If you are getting comments like “hollow”, “short steps”, “lack of engagement”, “irregular” “stiff” on your dressage test, you should consider performance enhancing massage for your horse. I spent last weekend at an international event and saw many horses that could have improved their scores and comments with a few bodywork sessions. When a horse feels comfortable and supple they are more willing to perform brilliantly. A horse with balanced and free muscles will more willingly go on the bit, bend, maintain difficult movements like counter canter, and listen to the rider.
I have a regular client who saw me working on a horse at a show a couple of years ago. We did not know each other, but she asked if I had a solution for her problems with counter canter at the Preliminary event level. I checked her horse and found he had a very tight tricep muscle and spinatus muscles (in the shoulder). I worked on them, and she was thrilled to report later that the problem was fixed! It often can be that simple. For the cost of a new saddle pad, you can easily solve many mysterious problems that add penalties to your score.