Dressage RingCraft 2022

Dressage RingCraft 2022

“If you do what you’ve always done then you’ll get what you’ve always got.”

This saying relates to most things in life and definitely includes the way you ride a dressage test. But this really doesn’t need to be the case. If I had a pound for every time I’ve judged a give-retake ridden with hands raised but contact not released, a shoulder in with good angle but no bend, a halt with the horse’s head at the marker not the rider, a long rein walk with the contact thrown away and a 20m circle ridden with two corners in them, then I’d want for nothing, ever.

Dressage is about the movement of the horse first and foremost but it’s about the performance from entering at A to the final salute. There is a huge array of ways that the rider can affect this performance positively, that judges are trained to reward and also to avoid certain things that are not so pleasurable to watch.
Quite often trainers can train, mothers can help their daughters and sons, but it’s not until what is felt on top is married to what’s seen from the ground and followed up by a comment and a mark, at the time of execution, does it really sink in. Then the opportunity to repeat the movement again riding it differently and getting a different comment and mark on your earpiece, really cements just how easy it is to improve your performance. After all, a great deal of time, effort and money has already been put in, so why not get the best performance possible riding what you’re on, on the day?

* International competitor experience - British Junior Eventing team member 1989.
* Decades of training experience - Young Trainers scholarship with British Team Trainer.
* Decades of dressage judging experience - Currently List 3 BD judge, FEI national judge.
* A passion to catapult progression within the white boards for all aspiring competitors.

Bridging the gap between competitor and dressage judge.

The format: Firstly we put earpieces on from the outset enabling clear two-way communication between rider and judge.

* Then we allow you to warm up over 5 -10mins discussing what level you're at, the marks you usually get, the comments you usually get.
* Then we talk about quality within the 3 paces. The adjustments you can make to improve your marks on this quality. How is feels on top when the quality is 5, 6, 6.5, 7, or even 8-9. Whether the ‘feel’ on top actually matches the appearance from the floor. * Other aspects possibly like everything feeling fab, when actually the mouth is wide open and not tracking up in working trot.
* Then we talk through, ride different movements at your level, IE the stretch, the give-retake, change of rein through trot, simple changes, leg yields, through to half pass and extended movements and changes.
* Then, if required, we ride through and dissect a particular test, whilst getting the best quality of work to get the best marks. It's about riding the most suitable way with the horse that you've got. So we talk about how to limit the bad movements too.
* RingCraft pointers to encourage the judge to go up 1/2 a mark as opposed to go down 1/2 a mark. Also, I welcome anyone wanting to sit in with me whilst training others too.
* Training techniques for you to take away and work on with your trainer, to make your horse more capable to deliver for you, on the day.
* Stay for a few hours. Write a test sheet out for me whilst I judge. See what we see from C and better understand how the marks you get are arrived at.

These clinics enable some to try working at a higher level if they want to give it a go, but that wasn't the main purpose of this days. It's really to enable competitors to produce the most attractive work possible at the level they are competing at and to get higher marks than they usually get. That in itself will build confidence to progress up the levels.

Dressage Ringcraft clinics are not new, and there’s no right or wrong format. But using the earpieces, judging, commenting, marking, training and suggesting different methods of movement execution, every single slot in the 20+clinics has resulted in noticeable improvements in performance.
It’s become clear over the past 6 months that although a ‘one off’ session is helpful, the new professionals are enjoying monthly clinics on different horses at different levels with different test. And as Alice Hallow’s has shown in the results of her 2021 season, monthly RingCraft clinics at Mike and Sarah’s Hubbards Hall Farm have propelled her confidence, her solid score security and her ability to perform well under pressure. Alice has showed and is still showing an intense determination to improve and get the very best out of her horses within the white boards. Now her string of horses grows and 2022 looks extremely exciting for her and as for the clinics … well now I’m allocating 3 days a week of clinics across the UK and there are no fewer than 7 potential GB eventing squad members signed up for regular RingCraft slots through the spring and into the summer of 2022.

It’s about catapulting progression at all levels and the rider wanting to improve connection and get a 4 year old on the aids in a Prelim 19 will benefit just as much as an FEI 3* international eventer improving positioning and uphill tendency in canter half pass.
Just as much effort and passion is put into all improvements whoever you are, where ever you live and whatever you ride. 100%.

2022 Hack Up RingCraft Ambassador: Feedback

"It has been great working with Alex with a RingCraft session once a month over the period of half a season and into this winter. Very eye opening to find out about the process of judging and understanding how to stand out with a great performance whether that is with accuracy or a bit of flare to separate yourself from the others in your section. Also, helpful to have a fresh set of eyes on my progress and to push me out of my comfort zone with improving my position. Alex is very knowledgeable and it is good fun discussing ideas on how to improve and what is working. The RingCraft structure works really well as I like having the ear pieces because I can always hear what Alex is saying so I can easily concentrate on riding through the dressage tests. I find it motivating to know another RingCraft session will be around the corner in months time so I keep focusing on what I have learnt from the session and keep on building on my skill set".

Alice Hallows


If you're interested in getting involved, message me direct on fB or call me on 07771 924373. I'll do everything in my power to get to you when you need me there, wherever you are in the UK.

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