10 weeks from the first show of the season. Add to List.

For those of us in the North the end of February marks a rehearsal date.  Whatever tests you have planned for the Spring season need to be ridden through.

You say you are not ready?

You probably are, though logically it may not be the best ride you put in over the season.

If you have been doing your homework over the winter you will have been schooling new material and consolidating the old.  The winter (or whatever season you consider to be the “off” non-show season) is the time the homework gets done, new movements are roughed in.  This is how it should be.

If you have taken the winter off, as many in our neck of the woods do, you probably won’t be planning for the first shows of the season.  Your  April will have been our December.  But no matter what working months you choose, there is the “work and rough in” period, and then the “get ready to show it” period.

The two things are different.

Here is how your first imaginary test might ride, ten weeks before show date:

1. Canter down center line to halt at X.  Notice that a correct canter to halt has not occurred.  Steps of trot were present–Add 1 to list.

2. At C, Turn right, cross diagonal medium trot.  Note transitions in and out of medium are weak, though medium itself is strong.  Do you want fives or sevens out of the same medium?  Add 2 to list.

3. At A, canter, F half pass left to X, Flying change, half pass to right M flying change.  The whole thing started late and crept down the arena, making a rushed feel. Last change was late behind.  Add 3 to List

And so the test goes on.  It is clear you know HOW to do everything–the schooling over the winter has made this possible–but it is far from the polished performance you would like.  In fact, each of the twelve movements of your imaginary test has created at least one Add to List.

These added tasks will get better with dedicated practice.  And you now have ten weeks to do this practice.  If you wait until the week before your show to find out that practice is necessary, you will not have time.

Why the resistance?  How come you don’t want to ride the test?  Why all the sour faces and procrastination when I asked for it?

You say it will not be perfect?  No problem.  That is 100% okay.  It is still late February.

You have ten weeks to methodically go through all the elements until they are virtually perfect.

Then there is some hope that they will come out in a similar manner in the arena.  Congratulations!

Ten days prior?  Not so much so.  You’d have to rely on luck–something that is far overrated in the show ring.

So, ride the test, take notes. Have it taped.

You, your horse, your trainer (and your judge!) will all be very glad you did.  The competition?  Not so much so!

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