ISSUE 57
AUGUST 2020
ANOTHER MILESTONE
FOR SIMONE PEARCE
CAROLYN LIEUTENANT
COURAGEOUS KIWI
HEATH RYAN &
THE FUTURE OF EA

PLUS: A showjumping mule, Lisa Martin’s recovery, 10 tips for riding the Novice test, horses on the silver screen, Will Enzinger and the next generation, Dr Kerry Mack, Brett Parbery and more!

AUSTRALIA`S BEST EQUINE MAGAZINE
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ISSUE 57

CONTENTS

AUGUST 2020
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A few Words

FROM THE
CHAIRMAN

Opinion

EA ADMINISTRATION & HOPEFULLY A FUTURE

RYAN'S RAVE BY HEATH RYAN

Dressage

ANOTHER MILESTONE FOR SIMONE PEARCE

BY ADELE SEVERS

Dressage

LISA MARTIN’S LONG & WINDING ROAD

BY ADELE SEVERS

Special feature

COURAGEOUS KIWI BLAZES HER OWN TRAIL

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

EQ Families

MUTANT EQUINE NEUROSIS GENE OR LUCK OF THE DRAW?

BY MIM COLEMAN

Dressage

10 TIPS FOR RIDING THE NOVICE TEST

BY EQ LIFE / ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Special feature

HORSING AROUND ON THE BIG SCREEN

BY SUZY JARRATT

Special feature

BEACON OF HOPE FOR BRIGHTLIGHT BOY

BY EQ LIFE

Eventing

WILL ENZINGER FORGES THE NEXT GEN

BY EQ LIFE

Showjumping

WHO SAYS MULES
CAN’T JUMP?

BY EQ LIFE

Training

SUBMISSION OR STRESS? SOMETHING TO CHEW ON

BY DR KERRY MACK

Training

OPTIMISING YOUR LEARNING AS A RIDER

BY BRETT PARBERY

Health

WINTER’S SCOURGE, THE FOOT ABSCESS

BY DR MAXINE BRAIN

My Favourite Dish

BAKED GARLIC PARMESAN CHICKEN

WITH WILL ENZINGER
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A top Novice frame showing balance; the rider is in riding trot with great overall presentation. © Roger Fitzhardinge
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Are you planning to ride your first Novice test? Whether you’re working towards getting out and competing once live competitions restart, or have entered Equestrian Life’s monthly online competition, these tips are for you!

“Make certain that
everything is done
calmly and easily.”

There are three Equestrian Australia (EA) Novice level tests — Novice 2A, 2B and 2C. The purpose of this level is to confirm that the horse demonstrates correct basics, and in addition to the requirements of Preliminary level, has developed the thrust to achieve improved balance and “throughness” — all while maintaining a more consistent contact with the bit.

Roger explains that to win a Novice test, all movements must be good. “If you make a low mark in one movement, it’s very difficult… there aren’t enough movements to regain marks. So you need to make certain that everything is done calmly and easily.”

We catch up with Roger to see what other tips he has for riding a great Novice level test…

1. DEVELOP A GOOD NOVICE FRAME

The horse’s frame affects the overall outline and picture, and influences the entire test — in particular the Impulsion and Submission collective marks.

Roger explains that the topline and neck should be plump, with the horse starting to show flexion through the poll. “The poll needs to be the highest point… provided the horse is over the back and working from behind. A high poll combined with a hollow back is not conducive to good work.”

2. SHOW STRAIGHTNESS

Straightness is important — and becomes even more important as your horse progresses up the grades. While having a truly straight horse in the lower levels can be tricky, it’s something you should pay attention to from the beginning. Straightness can be thought of as alignment; the forefeet must be aligned with the hind feet on straight and curved lines, and the horse should have equal bend (and hence, alignment) on both reins.

“Straightness with the Novice horse is seriously important,” says Roger. “It will be noted, especially on the long sides, and more so in any lengthening on the long side. So ride slight, slight shoulder-fore, especially in the collecting transitions.”

3. RIDE THE TEST IN RISING TROT

As Roger recommended in his tips for riding the Preliminary test, it’s best in most cases to execute the Novice test in rising trot rather than sitting trot. “You’ve got from Elementary through to Grand Prix to do sitting trot, and rising trot for me with the Novice horse is more effortless and less constrained,” he says.

4. IMPRESS THE JUDGE BEFORE YOU ENTER THE ARENA

While there are no marks given for how you present to the judge and ride around the arena before entering for the test, it’s important to use this time to make a good impression.

