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Thanks Horse Junkies!!

Great Dressage Tips From Boyd Martin!

June 25, 2011 6:30 pm Posted by Carrie under Product ReviewsRiding & Horse Show Tips

Boyd looking cheeky and Remmy looking realxed as they warm up for Rolex Kentucky, 2011. Photo by the awesome Calina.
Recently, Boyd and Silva Martin have released a series of training videos. Guess What!? We have completed the first series in their videos and we are on to the next one, as one of my hero’s Jay-Z would say.
I just about did a backflip when I saw which video was up next:  Managing a Nervous Horse in their Dressage Test.  Been there done that, got the ribbon for a ‘completion’.   Part 1 of series 2 takes us through the motions of attempting to get it together before entering at A. Yes, breathing is important.
First of all, this video shows Boyd and his horse at an actual Horse Trial warming up for their actual dressage test.  Ummm, COOL!  That was something I wasn’t expecting at all. As we all know, our biggest challenge as a rider is getting our super fit event horses who would much rather be running around a cross country course, relaxed and supple for what we all consider to be the longest 6 minutes of our lives.
Here are some of the tips:
1. Familiarization. If you can get there the day before, PERFECT! If not, get there bright and early and ride around the area where you know your test is going to be.
2. Nutrition. Boyd avoids certain hay and feeds. I’m not going to tell you which ones though!  A calming supplement is also a good recommendation.  However – ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR VET FIRST to be certain nothing will be a surprise on drug test.
3. The Warm Up. This is KEY to relaxation.  As much as possible, stick to the same program as you would when warming up at home.  Stretch a LOT, don’t create any pressure and just cruise around until you can feel your horse relax.  As Boyd says, “Make them think it is just another day at the office.”
4. Introduce Movements From The Test. Once your horse is relaxed, slowly work them through some of the movements they are going to be required to do.
BREAK TIME!! Make sure you allow your horse to take a break, walk, stretch and reassure them that everything is okay.
5. Move Closer To The Ring. About 12-15 minutes out, Boyd makes his way closer to the actual arena that the test will be ridden at.  Because you took to time to familiarize your horse to the ring, this change in scenery, shouldn’t be a problem.  Boyd suggests keeping your horse’s mind entertained’ and ask him to always keep working.
6. The Test. As soon as the competitor before you salutes, Boyd suggests getting your butt going around the ring ASAP.  This will allow as much time as possible in the test area before the bell rings.  SMILE AND NOD at the judge.  In Boyd’s opinion, that is always good for an extra mark or two…then again, it is also Boyd who is tall, good looking and speaks with an accent.  I’ll try it next time anyway.
What was awesome about this video – is that you literally get to see each and every phase of the steps as mentioned. INCLUDING his actual dressage test.  Which was a nice surprise!
I did mention which tip Boyd thinks is most important for achieving that state of relaxation above, but, well, you’re all going to have to watch the video yourself to find out what that is!
Thanks for the awesome tips Boyd! Can’t wait for my next Dressage test!!
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