When it comes to your Dressage tests, what’s your highest movement? For that matter, what’s your lowest scoring movement?
I’m not just asking to be nosy! Knowing your strengths and your weaknesses is so important if you’re looking to improve your performance. There’s only so many hours in a day and minutes in a training session, so it’s really useful to know where to focus your efforts.
Fortunately, our sport gives excellent feedback. Each time we compete, we get a score for every single movement, laying bare where we do well and not so well. Unfortunately, hardly any of us actually use these marks constructively to guide our training. Be honest, when was the last time you really looked at every single mark on your test sheet and compared it with your previous tests? Then again, with horses to muck out, jobs to do and food to cook, who really has the time?
Having been in this position myself, I know what it’s like. That’s why we’ve developed the Score Analytics feature for the Blackdog Equestrian App. It’s designed to take the pain out of analysing each and every mark from a test, leaving you with the useful information to make your training much more efficient.
The first thing you’ll need to do is enter all the individual marks from a test. Sounds painful, but isn’t. We’ve got all of the BD tests from Intro to Adv Medium on the app. All you have to do is select the level and test, then the Blackdog app will load your electronic score sheet. To start, the score for each movement is set to 6.5. You just need to use the + and - buttons to change it to the score that you actually got in that test, making it super quick to complete.
Once you’ve entered all your marks, the Blackdog app will automatically calculate your percentage and your collectives (a nice way of checking for any mistakes in the venue’s adding up!). It’ll then run an analysis on all of your scores to give you answers to the following questions:
What are my highest scoring movements?
What are my lowest scoring movements?
Which test at my current level do I score most highly in on average?
What movements in an upcoming test should I focus on?
What venues do I tend to score highly at?
For which movements is there a substantial difference between the left and right reins?
Plus lots more…
Why are these questions important?
Beyond making you feel good, it’s important to figure out which movements you’re already doing well as it’s often easier to add a half mark to an already-good movement than it is to add half a mark to a movement that you struggle with. So if you’ve got a big show coming up with not a lot of time, it’s often better to focus on making what you’re already good at even better! On the flip side, you really do need to focus on improving the movements that might be bringing your percentages down. So that’s when it’s useful to know which movements are consistently your lowest scoring.
The app also allows you to tailor this analysis for a specific test. We all know that some tests have movements in odd places or have things that consistently catch us out. If you know you’ve got a specific test coming up, eg the Regionals or Area Festivals, you can take a look at your past performances for those tests and really focus your training efforts accordingly.
If you’ve got a choice of competitions coming up, or are pushed for time to get that last qualifying score, knowing which test at a particular level you tend to get high marks in might help you to make that crucial decision. Plus, knowing which venues you and your horse like based off of your scores can also be helpful.
I think it goes without saying what it’s useful to highlight if there are specific differences in your horse’s performance on the left compared to the right rein. The goal of Dressage is to have an even, balanced horse. If he’s working better on the left than the right, for instance, you’ll be able to focus your attention on his weaker side. It’s also gratifying to know when you’ve achieved the goal; when there are no differences left and right.
Improving Performance with the App
The app doesn’t just leave you hanging. As well as giving you answers to the above questions, it also gives you suggestions for how to improve. These suggestions are links to exercises in the Blackdog app’s training library. Obviously we can’t guarantee that the exercises will magically add 2 marks onto your score, but they’ll be a really useful starting point.
You can also track your progress, seeing how your scores have changed over time, both in terms of your overall percentage and for specific movements. It gives you the chance to spot trends and potential issues before they become a problem.
The whole purpose of the Blackdog Equestrian App is to help riders to improve their performance. So in addition to the Score Analytics and the library of schooling exercises, you’ll also find Horse and Rider Biomechanics and Training Plan features on the app. Check out the rest of our website for socials for more information. Or give us a shout with any questions!