front leg of the change should be the first stride to touch the track. If you change in the corner, you will not be balanced or straight and will lose points.

Remember that accuracy is always secondary to good basics! You are there to demonstrate your training, the judge does not appreciate seeing huge corrections made by riders.
A little bit of practise needed ;) 

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