Spooky horse making competing in dressage difficult? Here’s how to conquer it…

Competing is nerve-wracking enough without your horse deciding every marker and fleck of arena is utterly terrifying. So here are some great pointers from five-star eventer Kate Honey (pictured) to help you tackle spookiness with your horse in the arena…

1. Get your horse used to working with other horses around.

2. Create scenarios at home, such as putting out flower pots or have music playing in the background — whatever you think your horse will react to and let them get used to it at home.

3. Work on different surfaces. If your tests are mostly on grass don’t do all your training on a pristine surface.

4. Make sure you do plenty of schooling at different venues before competing so they can get used to seeing lots of different things.

5. When you are at a competition, give yourself plenty of time in the warm up, so there is no rush and your horse can settle. Doing lots of transitions can help to make sure the horse is really listening.

6. Some horses benefit from being worked before a test, then being put away and then when you get back on them immediately before, they have a shorter warm up. Or you could hand walk them round a venue to get used to the atmosphere. Work out what brings out the best in your horse.

7. Try to actually ride the test and not just survive it. If you make a mistake remember it is only one movement — stay positive for the rest of the test.

Credit: Stride Management

Now you’ve got that advice in mind, take a look at these dressage competitions available to enter where you can put this into practice…

British Dressage

Date: 3 August
Venue: Reaseheath College, Nantwich
Details: “This competition has a large range of classes from prelim to prix st georges.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated dressage

Date: 3 August
Venue: Low Farm Equestrian, Wellginborough
Details: “This competition has classes from intro to novice.”
Enter now

British Dressage and unaffiliated dressage

Date: 4 August
Venue: Witham Villa Equestrian Centre, Leicester
Details: “This competition has prelim and novice classes with affiliated, unaffiliated and junior sections, plus a qualifier.”
Enter now

British Dressage Quest and unaffiliated dressage

Date: 4 August
Venue: Inchcoonans Competition & Livery Yard, Errol
Details: “This competition includes classes from intro to elementary.”
Enter now

Evening unaffiliated dressage

Date: 7 August
Venue: Capricorn Equestrian Centre, Dartford
Details: “This unaffiliated competition features classes from intro to medium.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated dressage

Date: 10 August
Venue: Kings Sedgemoor Equestrian Centre, near Bridgwater
Details: “This unaffiliated competition has classes ranging between intro and elementary.”
Enter now

Visit equo.co.uk for full competition and training listings