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Riding At Home - 6 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Practice

Hi, Edward here,

This time in going to talk about practicing at home.

Before a competition and in between competitions it’s vital to practice at home, reflecting on what went well and then working on the bits that didn’t. In dressage, identifying the weaknesses is usually easier as you have the judges comments which can be helpful. When judging I see many combinations competing in the same class at the same show week after week, getting more or less the same score. This can be good if you are enjoying your horse, however sometimes it’s better to take a break from competing to work on training your horse to a higher level and then trying that next time you go out. There is a saying “You earn your rosettes at home, you just go to shows to collect them”. I believe this couldn’t be more true. Now for some tips on getting the most out of your training sessions at home.


1. Get someone to film you riding:

This can be very useful in terms of identifying what needs work and it’s also great way to see what went well. Plus, everyone always loves a video of them riding.

2. Put mirrors in your arena:

This one may be a bit tricky for some, but having mirrors installed can really help you get the most out of your training session. Just like filming, this enables you to see your strengths and weaknesses in action, but unlike filming it allows you to adjust accordingly in real time, and see the results straight away.

3. Practice courses at home:

Many people love doing this and I have got some course designs for smaller arenas.

It’s always great to introduce a new filler to your horse at home (some DIY ones can be great) as it can simulate more of a competition environment. At home you shouldn’t have the competition nerves and distractions, so the round should be enjoyable.








4. Practice dressage tests at home:

There are many benefits to practicing dressage tests at home. If you can get someone to film you from C you can always compete online as well by sending it to HayGrazer E-Riders. Having someone sit at C can really help you notice the straightness down the centre line and see what the judge can see at all times.

5. Ride in show attire at home:

Ok this one may sound a bit strange, however many people have show-only jodhpurs, helmets, boots etc and when they go to compete they aren’t used to the grip/feel of them, which can negatively affect their riding. Riding in them a few times at home can help you understand the differences so that when you are actually at the show it will be less of a shock.

6. Coaching:

Having lessons at home can be a great way to get some feedback and help improve. Try and get the most out of your lessons and always ask for some homework, this way you can practice when the coach isn’t there.


Until next time,




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Edward Chitty (Equine Tuition)
British Dressage Judge
Published on 19-02-2020
Edward Chitty is one of the youngest listed British Dressage judges in the UK. He has been based at one of the UK’s biggest equestrian centres for over 5 years, where he has been helping to run and organise the shows. Edward is a British Dressage Judge and UKCC L2 Showjumping Coach. He has recently been appointed as an FEI campus level 1 course designer.