In preparing for show riding Mr. Schumacher shared three ideas: 90%; two minutes; and mental.
- 90%: when warming up at the showgrounds for a test, ride way more collection and roundness of neck than you will actually need in the test itself. So if in the warm up you are riding 110% then in front of the judge you can afford to back off that little bit 10% and still be where your horse should be.
- Two minutes: in the last couple minutes as you're making your final warmup before the bell rings and including after the bell rings, keep riding. Too often riders stop riding in those last two minutes and the horse has said good bye even as they're going down centerline. Instead ride medium trot to walk pirouettes back and forth along the long side, or ride several brisk walk trot transitions. Keep riding 110% percent those last couple minutes before entering at A.
- Mental: you can only practice ride the actual test at home so many times, but you can ride a perfect test in your mind's eye limitless times. Ride the test mentally again and again, and really feel the horse bending around your inside leg in the corner, feel yourself preparing your horse for a perfect half pass, feel riding the willingly forward tempis. Ride the test and really feel it mentally many, many times in preparation for the horse show.
The rider's confidence is key to a successful horse show, and by being prepared including the above three principles will add to your self confidence.
Winter riding in the gulf coast. This photo, taken yesterday here at Isabella Farms, is probably much what it looked like to ride under the Spanish moss in Texas one hundred seventy-nine years ago.