If you are just learning dressage and have been taking a few lessons, it is a rule of thumb to start at the beginning of the levels and to stay at each level for a year, while preparing for the next level. Start at Intro level and practice your way up. You don’t want to skip a level, try to stay focused and think about what is required of you and your horse. Gaits, impulsion, submission and riders seat & position is alot to work on when you are just starting out. Every test leads to the next level and are considered the building blocks of the development of both the horse and rider.
For beginners, ride Intro level tests A & B. This can be alot of work for a beginner rider and a green horse. Stay at this level for a year and begin working on training level before the end of the year. If you are going to shows, you don’t want to be riding the next level to much in the beginning of your show season, concentrate on the level you are on. Believe me, the movements at the next level come a little quicker, and you and your horse need the time to build the strength and confidence you need to advance up to the next level. And yes, riders need strength to, not just our equine partners!
Don’t rush your horse to a level that either of you are not prepared for. You want to be fair to your horse, he or she should be allowed the time that is needed to develop physically and mentally.
Riding correct straight lines and circles are alot of work. As a rider you have to concentrate on your body position and learn the correct timing of your aids so that you can get clear transitions from your horse. Talk to your instructor about how to apply a half halt and for the timing of this aid. These are just some of the basics to work on, and you will continue to do this on all the levels up to Grand Prix.