The do’s and don’ts of entering a competition ring

The do's and don'ts of entering the competition ring

We’ve all seen the dressage disaster videos where a dressage rider enters the ring and the horse spooks and exits stage left.

It’s a situation no one wants to be in. But how can you resolve it? What can you do to ensure that your horse is confident, no matter the pressures in the environment? 

Step #1: Take the leg off

That’s the single most important thing. It’s vital that you’re not pushing your horse towards the scary thing.

Instead, the horse has to feel that they are confidently stepping towards the scary thing. Your horse has to believe he’s taking himself there. 

Often we’re afraid our horse will stop, but if that happens, you do the following:

Step #2: Open the front legs

By opening the front legs, as explained in the video below, your horse goes into what I call the “yes-posture”. 

When a horse leans back he goes into the “no-posture” which even becomes worse when we put the leg on to push the horse forward. 

Instead you want to open the front legs by guiding the front legs to the left or right with your reins. 

Of course, this is something you want to practice at home before going to a competition. Doing this during the test will give you lower scores than trying to hide the tension by pushing your horse forward. 


However, in the long run, if you want your horse to be able to give his best, he needs to feel confident and relaxed in the arena. 

Watch the clinic to find out more:

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