• Creating a dressage freestyle 01 February 2016 | View comments



    British Dressage have requirements for each level, starting with walk and trot (intro) all the way up to Grand Prix.
     Test sheets available from         http://www.britishdressage.co.uk/online_shop/category/test-sheets

    This forms the bare bones of your test, All of the prescribed elements must be included in your test, you can add anything from non- music tests at the same level. The judge never sees your floorplan in written form .It is very different to riding a non music test where they know what you should be doing for every moment of your test.

    Be inventive ,and design patterns that help your horse, for example if your medium strides just don’t lengthen as much as you’d like , try popping in a small circle before them . The apparent difference between short and long strides become much more obvious.
    Keep your patterns symmetrical  (especially at the lower levels) it helps the judge to understand your test, and means they won’t miss a prescribed element. If they’ve seen it once they know what they are looking for on the opposite rein.
    You are allowed between 3minutes and 5 minutes for your test, depending on the level you are competing at. Your allotted time will be on the requirements sheet you obtain from British Dressage. If you go over or under time you will receive penalty marks. The  steward will measure the time of the test from the first hoof off the ground after the first halt in the arena  to the final foot hitting the ground in the  halt at the end of your test..
    Allow yourself about 20seconds for intro music ,This is the time it takes you to get from the outside of the arena to your first halt. You won’t be judged for the intro, but it does set the standard for the rest of your test. Your halt should be between 4 to 6 seconds it can take place anywhere on the centre line.  Most people have a silence in their test for the halts but you can have music at a reduced volume level.

    ~~There are many books , and articles on the subject, most suggest you count your horses beats per minute,(the number of times a selected foot hits the ground in a minute) and then match them with music of the same BPM. In my experience most people find this a daunting task, You can spend many hours listening to music trying to count the beats , and still not find a track you horse can move to.
    I much prefer riding a horse to music I think might work ,it’s a great exercise. You are trying to feel if the music makes you rush or hold back your horses paces. The right music should be an easy ride which feels like it picks you up and carries you along. I can hear you asking ‘does the horse need to hear it?’ If it’s a Lusitano ,,,yes it does!! We all know they have an opinion on everything, they will let you know when the music is right.
    For my own personal use I have a little mini speaker , which can sit in your pocket or bum bag, attached to your phone, MP3 player or Ipod. Professionally I use a public address system. it allows the music to be heard across the arena, ,and accustoms the horses to loud music

    We need to be licensed to use music for competition, after many years of consultation British Dressage have come to an agreement with the licensing authority, you are automatically covered if you have full BD membership if not you will need to pay them £30 for music membership.
    In both cases you will have  to complete a music sub licence agreement and a music licence record, before you can compete. They will need to know the name of the tracks you use, who the artist is and how much of each track your test consists of. BD will then send you stickers that must be on the music CD you submit at the competition.
    There are many apps and programmes you can download to help you edit your music ,Audacity Cubase, and Acoustica are three examples, but check for yourself before you decide which one will be easiest for you to use
    .A basic format might be 20 seconds intro, 4 seconds halt, 1min 45 seconds trot, 45 seconds walk, 1min 50 seconds canter, 25 seconds trot to halt at end of test. That’s just to give you a rough idea of how a test fits together , for example you may find its better to put the canter  before the trot if your horse isn’t too forward going .Play with it until you find what works for you.

    ~~You will need to take two copies of the cd with you, making sure each one has your name on it and the BD stickers. Hand them to the secretary when you arrive and make sure you collect them at the end.
    If for any reason your cd doesn’t play or is faulty, the venue are obliged to let you start again with your second disk.
    When you enter the arena the judge will ring a bell /sound a car horn to advise you time to get yourself in position to start your test, Raise your hand to alert the public address people to start your music. Don’t panic if it doesn’t start right away ,there is often a delay
    Take a deep breath and enter the arena with confidence, if you get something wrong and things don’t go quite to plan smile and carry on , the judge doesn’t know what you meant to do , so as long as you don’t show it they won’t spot your mistake .Make sure all the required elements are all in there you will be penalised if any are missing. But most of all enjoy every moment of your performance.
    I envy all of you that will be trying this for the first time, The sound of your music playing loud and clear at a competition as you trot down the centre line is an amazing feeling, ,it sends tingles down my spine every time I compete .Remember it should be fun for you and your horse, Lose the tension It’s just you and your best friend in a bubble of music showing the world how fabulous you are.
    If you still feel this is not something you can do own your own you can always bring in the experts such as myself, who will create the whole thing with you, so there is really no excuse not to have



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