When you start doing dressage it can be very difficult to learn the dressage tests. The letters around the arena seem to be totally random and are not easy to remember. I have been doing dressage for around 10 years and I have developed my own method of learning dressage tests. I find it easier to remember shapes so my method is based on learning patterns.
There is no need to learn the confusing letters
Its easy to remember where certain markers are located – A, C, X even G are obvious. Everybody knows B and E are halfway down the long side but do you know which long side B is on ?
I recommend using short descriptions of the location in the arena rather than the difficult to remember letters. Another memory saver is that its not actually necessary to remember on which long side you do a movement … its obvious when you are doing the test – you just need to remember where on the long side.
The diagrams show the original letters and my names for each of the locations in both a 20 x 40 and a 20 x60 arena.
Tests can include both short and long diagonals in the 20×40 arena and in the 20×60 arena there are four different diagonals that could be in the test. The diagonals are named based on the length of the diagonal relative to the longest diagonal.
- Long diagonal
- Half diagonal
- 3/4 diagonal and 1/4 diagonal (only in the 20×60 arena)
The long diagonal is from corner to corner and therefore, by definition, must start at the corner marker but the shorter diagonals could start at other markers on the long side.
So for diagonals remember
- start location of the diagonal
- length of the diagonal
|FXH Change rein||at corner long diagonal|
|SP change rein in medium trot||at quarter marker medium trot half diagonal|
Circles are fairly straightforward and you just need to learn:
- start location for circle
- size of circle
- assume a full circle unless it is a half circle
|20m circle at C||20m circle in front of the judge|
|BX half circle left 10m diameter||half 10m circle at center marker|
There are other movements in tests
- Centre line
- Across the arena
- back to the track (e.g. at F half 10m circle returning to track at B)
|at A down centre line||at entrance down centre line|
|at B turn across the arena to E||at centre turn across the arena|
|F half 10m circle returning to track at B||at corner half 10m circle return to track at centre|
Coming soon … I will be adding pages to assist with learning specific dressage tests using the above method.