Lesson Plan: Learning Dressage Tests

Posted on Nov 6, 2014

Learn Dressage Tests

Unmounted Lesson- August, 2014

Alita (Bunny) Hendricks © 2014

Topic:                    How to Learn Your Dressage Tests


Objective:           Students will demonstrate that they know their dressage tests by tracing the correct pattern without errors three times. (This method uses kinesthetic learning without having to rehearse it repeatedly on their mounts- thus teaching the mount to anticipate movements.)


Time:                     30 minutes if Dressage Ring Whiteboards are premade

60 minutes if making the above is part of the lesson


Level:                    UR through C2


Number of Students:     1 – 10


Materials:            “Whiteboard Dressage Arenas” – 1 per student (see how to make them -as part of the lesson- materials and directions below)

1 whiteboard marker per student

Copies of Dressage Test(s) to be learned (one copy per Dressage Test each student will ride)

Paper towels

Whiteboard Marker Cleaner or Rubbing Alcohol in spray bottle


Pre-lesson:         Materials to make “Whiteboard Dressage Arenas”:

Whiteboard Rectangles, pre cut OR White Poster Board rectangles completely premade (see USPC Manual Vol. III (1996) p. 59), then laminated

Permanent Black Markers

Ruler to measure and draw lines for dressage arenas

Diagrams of Small Dressage Arena and Large Dressage Arena for letter placement (USPC Manual Vol. III (1996) p. 59 OR USDF) Include the letters up the middle of the arenas.

Optional: Stick-on upper case letters for Dressage arenas- flat stickers or foam stickers


Before the lesson…


1.)    Make “Whiteboard Dressage Arenas” out of precut rectangles of 2 sided whiteboard or poster board (to be laminated later). They can be of any size as long as the dressage arena part of it has the same relative dimensions as a dressage arena (i.e. 4” x 8” for small (20m x 40 m) arena, and 4” x 12” for large (20m x 60m) arena) Allow for at least 2” extra space around the 4 sides of the arena to include letters. Hint: make “Whiteboard Dressage Arenas” large enough to draw a small arena on one side and a large arena on the back!

2.)    Draw Dressage arenas with appropriate proportions in permanent black marker, Small arena on one side, large arena on the other. See USPC Manual Vol. III (1996) p. 59.

3.)    If using poster board, have “Whiteboard Dressage Arenas” laminated before the next step.


Step 4 may be done as part of the students making their own “Whiteboard Dressage Arenas”


4.)    Using Dressage Arena diagrams (see above), student s will place the letters (stickers, foam letters, or written with permanent black marker) correctly around the “Whiteboard Dressage Arenas”. Include the letters up the middle of the arenas.


Lesson:                 Before beginning the next phase, collect and put away all of the permanent markers! If used mistakenly, they will ruin the whiteboard dressage arenas!


Explanation:       “Today you will work on learning your Dressage Tests you will be riding at our upcoming Rally. You will read and trace the movements in your tests. You will then repeat this until you don’t need to read from the dressage test paper. Then, you will practice the test until you can trace all of it, movement by movement without needing to look at the test at least three times in a row without forgetting movements and without making a mistake. If you know it this well, you will be ready to practice riding the test on your mount.”


Demonstration:                Demonstrate to students by reading from a dressage test, movement by movement and tracing each movement with an erase board marker (very important to use the correct markers!) as each movement is spoken. (This process is a multi-sensory approach (visual, auditory, & kinesthetic) which addresses the 3 modalities of learners.)


Practice:                               Students will practice tracing their dressage tests with assistance until they are able to trace their dressage test three times without forgetting movements and without errors. You may need to help some members read their dressage tests.


Reteaching:                        Guide students, if necessary, until they are able to meet criteria for success.


Summary:                           What did we do today that made it easier for you to learn your dressage test?

Traced the movements on our dressage rings, used the dressage test paper to help us, etc…. Why are we learning our dressage tests today? To help us get ready for Rally, so we don’t wait until the last minute to learn our tests, etc.


Homework:                        Take your Dressage Arenas and dry erase markers home and learn the rest of your dressage tests for next month’s Pony Club mounted meeting. You will have a chance to practice all of the tests you will ride at rally.