“Impress the judge when you go around the arena by being really well presented,” says Roger. If you need presentation tips, check out Roger’s Making the Most of Good Presentation article in last month’s issue!

Roger also recommends making sure you’re in a good frame as you ride around the arena, and show some adjustability in a pace, whether it be trot or canter. Transitions within the pace are an important part of the Novice tests, and it’s important to be able to show a clear difference from lengthening to shortening and vice versa.

5. CONTINUE THAT GOOD IMPRESSION UPON ENTRY!

“Your entry sets the tone for your test, so make certain it’s positive,” says Roger. A square halt is important at all levels, so make sure you’re doing the work at home to achieve it in the ring. Finally, part of an impressive entry is ensuring that first corner is well ridden: “Make certain that the balance and the flexion in the first corner is good.”

6. ACCURACY IS KEY

Accuracy is an essential part of all dressage tests, and the Novice tests are no exception. “Accuracy of circle size is really important,” says Roger. There are 20m, 15m and 10m circles across the three tests, so make sure you practice how to ride the correct size and shape for each. “In addition, all transitions should be made as your body passes the marker.”

“You shouldn’t increase
the flexion in the leg-yield,
it should stay the same.”

7. THE LEG-YIELD

The leg-yield is introduced in the 2B test as the first lateral movement. Roger explains that it should ideally be ridden in rising trot… and on the “incorrect” diagonal!

“It’s better to be on the incorrect diagonal, because the moment you rise is when you put your leg on, and that’s the moment to influence the inside hind leg. So you want to be on the incorrect rising trot diagonal, whichever way you’re going. If you come off the left rein, you need to change to the wrong diagonal as you start the leg yield.”

In terms of riding the line, Roger recommends visualising an imaginary line from the start marker to the finish marker. In other words, make an imaginary line from L to H or L to M (if you’re riding the 2B test)… and then imagine that your horse’s front feet must stay exactly on that line. That gets you to maintain the same angle the whole way across, and with equal strides.

In terms of flexion, Roger explains that “you shouldn’t increase the flexion in the leg-yield, it should stay the same”.

8. THE COUNTER CANTER LOOP

The counter canter loop is introduced in the 2C test, on both reins. Roger’s first tip comes back to accuracy — make sure you ride the correct line: “For me, I like to see the loop ridden to be like a loop, curving, not like a triangle.”

If the movement is FXM, maintaining left lead, Roger explains that the line you need to ride is F on the line towards S; when you’re on that line, focus at C.

“Ride out on the line with slight flexion towards S. Then you slide down the centreline with left flexion. So it’s not like a triangle or a point, it’s like a curving line. You keep the left flexion. You keep your right leg behind the girth so the horse doesn’t leg-yield and fall to the right, and your outside leg makes the horse take the weight on the outside hind leg. You adjust the forehand around the quarters, back onto your line, with left flexion back to M.” Roger explains that the most common fault in the counter canter loop is when the horse leg-yields off the inside leg and falls over the line. “You need to think that you almost ride a feeling of travers to make certain they stay upright, and the forehand turns around the quarters.”

9. THE SIMPLE CHANGE THROUGH TROT

The simple change through trot is introduced in the 2C test. It is ridden on the diagonal line FXH, with the change of leg ridden through 3-4 steps of trot over X.

“As you approach X, straighten the horse and develop a new balance before you trot. So as you trot, you’re in the new position for the new canter lead. For example, if it’s off the left rein (as it is in the 2C test), as you approach X and collect the canter, you straighten the horse and almost think about flexing right, with a little bit of right leg moving the horse to the left a little bit. So when you land in trot, you’re in balance around the new inside leg, to the right for the new right canter lead,” says Roger. “This means you don’t have to land in trot, change the position and balance, get reorganised, and then pick up canter again all in those 3-4 trot strides.”

10. A GOOD FINISH

As discussed in 10 Tips for Riding the Preliminary Test, it’s important to finish with a great halt and smile!

“At the end of the test, make certain you establish a very immobile halt, and when you let the reins go don’t let the horse walk off until you ask with your leg to move,” says Roger. “And never show any disrespect to your performance. After the halt, there are still four marks for the judge to put down (Paces, Impulsion, Submission and Rider’s position and seat); disappointment and any sense of tension from the rider in response to a mistake in the test will not help with those final marks.”

Happy riding! EQ

Equestrian Australia Novice tests:

Novice 2A

Novice 2B

Novice 2C

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