At the start of this year Richard wanted to try Dressage Anywhere – the internet dressage competitions. Almost a year on and he has not only delivered his goal of giving dressage a go but has surpassed all his and Tommy’s expectations. Richard tells us how he has got on so far.

Rich neale dressage1
I moved Tommy to a new yard at the beginning of autumn and started work with my new coach. I mentioned the ‘Dressage Anywhere’ competitions and she thought it would be a great tool for monitoring our progress. We decided that I would start at Intro level and that my first test would be used as a bench mark to move forward from, so it was agreed that I would not specifically do much work as it would be better to see what the score came back as, as we needed a clear understanding to what I really needed to work on..

To film the test you need to set out a 20x40 arena with letters facing the camera and the camera filming from C where the judge would normally be.

My first test was British Dressage Intro B. We filmed it and I uploaded it to Dressage Anywhere. The closing date is always the last day of the month but they often mark the test and return the score sheet with comments within a couple of days of uploading.

To my surprise I scored 67.17% in my first try with some very constructive comments. Together with my coach we worked through all the points in my lessons and I entered Intro A in the next month’s rounds. To my surprise I scored exactly the same! But it was a different judge and I was placed in the top 20 this time.

Riche Neale dressage2
I had decided that if I scored over 65% three times in a row I would move up to Prelim, so I went in to the 3rd month's test, Intro B hoping to break 70%. When the final results were in I had missed out on the 70% but it was so close. We came 12th with 69.13%. 

I decided I would be moving up to Prelim next time as I rather than keep trying over and over to break 70% in Intro and fall in to the trap of trying to perfect the lower levels of my dressage, that I would move up and have more fun working on new things while still improving the basics.

Then I got n Email from Dressage Anywhere saying that because I had scored over 62% twice in a row in the last three months I had qualified for the Dressage Anywhere British Dressage Associates Online Championships.

After a month of training and battling with the weather I submitted my Intro A test for the championship class. After a short time the mark came back. Again I was still not over 70%, but 68.91% wasn't a bad score. After a few days the class closed and I watched the score board waiting to see what placing we would end on. The final results were all in and we had managed to finish 3rd. I was so happy that we had managed a top 3 place and this more than made up for us missing out on the 70% target.

Rich Neale dressage3

I really enjoyed and had fun learning the intro tests and tried to focus in the first instance on working on accurately riding the shapes and keeping a good rhythm and not worrying too much about getting a good outline….. I know that will come with more practice and experience.

With the 3rd place in the championship class I have decided it is time to move up to Prelim level, which I will tell you all about next time. 

www.mountainhorse.co.uk - Supply Richard with his riding clothing and footwear 

www.championhats.co.uk - Supply Richard with his riding protection 

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