When I first started working with Dexter I built myself a shabby dressage ring out in a pasture to get me motivated. Its basically spray painted cinder blocks at the letters, a fence on one side but otherwise no rails or borders. The blocks have since been knocked over and moved around by the pasture ponies, but they are relatively in the same spot.
I don't work Dexter in the dressage ring very often, for one, when I got him he wasn't good at balancing and going straight so we did a lot of large circles and serpentines that wouldn't have fit in the ring. Plus, I put it right next to the corn field not aware of the scary monsters that lived in the field (wind and grasshoppers). So Dexter would leg yield and shoulder in all along the one long side, ready to bolt should anything move before telling him.
Anyway, as I plan on showing next season, and Dexter has found his center, I've decided we need to use the arena more. After schooling in the arena I decided to run through the new Training Level Test 1 to see how we were doing. Needless to say, I've found that we may need to focus on some precision work and transitions now that he's got his frame. Below is the test as written followed by our interpretation:
A Working Trot
X Halt Salute
X Halt, walk, halt, walk, HALT
C Track Left
Somewhere between G & C track left, drift out of the arena and come back in around S
E 20 meter Circle
E 15-20 meter egg-shape
A Circle left 20m, developing left lead canter second half of circle
A circle left 20 meters, canter 2 strides break to see if she's serious, pick canter back up
AFB Working Canter
AFB Trot in the corner followed by hand gallop to B
B-E Half circle 20 M
Just past B track left
Between E & K Working Trot
E ask for trot, V ask for trot, extended trot at K
A 20 meter stretch circle
Stretch at extended trot, slow down and relax the second half of the circle, just in time to pick up the reins.
Between A&F Medium Walk
Between A&F halt (now he halts) then proceed at the walk.
FXH Free Walk
FXH free walk - no problem here :)
H-C Medium Walk
H pick up reins, Dexter pull them back out. Pick them back up and grind teeth to C.
C Working Trot
C Working Trot - good boy!
Same as work to the left, egg shape, hand gallop and all.
A Down Centerline
Overshoot A Find Centerline
X Halt Salute
X Halt Salute - no problems, he knows hes done :)
Like I said, it was good to do because it magnified what I've been letting him get away with. Nothing big but we definitely have some work to do. And it's honestly a lot better that it was. I rode a test with him when I first got him and I don't think we finished. I decided it could wait when we cantered right out of the arena on our 20(40-50) meter circle.
And my thought is, if he was perfect, he'd be boring. :)