Q. I have a hard time making a good first impression in my dressage tests. I can’t turn down the centerline properly—I either overshoot or undershoot. If I do hit it, I usually weave my way down. Can you give me some advice on how to make a better entrance?
The second reason you might be having a problem on the centerline is because your horse may not be listening to or understanding your turning aids, which include the all-important inside leg to outside rein. Inside leg to outside rein is a fundamental aid that is important for many things such as turning, re-balancing and keeping a horse straight. It doesn’t really matter which comes first, the leg aid or the rein aid, but one is always followed immediately behind the other: a light squeeze of the inside leg and then a slight squeeze on the outside rein (or vice versa). The aid lasts momentarily and is repeated, if needed.
This is part of your horse’s basic training, and if the fault lies with him, you must go back to the drawing board and work on things like turns and leg yields. If you don’t have this aid mastered, it may be the reason why he is weaving on the centerline.
Sharon Biggs is a dressage instructor and a frequent contributor to Horse Illustrated. She is the author of In One Arena (Half Halt Press) and Advanced English Horsemanship (BowTie Press).