The new 2014 USEA Dressage tests were released last week, and I printed them out, though I hadn’t had a chance to run through them until today. Cally was perhaps less excited than I was about testing them out.
The changes aren’t drastic, which is almost harder than learning completely new tests–for example, in BN-A, the walk transition, which was between M and C, is now at C. So after our warmup, I took a lap or two around the arena at a walk to let Cally relax a minute and give me a chance to read through a few times before heading down the centerline. Because I pulled BN-A out of my jacket pocket first, we went through it first. I have to say that I like riding it much more than I previously did. They got rid of the weird X to M to loop the whole way around the ring to A before doing anything else, which is great. It’s now straight down the centerline, left at C, and a circle at B. That’s so much easier for keeping the horse engaged and not looking around for something to spook at. It mirrors similarly back, with the other trot circle also at B after picking up the trot at A, rather than going the whole way around to C before circling like the prior test. I feel like the whole thing rides similarly, but better than the last one.
Previously, BN-B had been my preferred test, because I felt like it kept us more engaged and thinking. Like BN-A, in some ways there aren’t big changes, but it feels more different than the A test does. But I don’t think it rides as smoothly as it did before. It feels like there are a lot of diagonals. But the more awkward thing, to me, is that the walk work is at the very end of the test–you walk a short diagonal M to E, then working walk E to K, then trot at K and down the centerline at A. The end just feels like whoever designed the test got to the end, realized there wasn’t any walking, and tacked that bit on.
When we walked out to do a little walk down the driveway it was very windy and cold, so we just chatted with Susan for a few minutes, and head back in. Weather cooperating, hopefully we will do the weekend gymnastic lesson.