BY EMMY DOLIN
Memorizing courses at horse shows can be stressful. There is a lot to think about, such as how many strides to maintain in lines, where to halt, and how to ride the course all around in general. If the rider makes a mistake, points get knocked off. However, there are some different ways to help riders keep courses fresh in their mind.
Make a Song!
Creating a simple song to remind yourself what to do next is a fun way to make sure you retain the information you know about the given course. It can include strides, jumps, the way it is supposed to be ridden and more.
Color Code Jumps!
Based on either what color the standards are, what color the poles are, or even what color the flower boxes are, color coding the jumps is a very easy way to remember which jumps ride a certain way (ex: the red oxer rides a bit more forward).
When you look at the courses you are riding in for the day, taking pictures of the course is a great way to help relieve stress about the ride. It also helps you stay focused on all the information you need to store in your mind when riding. The first time you see the course, go over it a couple of times with the picture in front of you and then once it becomes pretty clear, try to say your course either quietly to yourself, a friend, a parent, or a trainer without looking at the pictures. It is also very beneficial and helpful to imagine riding the course as you are going over it.
It’s easy if you practice these steps and find what works for you. You can take a picture of your course in the morning and study it throughout the day! Good Luck!
About the Author: Emmy Dolin has been writing for The Plaid Horse for two years. She rides hunter/jumper in Zone 5 on the A circuit.
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