A good first impression is what we should strive for. If helps you to feel more positive and gives the judge a postive expectation.
1. You should know beforehand which is the best rein for your horse to enter in and have practised this at home repeatedly. Using cones is great to start with, but practise without as well.
2. As you enter the competition area, walk over to the judge and writer, smile and let them know your number and name if necessary. Make sure they can see your number. If you are not allowed a whip, drop it out of the way.
3. When you go to into the area just around the outside of the arena, you should have enough time to go in both directions all the way round in trot, allowing your horse to see everything from either side. End up on the rein you want to enter in. Wait for the bell to ring, if it has already rung before you can go round each way, remember, you still have 45 seconds...don't rush!
4. That 45 seconds is quite a long time. Have a go at home and trot around the outside of a marked out area of the same size, just to see for yourself what you can do before entering. However, if you go over the 45 seconds, you will incur a 2 mark penalty (from each judge).
5. If you have the opportunity of entering from outside the arena, take it! It gives you lots more time to get your straight line organised.
6. If you have to enter from inside the arena, do so from the best rein and make sure you have practised the turn onto the center line. Make sure you look at A, then look over at the judge as you are turning, you want to get onto the center line reasonably quickly. Try never to make the turn too big, overshooting the center line looks messy. If you turn a little too early, it is easier to get onto that line.
7. Make sure when you turn, you keep that A marker on the outside of your turn. If you incorporate the A marker on your inside, you will have to correct the bend just as you come in. Stay close to the marker.
8 If you start further back and can already get onto a straight line well before entering, do so, but ride very close to the A marker so you don't need to do to many little adjustments of balance and straightness as you go in.
9. Make sure you enter with a good amount of activity. Often you see riders doing so well around the outside, then stop riding as they come in. The horse loses all purpose and activity. This may well compromise straightness and balance and you don't want to be worrying about this.
10. A postive entry is very important. Take a deep breath and smile at the judge! This will all help towards feeling positive about the test.
11. If you are not halting, do just remind yourself as you come in whether you are turning left or right at C.
12. Look directly at C, keep moving your horse on towards this, which should be between your horse's ears.
13. If you have a wobble on the center line, don't change anything, just ride straight on to C! Trying to rectify this most likely will make the situation worse.
14. Prepare for the turn at C. Know how far back your horse needs to be prepared for the turn. If they know which direction they are going, it avoids any indicision and loss of balance when you get right up there.
15. You don't want to turn to early, but the horse is not telapathic, make sure you give it a clue! Just turning your head slightly should do it, or turn your shoulders/hips before actually asking the horse to turn.
Phew...now you have entered, full of energy, big smiles, sitting up, looking for your turn, you can just remind yourself of that next move! Have fun!