You’ve worked tirelessly at home on improving technique or refining skills in your favourite discipline but you want more. Here’s some tips on how to get the most from your training session and make them count from top young dressage rider Joanna Thurman-Baker.

Joanna (pictured), 20, is part of the World Class programme and competes a variety of horses to international level, which includes two rides given to her by Carl Hester, who also helps her train. Last year Joanna was part of the British team at the young rider European championships riding Highcliffe Apollo, with whom she is now competing up to grand prix.

So what’s her advice?

1. Go into the session with a clear mind. Forget about work troubles or that you forgot to put the washing out. Now is the time to focus on your horse.

2. Have an action plan of what you are going to work on. You don’t have to stick to the plan, but at least if you have one, you can attempt to follow and progress yourself and the horse.

3. Work with mirrors if possible. These are invaluable as it’s like you are your own trainer. Alternatively, film a few sessions weekly. Then watch and learn.

4. If working with a trainer, be open to trying new things. Sometimes the answer lies outside the box.

5. Be brave! Push yourself out of your comfort zone and really see how much you can do. Remember you are allowed to make mistakes — that’s what the home training is for.

6. If you’re practising for a dressage test, don’t go mad going through it 100 times. Your horse could get too used to the test and start taking over and anticipating the movements. Spice things up and add in a few of your own movements to catch them out.

7. Don’t work your horse for longer than 45 minutes. For most, it won’t benefit them in the long run.

Now you’ve got that advice in mind, take a look at these dressage competitions available to enter where you can show off what you’ve learnt…

Come as you are unaffiliated dressage

Date: 15 September
Venue: Capricorn Equestrian Centre, Eynsford
Details: “This casual dressage event features classes ranging between intro and medium. Plus you can pay for a test caller too.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated dressage on grass

Date: 15 September
Venue: Urchinwood Manor Riding and Event Centre, Bristol
Details: “This competition has classes from prelim to advanced medium with some sections holding winter qualifiers.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated dressage

Date: 26 August
Venue: Kings Sedgemoor Equestrian Centre, near Bridgwater
Details: “This unaffiliated competition features classes ranging between a specially designed walk and trot test, where any bit and casual dress is permitted, up to novice. School horses are also available to compete at a cost. Rosettes to sixth place.”
Enter now

British Dressage

Date: 16 September
Venue: Sheepgate Equestrian, Boston
Details: “This competition has classes from prelim to pick your own FEI test, plus freestyle to music classes and winter qualifiers.”
Enter now

Nervous dressage

Date: 16 September
Venue: Ladyleys, Oldmeldrum
Details: “Warm up in either indoor school for 20 minutes then ride a dressage test of your choice without having to leave the arena.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated evening dressage

Date: 18 September
Venue: Leamside Equestrian, Houghton Le Spring
Details: “This competition will be held indoor with an outdoor warm up on a surface. The cafe will be open throughout and classes range from intro to novice.”
Enter now

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