OPEN-EYED & OPEN-MINDED
Also remember that competitions come along in the development of the training. Do not fall for the trap of changing things all around to make your horse look more competitive a week out from the test and abandon the consistent Training Scale for simply covering up. Competition and riding a Novice test hold differing values for each horse and rider and to remain open-eyed and open-minded and realise that every judge is actually giving you their opinion – and they did not ask you to come for their opinion – you came to get their input and that’s what you will get.
Because you are training in a lower and deeper frame as the horse is still weak over the back, realise this, don’t abandon the idea. Simply realise when the judge says, “needs to be more uphill and off the shoulders” it will happen in the future. Just don’t pull the poll up to falsify the training and no longer have the horse over the back and impulsive and straight. The Training Scale goes hand in hand with progression and the importance is to think of the wellbeing, physically and mentally, for the future and the longevity to see the horse through to its highest possible potential of which only time and careful training will tell. Keep the judges’ honest comments in mind when you train and work on exercises to produce what they see. Do not force a shape that will only be foolish in terms of long-term results.
With 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 there are very few changes, but be sure to delete the 2022 tests from your head and read the new ones carefully and plan. One wonderful feature in the written words are the blue directions; why they are so good is that they let you know where the movement ends and the next begins, and that’s so good for the rider and especially the judge.
The words at the top of the test sheet are excellent.
Purpose: 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 and maintains a more consistent contact with the bit.
(2.1) Introduces: 10m half circles in trot, 15m circles in canter, lengthening of the strides in trot.
(2.2) Introduces: Leg-yielding and lengthening of stride in canter.
(2.3) Introduces: 10m circles in trot, canter change of lead through trot, counter canter.
Instructions: To be ridden in a snaffle. All trot sitting or rising unless stated otherwise.
It is always nice to see rising trot on the younger level horses as they are as yet not that strong over the back and riders are usually easier and more relaxed in the rising trot and with the scale of training, rhythm and relaxation are the first two criteria. This is not to say that some riders can ride it all in sitting trot. Sitting trot from rising before any transition up or down is encouraged as it shows good balance and management and control. Sitting trot for sure has its places in the Novice tests, but with tenuous balance at this level, rising can be an advantage and often encourages a more positive forward desire which in turn helps balance.