Listen to your music over and over. The more you familiar you become with your music the better you will be able to stay in time with your choreography. Listen to it at home, in the car, at the stables. Basically where ever you have the opportunity. The more you do this, the more it sinks into your subconscious so you will ride with better rhythm and purpose. If the unthinkable happens and you make a mistake at a competition, you will be better prepared to improvise, without detection from the judges, if you know your music well.

Your horse needs to know your music too. Yes I am serious. As a musical person and an animal lover, I know for a fact that some animals pay more attention to music than others. If your horse is naturally rhythmic and well cadenced, it will find being ridden to music easy and enjoyable. If not, the music will help markedly. In either case, if you have the facility where you horse can be exposed to your music, you will be at an advantage.  

On the day of competition, you will usually end up ahead of your music if you are like me and get anxious. You must constantly remind your self to slow down and ride each movement as precisely and as fluently as you can. Ride to the music, not the marker.

 

Give yourself time to set yourself up and set your horse up before you begin to each movement and transition and if you are riding to the marker, use your arena craft to get you into the position you need to be in for a smooth transition into the next section of your test. This will give yourself and your horse the best possible opportunity to keep in time with your music and not override movements.

Don't forget to breath and remember, you have not gone to all this time and effort to forget why you started it in the first place.....to have fun, and yes to win, but there is no glory without enjoyment.

Perfect practice makes perfect. Your freestyle is a performance so the more you ride it with the music, the more polished and well executed your performance will be. An under rehearsed freestyle is very obvious. It not only looks unprofessional, it also looks careless which is not the kind of impression you want to be making.

It is helpful to have an eye on the ground when practicing to give you critical feedback, constructive as well as positive.

When you salute at the beginning and end of your test, don't forget to smile at the judges. They love nothing more than to see you enjoying yourself.

Your entire test is a performance. It begins as soon as your music does, before you enter the arena and does not finish until the final salute. Your music and your demure will set the mood for your performance and the judges expect to be entertained as much as the audience. If you are enjoying your self and giving your horse every opportunity to perform, your test will be exhilarating and breath taking to watch.

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