Enter at A and make a winning impression: 6 tips to help you ride a perfect centre line

Riding a centre line might sound simple, but a particularly good one can be tricky to achieve, especially if there is a halt included on it. But, it is important you get this movement right as they book-end your dressage test and can both set the standard for the marks in your test and help with the collective marks at the end. Here, event rider Franky Reid-Warrilow (pictured below) gives her top tips on how to ride the perfect centre line…

1. Always practice riding straight lines at home either down the centre line or ¾ line. This should prevent your horse from becoming too dependent on the side of the arena for straightness. It will also help prepare them for a test where there will only be boards. Also remember to practice your halts at home, focusing on squareness and immobility.

2. When you are at a competition, make sure you enter the arena on whatever rein your horse is straightest on.

3. Remember to always smile at the judge when riding down the centre line, both at the beginning and end of your test. It shows confidence and can help you as a rider to stay relaxed.

4. Attack your centre line — ride forward and positive as this should help to engage the horse’s hind quarters so they stay straight.

5. To prepare for the halt, remember to do a half-halt to adjust the tempo. If you have a halt at the beginning of your test, it can sometimes be tricky to come out of it in a straight line and not wiggle. To try and prevent this, I always think push and power. Try and be punchy out of the halt to keep the engagement and straightness.

6. Think about keeping the straightness from the back legs, not the front legs. Straightness comes from behind.

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…

Unaffiliated dressage

Date: 18 August
Venue: White House Farm Equestrian, Lincoln
Details: “This competition features classes from intro to elementary.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated dressage

Date: 18 August
Venue: Cholderton Equestrian Centre, Salisbury
Details: “This unaffiliated competition features classes ranging between into and novice with a pick your own long or short arena BD test.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated evening dressage

Date: 19 August
Venue: Dorset Showground, Gillingham
Details: “This unaffiliated competition features classes from intro to novice, plus a pick your own short arena test option too. There is prize money available for each class.”
Enter now

British Dressage

Date: 22 August
Venue: Kings Sedgemoor Equestrian Centre, near Bridgwater
Details: “This affiliated show has classes ranging from intro to novice with My Quest and Team Quest options.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated evening dressage

Date: 23 August
Venue: Four Winds Equestrian Centre, Spalding
Details: “Classes from intro to novice.”
Enter now

British Dressage

Date: 24 August
Venue: Alnwick Ford Equestrian, Morpeth
Details: “This competition includes classes from prelim to grand prix with a variety of qualifiers.”
Enter now

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