A to X to Where?!? Weirding Out Over New Dressage Maneuvers

Riding Journal

Awareness of the outside world. Three family members fully or partially vaccinated. Starting to hear about friends getting their shots.

Every few years, the dressage pooh-bahs redo the tests. A while back, they split the eventing dressage tests apart from the straight-up dressage tests. Which is weird. Back in the day, one simply did the equivalent level dressage to whatever level of eventing one was going.

When they split off eventing dressage, they also dumbed down the tests. Which I appreciate. The Beginner Novice Test B test that Rodney and I have been practicing is full of commands along the lines of ‘Pick up your canter somewhere over there.’ or ‘Walk in that corner.’ This is one reason we are working on intro eventing tests rather than the Training Level Test 1, which expects a higher level of accuracy.

However, the test is a little strange.

A-X-H. Enter Working Trot.


No halt. I had heard the starting halt had been cut. Riders were having trouble with dumping all their momentum at the beginning. These days, eventers don’t Enter-Halt-Salute until they get all the way up to Intermediate. Odd, but okay. Dressage riders are expected start from a standstill early on. Dressage Intro A has no initial halt. Intro B and everything after halts at X. USEA tests, USDF tests

BTW, one of the eventing Intermediate tests has an initial halt, one does not. That’s not confusing at all. What about people who take their eventing horses to dressage shows for schooling? But I digress.

No halt. Got it. I have ready done this with both Milton and Rodney in Intro A. Will admit to trotting into the arena chanting under my breath, Don’t stop. Don’t stop. Don’t stop.

At least a centerline is involved.

For both eventing Baby Beginner Novice tests, we are expected to trot in, get to X, turn off the centerline and trot over to the corner. M and H respectively for Intro A and B. I don’t think I have ever deviated from a centerline in my life. I was so confused by the test sheet that I had to track down a video online.

Turn off centerline? Really?

Can any old-school eventers tell me if this ever stops feeling weird?

Nota bene. Baby Novice used to be the ankle-biter, intro level. Must learn to say Beginner Novice instead. Apparently, the term “baby” upsets people. Yeah, well. a) Hunters have no trouble with their Baby Green division. & b) If you are that bothered by it, learn to ride and move up to Novice. I say this as someone who aspires to, would be thrilled to, achieve the level of Baby Beginner Novice.

Stay safe. Stay sane.

3 thoughts on “A to X to Where?!? Weirding Out Over New Dressage Maneuvers

  1. Baby novice never bothered me. But the new tests do sound strange. After all the time I put in learning to go straight down the centerline….

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