How to memorise your dressage test

We’ve all been there. Hours of practice, early mornings, pristine turnout, course walked - finally it’s time to start the event you’ve been preparing for and you’re trotting down the centre line… left or right? Left or right?! 

Improving Dressage Performance

Other than the obvious reason of not wanting any error of course penalties on your score sheet, really knowing your dressage test can have lots of other performance benefits too. You’ll feel more confident about the test so you’ll be more relaxed. You won’t be using up precious concentration on trying to remember the next move so you can focus on riding the best, most accurate test. Plus if something doesn’t quite go perfectly in your test – you break in your walk or your horse spooks at the terrifying white boards – you will be able to look ahead to what’s coming next without having to think about it and ensure you don’t throw away precious marks on the next move.

Learning Styles

We all have different ways that we absorb information, including how you learn and, most importantly, remember your dressage test. The term ‘learning styles’ is commonly used to describe how we gather, filter through, interpret, arrange, come to conclusions about, and remember information. According to Vanderbilt University there are over 70 different learning styles. A quick search on Google shows that commonly we see between three and eight key ones. 

The truth is it probably doesn’t matter how many ‘ways’ there are of learning as it's likely we all use a combination of lots of them, but it’s just that some may work better for us than others, and knowing the ones that do, or the most dominant one, can be really beneficial when it comes to remembering your dressage test.

The most common styles that you’ll see and probably relate to or recognise are:

  • Visual (spatial): You like using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
  • Aural (auditory-musical): You like using sound and music.
  • Verbal (linguistic): You like using words, both spoken and written.
  • Physical (kinesthetic): You like using your body, hands and sense of touch.
  • Logical (mathematical): You like using logic, reasoning and systems.

And then how do you like to use these learning styles…

  • Social (interpersonal): You like to learn in groups with other people.
  • Solitary (intrapersonal): You like to work alone.

Great, but how can this help me learn my dressage test?

There are lots of free tests online which claim to tell you which learning style works best for you, or you could simply test them out on different dressage tests and get to know which you prefer.

  • Get someone to read your test out to you, read it out to yourself or record yourself reading it out and listen to it
  • Draw it on a piece of paper or using the BE TestPro App
  • Video yourself doing the test and watch it back. 

You’ll probably find that you learn the test no matter which way you try but there will probably be one that you just prefer, or that you find helps the test go in easier. 

BE recently partnered with Lion Dog Apps to create the BE TestPro App, it has all the BE dressage tests in one place and a learning style to suit everyone:

  • Draw the test on your smart phone or tablet to see the movements (Visual/Physical)
  • Listen to the test with or without headphones (Aural/Verbal)
  • Watch the test (Visual/Logical)

Now you've got your dressage test memorised help make 2020 your best season yet with some BE training.