Question # 150: I need help with my 17 yr old TB's dressage. We are showing at the Novice level, and got a score of 29.5 once this year. But most of the time he is too tense to get a good score.

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He doesn't do anything bad, his neck is just tight, he's not through. His tenseness has gotten worse since we're riding Novice and our tests are early, 8am. How do I calm/relax him before our event dressage tests?

My current approach is to: 1. walk him around the dressage arena the night before 2. start warming up 1 hour before 3. walk a lot, talking to him and allowing him to stretch out 4. do lots of walk-trot-walk transitions, canter-walk transitions and shoulder in. 

I'll take any ideas: preparation, warm up, supplements that might help.. drugs for him or me ;) Thanks! (Catherine)

Hi Catherine!

You are not alone! Tension at shows is a very common problem! It sounds like you have the right idea with your current approach. I do have a few things to add... some of which you may already be doing, but I will mention them anyways. Along with some advice on warm up for the Dressage phase and dealing with tension in Dressage... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)

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