How To Memorize Your Patterns
I realize most of us are stuck at home without a show in sight ... so ... lets get to practicing for next year!
This post is about MEMORIZING patterns.
We can do another post on approach angles, how to conquer a particular obstacle, etc later if you would like.
1) Take a cell phone picture of the pattern.
2) Go to the arena you will be showing in.
3) Stand at the "In/Out" gate.
3) Pick out your Landmarks.
On the right we have "Concessions".
At the far end "Scary Gate".
To the left is "Windows".
And we are standing at the "In/Out".
4) Go over the pattern on your phone while you are in the arena and pretend you are in the show arena doing the actual pattern and look for those Landmarks. If you can run around in a corner of the arena and pretend you are doing it in the actual arena all the better (same sights, landmarks are there, smells, noise, etc).
5) MOST patterns have a flow. Usually counterclockwise. Knowing this you don't have to worry about "whats next". Just keep going counter clockwise.
6) Go back to the barn and actually DO the pattern, trot, walk, back, just like you are in the ring. Remember your landmarks. Pretend they are there. Do this exactly 1 million times. Just as you are finishing one obstacle turn your head and look for the next one.
7) "Teach" someone the pattern. Saying it out loud and "showing" people where to go really sinks it in my noggin.
8) Start the pattern from various obstacles and finish it. This helps if you get in the middle of the arena and draw a blank.
9) Have 2 patterns back to back that are only slightly different? Memorize both ... but concentrate mostly on the first pattern. You will have time after your first pattern to memorize the second while others are performing in your class and while the judges are placing your class. Don't place equal emphasis on both or you will can very lost out there ....
The Walk Through:
Now that you know the pattern you can concentrate on the details. Which is another post. The walk through is not when you memorize you pattern. The walk through is to get distances, get your landmarks sorted, pick your lines and take a look at the footing. Have your pattern memorized already.
1) Start your pattern along the Concessions wall. And start it a ways back from the cones so you are actually trotting before you hit the cones.
SLOW DOWN. BREATHE. You have HOURS to finish this (not really, but it helps you to slow down).
2) After trot poles we have #2 (backing). Panic! Where do I go? I would think to myself "after the trot poles I want to look out the window and escape". Trot poles. Window. OK. Now how to get into the back. Well ... think common sense. What is the shortest pivot I can do? It's a 1/4 pivot to the left. If you can "pull" the horse towards you to pivot bonus, if you can't, switch sides. Again think common sense, the shortest pivot you can do would be ... to the left. (Again this post if about memorizing patterns, not actually executing the obstacle).
SLOW DOWN. BREATHE. You are almost halfway done! Enjoy this! After all you just drove 9000 miles and spent $9000 .... enjoy it!
3) Head to Scary Chutes (because doing a hula hoop is scary to most grown women) and follow our counter clockwise pattern. Easy enough.
SLOW DOWN. BREATHE. And ... SLOW DOWN. When you are nervous you will race through the pattern. Go slow. Think "I have ALL day".
4) Sidepass. Note on patterns most of the time they will make little horseshoes that show what direction the horse faces. This one is Window. Horse jumps out Window.
SLOW DOWN. BREATHE. Smile.
5) Cones. This one is hard. I would think "blow by the first cone (repeat this over and over) and start weaving heading to Concessions. I'm going to do a full circle at each end and end at the Window. I'm only going to be on the Concession side of a cone if I am circling it.
SLOW DOWN. BREATHE. Remember you have a horse partner. Don't leave him hanging.
6) Almost done. I'm going to hit the corners only. Both times heading towards Window. So it's Corners to Window. Concessions in the middle. Corner to Windows. Concession and done!
Time for some Concessions!