“I am going to my first dressage competition with my youngster next weekend but I’m not really sure what he is going to be like with the judges car/box and the dressage markers. Please could you give me some tips on what to do on the day?”
Oliver answers: With any youngster you should practise as much as you can, not the whole test but go through the various movements that you have to ride in the test so that they become second nature. Also when it comes to youngsters, if it is at all possible, try and create a competition arena at home, even if you use jumping poles as boards and park your or a friends car at the end of the arena. Some people even add music, flower pots, flags etc to create as much atmosphere as possible so then when you go out to competition there is no difference.
My final tip is to stay as relaxed as you can yourself and if your horse makes a mistake, give him a pat as he is only learning and there will be many more days. I hope that helps for your future competitions – Good Luck!