Amelia Newcomb: Making the Most of Your Short Court Dressage Test

In this latest video, we will be talking about geometry in the short dressage court. Sometimes with the elementary tests and especially three-day events, you may ride your test in a 20m x 40m arena (short court) instead of the standard 20m x 60m (large court or full side court). When you ride a test, it’s super important that you ride each movement and figure accurately (you will make the judge very happy!).

In this video, I’m riding inside a short court and talking about how to ride your tests accurately in a smaller court:

The dressage judges are super picky about the geometry in a test, as riding accurate geometry is what shows that your horse is on the aids. But riding accurate geometry can be tricky, especially in a short court. As the coach of several eventing students, I commonly see eventers struggle with:


Depending on whether you are riding your circle at one of the ends (A or C) or if you’re riding a circle in the middle of the arena (B or E) your geometry will change slightly in the different courts. I commonly see riders make big oval shapes for their circles, especially if they are in a short court, so it’s super helpful if you can look at your test before the show, study the geometry, know what touch points you’ll need for your circles, and practice riding them accurately.

Using the Corners

Corners are a big part of the geometry in your test because they set you up for the next movement. One common mistake that I see riders make in their tests is that they cut their corners and allow their horse to counter bend and fall inward. Make sure you ride into the corner with bend and look up and ahead to plan for your next movement. Imagine that there is a jump on the line ahead of you and you have to ride a good turn to line up with it!

The biggest things that will help you to ride an accurate test are firstly, studying the geometry in your test and knowing your touch points for each figure, and secondly, looking up to where you are riding

Watch the video above where I explain more about the correct touch points for your circles and corners. I also have a drone filming from above (as well as my regular camera) so you can get a better idea of the correct geometry.

I hope that these tips help give you an idea of how you can ride your tests a bit more accurately so that you can boost your eventing scores! A big thank you to Eventing Nation for collaborating on this video.

Happy Riding!


P.S. Want more help with your canter? Check out my FREE Canter PDF mini-course to help! Download the course here.

Amelia Newcomb is a USDF Gold medalist, a member of the prestigious USEF Dressage Development Program, and recipient of the Carol Lavell Prize from the Dressage Foundation. Based in Somis, California, she incorporates complete dressage training from starting the young horse through the FEI levels.

Amelia works to develop a trusting and confident relationship between horse and rider. Her approach incorporates all aspects of horsemanship from basic groundwork to advanced dressage movements. The emphasis is always on the foundation with the basic trust, understanding, and relaxation for both horse and rider to create a harmonious partnership.
Amelia’s mantra has always been “Dressage for All,” which is evident in both her in person and online coaching. With a successful YouTube video library of hundreds of free educational videos, over 135,000 subscribers (and counting!), and thousands of students enrolled in her online USDF accredited courses, it is clear that Amelia has a passion for teaching and dressage! “I have been blessed with many great teachers in my career and I hope to help each and every one of my students develop a connection and solid relationship with their horses.”

Learn more about Amelia on her website or discover her free educational videos on her YouTube channel “Amelia Newcomb Dressage.”

Read more tips from Amelia on EN here.

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