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Planning your music test: week 3

  • Posted: 2 April 2013

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To coincide with the launch of our new Freestyle to Music class we've put together a week by week guide to get you started with all you need to know about how to plan your test.

Week 3: Make a floor plan

This is the nitty gritty part. A good floor plan will show off your horse to his best advantage. There are a lot of trainers out there who can help you design a suitable plan if you need help but it’s fun to do it yourself if you can.

Be sure that you include all the required movements but put in plenty of the things he’s good at and not so much of the things he’s not so good at. For example if he has a lovely canter, show it off! You can include some movements that are not requirements; there is a list of what is accepted at each level on the test sheet. If his walk is a bit tense, do the minimum and think about what will disguise it. If he’s a bit crooked don’t walk directly down the centre line towards the judge.

Again, YouTube can be a great help. Look up tests at the same level that you want to perform at and see what movements others have included. Look for combinations of movements that appeal to you and think about how clear they are to spot. Remember that the judge does not know in advance which order the movements will come in. For instance, if you were to ride your 15m circle between the three quarter line and the track it is very obvious it’s a 15m circle regardless of how well you ride it. If you ride the same circle in the centre of the school and he’s falling out through the shoulder it may not be so clear.

Think about the order you want your walk, trot and canter passages to come in. Most tests (at the lower levels) start in trot but your horse may be better after he’s had a canter. Try not to chop and change too much, it will make editing your music much harder if you do and the overall picture won’t be so harmonious.

Remember that this is a Freestyle test. The judge is looking for something a bit more interesting than the normal tests at the level you’re riding at. Freestyle tests utilize all the space in the arena; don’t just ride around the outside.

Once you’ve collected together all the movements you want to ride and worked out the order you want to ride them you can put them down on paper. Try walking your test through.  Does it flow well? Is it balanced on the left and right rein? Make adjustments until you have a plan you like then learn your test!

See also:
Weeks 1 and 2 preparation

Week 4 filming and adjusting
Week 5 editing your music
Week 6 practice and polish