Top tips from dressage star Charlotte Dujardin

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We asked Olympic and World Champion dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin for her top tips for riding a test at a competition. This is what she had to say.

Don't focus on perfection

"I don't think you should obsess about trying to make it all perfect, but instead try and be the best you can be on the day. Remember that you're there to have fun - you need to enjoy it too." 

Take care to prepare as well as you can

"I'd say definitely learn your tests as thoroughly as you can and well in advance of your competition. In addition, each time you ride at home, rehearse a warm up that you can do on the day. If you do the same warm up as you do at home, your horse will feel relaxed and he'll focus on what you're telling him." 

Think about what's coming next

"During your test, try to stay relaxed and always think ahead to your next movement so that you're well prepared throughout the test."

Make sure that you keep concentration on what you're doing

"Keep your focus on accuracy and ride the best you can in each movement."

Set your horse up

"An important thing to do during your test is to ride your horse deep into the corners because doing this helps to set him up for the next movement." 

Hold your nerve

"I try to remember that any bit of progress is positive and not to take it all so seriously, even when I'm at major championships. If you start to take things too seriously, it stops being fun. This can mean you become tense and this translates through to your horse, meaning you're more likely to make mistakes. Being well prepared for your test can also prevent nerves. This not only includes learning your test well, but packing for your show in advance, too, giving you plenty of time on the day. If you've done all of this in advance, it can help to ease the stress on the day as you won't be worrying about what you need to take and you can just focus on your test. It's also really good to have a positive support team around you, be it a groom, a member of your family, a friend or your trainer. It's important to have someone there who'll encourage you and make you feel good."

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