Jane Peberdy, BD list 1 Judge and Judge Tutor has kindly shared some tips to help you prepare and consider before you ride your dressage test. 
  1. Make sure you know the rules for the competition and ensure that you and your horse are wearing the correct attire. You don’t want to lose marks for incorrect tack/dress or be eliminated for wearing forbidden tack/dress.  
  2. Have dress and tack rehearsals at home before your competition to make sure that you and your horse are comfortable with everything. Using different equipment at a competition can affect your performance. 
  3. Know your test. Learn the pattern so you get used to the way it flows, rather than just relying on the letters. You can run through your test on foot at home in a mini version of an arena. 
  4. Master your centre line and halt. This will leave the judge with a good first and last impression of you. When you salute, remember to smile! 
  5. To help you maintain the rhythm in all paces, try singing a song in your head. If you allow your horse to speed up and slow down throughout your test you will lose marks.  
  6. Always ride movements correctly at home so it becomes instinctive. Accuracy is important so you don’t want to lose marks for making your circles the wrong size or shape.  
  7. Practice your transitions so that they are fluent and smooth. Preparation is key to achieving a good transition. Riding good transitions in your test will earn you some extra marks. 
  8. When riding corners go as deep as you can, but as shallow as you need. Your horse may lose balance if you go too deep into the corners. The more supple and educated your horse is, the deeper you will be able to go into the corner.  
  9. Remember to ride ‘the horse you have on the day’ (he/she may do something different at the competition that you will need to react to, rather than just thinking he never usually does that). 
  10. Try to relax and enjoy your test, it is supposed to be fun?! If you make a mistake don’t panic, refocus, and move on.  

Good Luck!