Riding good transitions is a key part of any dressage test. They’re also a useful warm-up exercise, but they need to be ridden correctly for you to feel the benefits.

“Sometimes we try so hard that we stop breathing and go rigid,” says dressage trainer Toni Brown. “Slow your rising so that you rise lower and slower, but still keep thinking forward into walk.”

To get more expression from your horse’s front legs, sit back more to create extra space between your upper body and his neck.

By focusing on riding better transitions in your schooling, they will become much more established. This will transfer to your test riding too and result in higher marks.

Max that walk

Many riders neglect the walk. In most dressage tests, it’s worth double marks, so it’s well worth practicing to gain as high a score as possible.

The walk should ‘march’, without you having to work too hard for it. You should get a reaction from your leg aid, then sit still rather than nagging every step.

The transition back to medium walk is a movement where it’s easy to lose marks.

“Don’t let your hands overtake your legs,” advises Toni. “Your horse must be in front of your leg at all times.”

Watch Victoria and Buddy’s test and see the judge’s comments below:

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