The Worst Test

by kpmautner

The worst dressage test I ever rode was on the same horse who gave me the best dressage ride I ever put in. Odd, isn’t it!

Anyway, back when Moses and I were campaigning, I thought it might be fun to try and take dressage a little more seriously. We usually won the dressage at Novice and Training, and I thought that if we were going to take a shot at Prelim, we ought to put our best foot forward. So we started working Second Level. (There’s a lot more to that story, but it’ll keep for another day.)

Second level at the time required beginning collection, all elements of lateral work, and canter-halt-canter transitions. Moses was very good at canter-halt, not quite so good at halt-canter. We practiced all the required movements, and were starting to work the Third level steps. So we spent the season working hard at the (for us) advanced stuff. I showed him in a bunch of Second level tests and did surprisingly well. The last one was spectacular. From somewhere deep inside of him, Moses dug down and gave me everything he had, and added a little more. I felt like I was riding a cloud. We pulled a very respectable score (over 67%!) and won the class.


About three weeks later, the event season started. I was going to do a novice level for the first event of the season. Being oblivious, it never occurred to me to change gears before going into Training level test one. Silly me. Moses spent the entire test explaining to me that trotting all the way down the long side was just WRONG, and offering to do half-pass, haunches in, shoulder in and collected trot (all in one long side). He also didn’t see the sense of 20 meter circles. Trying to convince him that we were not going to do voltes ended in egg-shaped messes!

That’ll teach me to prep for the coming event, not rest on my laurels.