4. Make the transitions to canter in the first part of the corner.
In the Prelim tests, canter transitions are in the corners between two markers. Roger suggests making the transition in the first part of the corner.
“The transitions to canter in the corner should be done in the first half of the corner, not the second half. Otherwise, if the horse is a bit unbalanced and makes a mistake and you are coming out of the corner, you’ve only got the straight line to correct the canter lead. However, if they make a little mistake and you’ve asked for the transition in the beginning of the corner, you can get them back and you’ve still got a bit of room in the corner to get the correct bend and ask for the canter transition again.”
5. Don’t push too hard in the long rein walk and risk the horse jogging.
We all want a forward-marching long-rein walk — but it really is easier said than done. As Roger explains, although you may train for a more active and positive walk, in the competition arena it’s best not to push too hard.
“You’re better to have a slower long-rein walk rather than trying too hard to get the walk more forward in case they jog. If they jog, you are going to get a low mark; but if they stay in walk, even if the walk lacks brilliance, you can still get an okay mark. So it’s better to have an okay walk without pushing too much with a Prelim horse, rather than making some jog steps.”
6. Ensure the horse isn’t anticipating the trot after the medium walk.
So you’ve got through the long-rein walk without jogging, and you pick up the reins for the medium walk — and your horse jogs. Roger explains that it’s important to train the horse so that it doesn’t anticipate the trot transition that follows the long rein and medium walk.
“You’ve got to be careful to really train the transition from the long-rein walk to the medium walk, that they don’t anticipate the trot and jog. So, in your training, it’s good to go long-rein walk, medium walk, long-rein walk. Not always long-rein walk, medium walk, trot.
“In your warm-up, if you’ve got a horse that wants to jog when you pick up the reins, you should do several long-rein walk, medium walk, long-rein walk sequences, so when you get into the test they are not anticipating the trot transition. So ride the line, long-rein walk, medium walk up the long side, long-rein walk around the corner again. Do that a few times before you go in, and they won’t be anticipating the trot transition after the medium walk.”
7. Don’t overshoot the final turn onto the centreline.
It’s much easier to correct the centreline if you undershoot, rather than overshoot the line coming out of the corner, explains Roger.
“It’s much better if you under-ride rather than over-ride the turn onto the final centreline, because you can always leg-yield over at the last minute. However, if you overshoot the line, it’s very difficult to ride half-pass to get back onto the line. Never overshoot.
“It’s really important that you ride a very accurate and good corner before the centreline. If you ride the corner too open, you’ll invariably go over the centreline.”