Tip #2 - Using Corners
Corners are the glue that holds your test together! Nail your corners and you set your horse up for success.
Corners are everywhere! But the ones I'm specifically talking about here are the four corners of the dressage arena.
Almost every single movement in a test is preceded by one of these corners. They are the secret source of the test riding! Essentially they are a 1/4 volte. Bear with me because I'm going to digress here and delve into the training scale a little bit...
As we progress through the levels, one of the things the judges are looking for is our horse's ability to collect. Collection is essentially the ability of the horse to bend and take weight through the haunches, extending his hind leg further underneath his body. This in turn allows the horse to lift the shoulders and create more 'pushing and lifting power'.
Collection begins in the most basic of exercises such as the shoulder fore, and progresses through shoulder in, renvere, travere, half pass, pirouettes, flying changes, piaffe and passage. So if we think about exercises where we can get the find leg under our horse, the corner is the perfect place!
A correctly ridden corner gives us the ability to re-balance our horse, engage the hind leg and lift his shoulder, placing his body in the position and balance he needs in order to execute the next movement such as shoulder in or half pass.
The judges will be looking for the lifting of the shoulder in all movements, so by using the corners to keep your hours balanced and taking the weight behind you will be gaining marks across the entire test.
My next tip: 'Movements' - Read now here