Ringcraft - Improve Test Riding
Tahley Reeve Smith
Hack Up bespoke Founder turning his arm to RingCraft - across the UK 2022.
- 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 - List 4 BD judge aged 23, now FEI national judge.
- A passion to catapult progression within the white boards for all aspiring competitors.
In June of 2021, Alex began dressage judging once again (BE, BD, RC and PC) following the Covid lockdowns and realised that folk had got a little ‘rusty’ on their test riding. Having seen his wife Jayne being taught during lockdown through earpieces via FaceTime with Luke Baber-Davies in Brighton, with the mobile following the horse on a tripod, Alex decided that RingCraft could be so much more productive by simply enhancing technology. 12yo daughter Katya making the most of the RingCraft learns and now competing at medium - and winning!!
So in July of 2021, Alex began a string of RingCraft Clinics using electronic earpieces, so bridging the gap between competitor and dressage judge in an instant.
The format: Firstly we put earpieces on from the outset enabling clear two-way communication between rider and judge, hopefully fully charged!!
- 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.
If you're interested in Alex coming to your area to run a clinic, please get in touch.
Here’s some feedback…
“The earpieces were a great idea! I found it very helpful, and hearing the judges feedback and scoring was also very helpful. Correcting things during the test with a judges advice has helped me a great deal!” Chloe Spalding.
“I loved the earpiece, I didn’t think that I would…I was worried about you hearing me huffing and puffing and heavy breathing in your ear…but actually I thought it made it easier to concentrate. Although listening to you and also listening to Karen call my test was a little bit too much for my brain to cope with.!” Cher East.
“I really enjoyed my session today, lots of really helpful tips to take away for our training and to remember when we are out! Now I just need to actually apply them and get those marks up!” Claudia Melia
“Absolutely loved today thank you so much my little welsh dragon was awesome and I learnt so much! Will keep a look for other dates x”. Victoria Wright:
“Found the session really useful yesterday- liked hearing the comments and scores as we went round and great to have the exercises to work on to improve too.” Carol Harrison
“Thanks very much, really enjoyed it and the feedback through the earpiece was great xx.” Michelle Wilson