With the British Dressage National Championships earlier this month and our very own championships looming, we caught up with our title sponsors Dressage Deluxe's international Grand Prix rider Bobby Hayler for her tips on successful championship riding.
Have a plan in the lead up to your championship test. Work out a schedule with your trainer so that you can refine aspects of your test to perfection and in plenty of time.
Practice does make perfect. So, run through your test before your competition a few times and if you have a horse that anticipates, take small chunks and incorporate into your training sessions, so that he doesn't start riding the test for you! If you can borrow a friend's horse to run through the test a few times, this will also help you memorise it. Make sure you know where you are going and how each movement feels to ensure you are able to ride them confidently and correctly.
So many riders throw away marks by not riding movements correctly and to the markers. Don't lose marks from sloppiness, ride accurately and see your marks improve.
If you do make a mistake (it's happened to all of us at some time!) then don't dwell on it. It is only one mark, so quickly recover and focus on the next movement and riding the rest of the test.
Remember, being mentally prepared for your competition is just as important as the physical training, so put time into learning the test and focusing on a positive outcome. Don't let nerves ruin your enjoyment or affect your riding, after all we are supposed to enjoy our time with our horses, so smile as you ride down the centre line and good luck!
Bobby is sponsored by premium retailer Dressage Deluxe: The style emporium for the discerning horse and rider.