Dressage riders must be quick-thinkers and problem solvers.
I instruct my students to break down their difficulties and have them quickly tell me what they need to do as a correction. Many times riders feel overwhelmed with the fact that their figures and movements aren’t maintaining quality. I encourage them to think in terms of gradual improvements. Instead of riding for perfection, I have them ride to do better.
As they ride the long side the tell me what they feel is needed fundamentally to improve. Impulsion, straightness, steadying the tempo, etc. The next long side they ride having isolated the main problem. The idea is to quickly use the tools the instructor has given them to do “better” each long side. They must be quick to assess and correct. The fundamentals are the key to achieving the lightness and harmony we all seek to perform the exercises with ease both for us and our horses.
Remember the fundamentals are on the training scale. No matter what sport you engage in or what level you have achieved, the key to success is a strong understanding and ability to perform the “basics”. I encourage all riders to take the responsibility of knowing the fundaments of our sport and to develop their skills in explaining them to their partners.
USEF “S” Dressage Judge