Alex's Dressage Tips
OK, this tells the judge a lot about the performance that's about to happen.
If you come up the centre line, stumble into a crooked halt and then salute in 0.001 seconds whilst looking down with a snarl on your face before moving off it really doesn't tell us that we're in for a phenomenal performance.
If, on the other hand, you're straight up the centre line and come to a halt in a balanced manner, then look at the judge square in the eye with a confident smile, then with an upright body and level shoulders, you lower your hand and in a synchronised manner gracefully nod your head, then things look very encouraging indeed from my point of view.
With the reins and whip being held in one hand you now have the opportunity to show us something that HARDLY ANYONE has the nerve to do at the lower levels. Give us just "one" second of a pause with the horse still, concentrating and round, all legs carrying even amount of weight, before taking the reins back in both hands smoothly and efficiently with the horse remaining still. That pause makes me think "Wow" and if it's excellent it WILL GET A 10!!
I am reminded often by the lovely Sue Howard that a movement does not have to be 'Perfect' to get a 10, but it does have to be 'Excellent' and there IS a distinction between the 2.
This kind of goes hand in hand with a Halt, but that deserves a post of its own - for certain!