So you want to start a quadrille team but don’t know how to begin. Here are some ideas to help get it off the ground.
Talk to riders at your barn and see if there is an interest. Ideally you will have 5 or 6 members that can ride together, as having an extra member or two is helpful in case someone is out sick.
The first step is to make printouts of the USDF quadrille compulsory test your group would like to ride. Practice walking the test on foot in a small area cordoned off with dressage cones.
A coach or ground person is especially helpful to improve the visual quality of the alignment, synchronize and spacing of the ride.
The next step is to get the horses familiar with being together, riding in a line or “file” or side by side in pairs. This is where the riders watch their partners, rather than their own horses’ heads. Riders begin to ride “boot to boot” with some safety space between horses. The riders riding in pairs learn to have the horse on the inside of the turn collect their horse and the one on the outside of the turn lengthen their steps so they can remain side by side. When riding in a line, one in front of the other, each rider should be able to see the hocks of the horse ahead, over their horse’s ears, to stay a horse length apart.
Once the horses are familiar with being near each other in pairs and in a single file line, begin riding some of the movements from the compulsory test you practiced on foot.
The coach can watch and work with the riders to improve the visual consistency and accuracy of the ride. When the ride looks good to the coach or ground person, it is ready for competition.
Making a musical freestyle is a step even beyond competing with a compulsory freestyle test. It is super fun to work together, walking and designing choreography, working on costumes, colors, and music.