Focused training at home – our in-house dressage challenge

A dressage test is very much a complete lesson for both horse and rider. The movements are designed to flow from one to another and present the horse and rider with a test of balance, attention, acceptance of aids, suppleness etc

BE92 1
From left: Caitlin on Jasper, Sofija on Basil, Rachel on Oscar and Jazzy jumping up with joy ūüėȬ†

As such, practicing towards a particular dressage test can nicely channel the work needed to be done in order to advance the schooling of the horse and the training of the rider. There doesn’t need to be any planned competition in sight in order to create a training structure at home.

Many riders struggle with daily tasks that can lead to improvements and having a well defined floor plan i.e. a dressage test , is a perfect way to help with ideas.


At the end of May we set a June Challenge focused around a British Eventing dressage test. I let the riders taking part choose the test from any of the BE90 ones and the decision was to do the BE92 test.

The reason we went for the British Eventing dressage tests rather than the British Dressage ones was simply due to us training on grass through the summer and the arena available is too small to set up a 20x40m test area.

The Challenge had two parts:

1. Train yourself and your horse towards a competent attempt at British Eventing 92 Dressage Test (the test is at a Dressage Preliminary level and is a part of BE90 Horse Trials)

2. Appraise other horse’s and rider’s performance in order to understand the requirements better and improve own “eye” for correct training.

We had 5 training sessions in total focused primarily on this test.

Session 1: Understanding your horse’s strengths and weaknesses in all elements required at the test.

Session 2: Work through your horse’s strengths and weaknesses and formulate exercises/routines to improve weak points and show off the strong points

Practice during the month

Session 3: Enclose the exercises to the vague area of the test arena and practice the patterns of the test with no dressage markers. Continue working on weak elements and showing off the strong ones

Session 4: Practice of all test movements within the arena set up with markers in place with particular focus on correct use of corners and accurate shapes of all exercises

Session 5: Warm Up for the test with all the training in mind and have a go at the test ūüôā


Caitlin & Jasper (Judges at C: Sofija , Rachel) : 73.2 % (Eventing score: 26.8)

Sofija  & Basil (Judges at C: Caitlin , Rachel) : 62% (Eventing score: 38)

These were both very good scores for these horses and both tests were nicely presented and very tactfully ridden. Unfortunately, Oscar lost a shoe a week before the Saturday test and removed it so “well” he punctured his foot rendering himself out of contention! Rachel took part part-time riding the test pattern in walk and testing her judging skills.


logo clearI believe training is all about little milestones and small but important achievements and as such, celebrating them is part of the game   Aspire Academy is a brand ambassador for Boudica Equestrian this year and in collaboration with Boudica the riders won the following:

Caitlin¬†for the highest score: ¬£20 voucher to spend on anything via Boudica’s online/pop-up store at¬†¬†as well as 10% OFF the order with the Aspire code

Sofija for the super score with a tense pony who probably never done a dressage test of this level on grass: £15 voucher as well as 10% OFF the order with the Aspire code

Rachel for a great team spirit, superb turn out of Oscar and getting involved in the judging process: £10 voucher as well as 10% OFF the order with the Aspire code.


In only five sessions we were able to achieve a really noticeable degree of improvement in horse’s way of going and consistency and planning from the riders. I’d recommend monthly focus sessions like that to all improvement driven riders ūüôā

Thank you to Boudica Equestrian for a great collaboration on little rewards for all the riders’ efforts!

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