How do you learn? What methods do you use? Whether you are having your test called or learning it by heart, it is important to know where you are going and which movement comes next so you can fully prepare your horse.
The most effective way of learning and recalling information is to use a combination of techniques to ensure that different areas of your brain are stimulated.
READING through a test is the most widely used method but is actually the least effective on its own. It's a great place to start, but to ensure the movements stick in your head, you need to find ways of interacting.
LISTENING to a test through headphones or out loud whilst in your car or horsebox can be a great way to start reinforcing the test in your head. It can also be combined with visualizing the test by shutting your eyes and seeing yourself ride the test with your horse.
DRAWING out the movements once you have a good idea of the test is effective. If you forget a movement it is better to go back and check the test, rather than carry on and memorise incorrectly.
RIDING through the test or specific movements is the next step in learning your test. This helps you and your horse understand where you need to begin thinking about the next move and the signals you need to make. Ensure your transitions are in the correct place so you memorise correctly.
SPEAKING the test aloud to someone else from start to finish and repeating any areas that you feel uncertain about is the final step in learning your test.
It is important to remember that everyone makes mistakes when riding their tests, and that staying in a positive mindset will help you learn from your mistakes and make sure that the next time you ride your test you'll win!
If you want to be able to combine all the above learning methods and make them easily accessible on the move, the new app Dressage TestPro is making waves on the dressage scene. Currently available on iPhone, with an Android version to be released in June, the app allows you to read your test, listen to it being spoken and draw the movements on screen, correcting you anywhere you go wrong. At present, British Dressage, Dressage Ireland, FEI and USDF tests are available, with the option to trial the app before you buy different test packs at different prices.