Questions and answers about riding to music and freestyles!

Here is a question I get all the time about the riding your freestyle at home vs. riding your freestyle at a show. I thought you might all enjoy it! Ruth

Question:

I have ridden my freestyle a number of times in competition. I have ridden it time and time again perfectly at home and know my music very well.

This is my question. I ride my test perfectly at home but when I get to a venue... I am ALWAYS ahead of the music!!! It's not a big problem because I know the music so well that we can 'adapt!!' But I am never riding the same pattern twice! Is there an explanation for this? What can I do so that I know where I am going to end up in my pattern at a show or new arena?

Julie M

Answer:

Julie, this is a very common problem. In fact, I had the same problem with my mare Dream Lady when I first started competition in the first level freestyle. I could also go through my test and pattern with the music over and over at home perfectly. Then when I would get to the show, I would find myself so much in front of the music I had time for an extra movement! After studying my videos from the show I realized that Dream Lady was GROWING at the horse show. Her adrenaline and eagerness at the show made the size of her stride increase... and not just a little. My solution was to reevaluate her pattern and match it to the size of her stride at the show and not to the size of her stride at home. Having said that, you have to be careful to still strive for the horse's PERFECT BPM and not create your music to a tempo that is too fast for your horse. In Dream Lady's case, she was not actually going "faster" she was just increasing the length of her stride. In other words, she was still walk/trotting and cantering to the beat of the original music, but she was covering more ground with each step. That was why I was ending up so far ahead of my music.

Knowing this made it easier for me to create a pattern that was more appropriate for her. Then I KNEW where I would end up at the show and was not guessing and making things up as I went! Hope this helps... Ruth

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