Looking to unimpress the judges quickly? Here’s a list of six things common equitation errors and why they will knock you down in the order of ribbons.

1. Posting at the canter

This isn’t the way a horse’s motion naturally moves us. So, by posting at the canter, you’re not only impeding the way your horse is moving but you’re also (more likely than not) speeding your horse up. Too much pace isn’t what you’re looking for.

2. Getting left behind

You ideally want to be with your horse, which means you want to follow along with the motion. If you get “caught” in the air over a fence, you might land heavily in the saddle. You might cause your horse to drop a rail. It’s not effective riding, which is why it’s a big equitation error.

3. Perching

If you find yourself stiff, you might end up teetering towards the front of your saddle and it can throw your horse off balance. Try to move with your horse instead of posing on top of them.

4. Too heavy in the saddle

Being heavy in the saddle will impede your horse’s style over the fences. It’ll even impede your horse’s movement, because you aren’t centered above them. Having a light, sympathetic seat goes a long way in terms of your equitation.

5. Nontraditional attire

If you’re going for a classical look, straying from traditional attire can be a detriment. If you’re the only one wearing a hunter green coat they’re going to notice you, and that’s not always a good thing. It was pretty cool when Lillie Keenan wore her hunter green coat, but remember that traditional isn’t a bad thing.

6. Looking for leads or diagonals

Please don’t. If you look down, it will not only throw your head down but it’ll disrupt that seamless communication you’re looking for with your horse.