New Year, New Tests

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The USEF and USDF have both issued new tests this year, which happens on a four-year cycle.? The anxiety level of dressage riders goes up during the winter that precedes their first show season with the new tests.? they're always eager to see what the test-writing committees have in store for them at the levels they hope to be riding.? Sometimes it gets easier and sometimes it gets harder. The next three months for me will be punctuated with clinics about the new tests.? Usually, these are un-mounted clinics with a DVD, but sometimes live demonstration horses are used (especially as the weather improves into April) and sometimes I'm doing ?fix-a-tests,? where riders try out the tests for themselves. Auditors always come armed with questions about strategy and showmanship. When I do a clinic with live horses/riders, I always try to set it up so the auditors watch from as close to C (where the judge sits) as possible.? I want the auditors to see what I'm seeing.? Most of the time, people view tests from one of two perspectives ? from the side of the ring or from the back of the horse.? The judge may see things very differently at C.? For example, straightness is clearly obvious, but a crooked horse is not so apparent from the side of the ring. From studying the tests on paper and from the DVD rides I've seen so far, I think these are interesting tests that should help riders further the training of their horses.? Training Level, especially, seems to be asking some harder questions than the last round of tests.? I'm looking forward to seeing if this is actually the case and how the riders will respond. Resolution Report:? It was a Lost Weekend.? You can't go to Maryland without having crab cakes.? Thus, I lost only 1 pound instead of my goal of 2.? I guess it could have been worse.?? Total loss for two weeks:? 3 pounds.? Travel is hard on dieting, and I'm spending three days in Ohio this weekend with a new-test clinic for the Northern Ohio Dressage Assn., but at least the hotel has a good fitness center.