|PURPOSE: To confirm that the horse demonstrates correct basics, and in addition to the requirements of Training Level, has developed the thrust to achieve improved balance and throughness and maintains a more consistent contact with the bit.|
All trot work may be ridden sitting or rising, unless stated.
USDF FIRST LEVEL TEST 1
|Enter working trot |
Proceed working trot
|Regularity and quality of trot; willing, clear transitions; straightness; attentiveness; immobility (min. 3 seconds)||7||7||Fairly straight|
|Track left Half circle left 10m, returning to track at H||Regularity and quality of trot; shape and size of half circle; bend; balance; straightness||6.5||6.5||could be lighter in connection|
|3||B-X||Half circle right 10m, returning to track at M||Regularity and quality of trot; shape and size of half circle; bend; balance; straightness||5.5||5.5||Beyond X. Tension in neck|
|Circle left 20m in rising trot, allowing the horse to stretch forward and downward while maintaining contact Shorten the reins Working trot||Forward and downward stretch over the back into a light contact, maintaining balance and quality of trot; bend; shape and size of circle; willing, clear transitions||6||2||12||stretches neck down well but could show more lift and swing of the back|
|Change rein, lengthen stride in trot Working trot||Moderate lengthening of frame and stride; regularity and quality of trot; straightness; consistent tempo; willing, clear transitions; bend and balance in corner||6||6||should show longer steps and more power|
|6||A||Medium walk||Willing, clear transition; regularity and quality of walk; bend and balance in corner; straightness||7||2||14||prompt|
|Change rein, free walk Medium walk||Regularity and quality of walks; reach and ground cover of free walk allowing complete freedom to stretch the neck forward and downward; straightness; willing, clear transitions||6.5||2||13||good activity. could show deeper stretch and keep it more consistently|
|Working trot Working canter left lead||Willing, clear transitions; regularity and quality of gaits; bend and balance in corner||7||2||14||obedient|
|9||H-V||Lengthen stride in canter||Willing, clear transition; moderate lengthening of frame and stride; regularity and quality of canter; straightness; consistent tempo||5.5||5.5||HQ falls in and needs more thrust|
|10||V||Circle left 15m Develop working canter in first half of circle||Willing, clear transition; regularity and quality of canter; shape and size of circle; bend; balance||6||6||a bit large and tight in neck|
|Change rein Working trot||Willing, clear transition; regularity and quality of gaits; bend and balance in corner; straightness||8||8||straight with good balance|
|12||C||Working canter right lead||Willing, clear transition; regularity and quality of canter; bend and balance in corner||6||2||12||show more supple jaw and neck|
|13||M-P||Lengthen stride in canter||Willing, clear transition; moderate lengthening of frame and stride; regularity and quality of canter; straightness; consistent tempo||6||6||makes effort but needs more length of stride|
|14||P||Circle right 15m Develop working canter in first half of circle||Willing, clear transition; regularity and quality of canter; shape and size of circle; bend; balance||5.5||5.5||neck tight and overbent|
|15||A||Working trot||Willing, clear transition; regularity and quality of trot; straightness; bend and balance in corner||7||7||connection improves|
|Change rein, lengthen stride in trot Working trot||Moderate lengthening of frame and stride; regularity and quality of trot; straightness; consistent tempo; willing, clear transitions; bend and balance in corners||7||7||bolder effort|
|Half circle left 10m Down centerline Halt, salute||Bend and balance in half circle; regularity and quality of trot; willing, clear transition; straightness; attentiveness; immobility (min. 3 seconds)||7||7||fairly straight|
Leave arena in free walk. Exit at A.
|1||Gaits||Freedom and regularity||6||6|
could swing more through shoulders
|2||Impulsion||Desire to move forward; elasticity of the steps; suppleness of the back; engagement of the hindquarters||6||2||12||develop lengthenings|
|3||Submission||Willing cooperation; harmony; attention and confidence; acceptance of bit and aids; straightness; lightness of forehand and ease of movements||6||2||12||neck tight at times|
|4||Rider’s Position and Seat||Alignment; posture; stability; weight placement; following mechanics of the gaits||6.5||6.5||leaning back|
|5||Rider’s Correct and Effective Use of the Aids||Clarity; subtlety; independence; accuracy of test||6.5||6.5|
develop suppleness of connection
|Good job keeping the energy! Improve performance by lightening the balance off of the forehand and getting the jaw to be more responsive to half halts.|
|Hi, Lilly, I liked the energy and forward feeling that you and your horse display; not all Gypsy Vanners or draft breeds move along so well! Your horse is very obedient and seems to be trying hard for you.
Something to work on – again common with this body type – is a rounder neck and back. There are moments when the bottom of the neck is tight and that inhibits the shoulders from swinging. Developing more suppleness in the jaw and neck while pushing the poll out more would help. Lots of changes of directions, bending, and really asking for a clearer response to your leg aids should improve your horse’s suppleness and bend. You want to feel like the rib cage pushes to the outside of a circle; being able to do this is the first step towards asking the back to lift. Practice riding leg yields on a 20 meter circle: bend to the inside and leg yield out; then counter bend and leg yield back in. Really insist that your horse listens to your leg and finds a clear reponse to it in his rib cage. As you progress, make the circle smaller – down to 15 meters, then 10 meters – while you do these leg yields. This is a simple gymnastic exercise that hopefully will increase your horse’s suppleness, both to each side as well as finding a rounder topline poll to tail.
A lighter connection from improved suppleness will also improve the power in the lengthenings. Use the circle to help here too. As you add more leg for power, your horse cannot brace, he must actually get softer in the body so that the hind legs can swing more under. Ask for a few steps of lengthening on a circle, then bring it back to a working gait, ensuring the contact does not become tight. As the response to your leg develops power and actual length of stride, next monitor your straightness. If the hindquarters fall to one side, it lessens the power and thrust. You could try putting some poles down along the ring to help you both stay straighter.
I like your confident position but be careful not to lean back too much. It’s easy to do when you are keeping this big bodied horse going forward! Work on lifting your chest to the sky. Think of following more with your hips rather than driving so much. As you work on his suppleness in the body, this will carry over so you don’t need such strong leg and seat aids.