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Going solo...

If you've competed with Demi Dressage before, you'll know that our levels are colour coded based on ability/content rather than splitting by rider age. (If you're new to us, you can find a full summary of our levels here: )

Splitting by level rather than by age accommodates older riders who have only just started, those with confidence issues, and even those with learning difficulties or other disabilities.

We're also keen to help young riders make that all-important step of coming off the lead rein - often one of the trickiest stages of riding, especially if you have a less-than-perfect pony! Our Green and Yellow classes can both be ridden on the lead rein, and combined regularly make up our biggest entry event on event.

But how many determined little people do you know who want to push their independence? MiniD went through a very stubborn 'by self, want to do by self!' age, long before she was truly ready to come off the lead (and for her, as a nervous rider, the process of coming off the lead turned out to be a fairly protracted affair with numerous set backs...) We want to encourage that independence, not least because it can be such a great confidence boost to have the sense of achievement of having ridden a test by themselves. And that's where our Green tests come in.

Green tests are always 'walk only'... I can only begin to describe the headaches involved in writing tests that fit in with the theme of the event, using the arena shapes we were introducing each time in a way that flowed AND got Small Child on Dawdly Small Pony around the arena in a time-frame that wouldn't blow up the internet when it came to uploading a lengthy video file..... But they're an important part of the Demi test structure, and it's the one level where we allow a fair bit of flexibility. Did you know it will still count as 'off lead' in a Green test if you have a 'walker' in the arena? As long as they are not actively leading or helping/coaching the rider, you can enter the off lead section.

You can also 'step backwards' to Green, if you're coming from Yellow Lead Rein. It's more of a lateral step than a backwards step after all, and we've been delighted to see a few riders recently making that leap. Obviously it depends on the rider - some will go straight from Yellow Lead Rein to Yellow off lead, and that's absolutely fine. But maybe you've got a nervous rider, maybe you've got a pony who is a little s*d in trot with a tiny tot! Maybe as a parent you're getting your head round this important stage of riding.... as a mum myself, I totally understand how nerve-wracking it can be entrusting your child to another being with a mind of it's own! It's a big step, and it pays to do it well - lost confidence can take a long time to re-build. So you can carry on doing Yellow Lead Rein, and also try Green off the lead to begin that journey 'going solo'...

girl pony rider on Shetland
MiniD riding her Shetland Ebony off the lead for the first time

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