I really, really, really like the 2011 tests. Since I didn't ride above intro with the 2007 tests, I can't say whether the current model is worse or better, but either way, I like the 2011 tests. What I like about the tests is how ... to use a term that we toss about in education ... how scaffolded they are. When we use that term in the classroom, we mean the idea is supported from the bottom all the way to the top.
Now that I've gone through the Introductory and Training Level tests and am restarting the intro tests with Sydney, I constantly find myself saying, oh, I get why I am doing this!
Here's a baby, baby example: Intro A: enter working trot rising, medium walk at X. Intro B: enter working trot rising, halt at X. Another example: for all of the intro tests, transitions are (mostly) done between the letters. By Training Level, some of the trot transitions at done at the letters, but the canter work is still done between the letters.
Very cliché, I know, but I wish I knew then what I know now. When I first started showing Speedy in the summer of 2010, I didn't know what the purpose of the tests were. I couldn't see that the intro tests were introducing small components of the next level. Now that I've moved up a level, I can see very clearly that what I am doing at Training Level is helping prepare us for the movements at First Level.
As I was riding Sydney on Monday morning (and what a great ride he gave me!), I kept it in mind that we won't be an Intro team forever. We WILL move up. So we did our twenty meter circles focusing on rhythm and relaxation, but then we did some loopy changes of direction in anticipation of the 1-loop serpentine at Training Level. Speedy doesn't get the advantage of schooling what's ahead because I really don't know how to do what's waiting for us. But once he and I get it, you can be sure that Sydney will reap the benefits of my knowledge.