I ‘ve found it is better to learn all my dressage tests by memory. It goes beyond memory, I learn them “by heart”. In this way I use my anticipation and sequencing skills to help prepare for the next movement.
If there is soft music in the background of our ride I use it to “dance” to with my horse. If there is no music I ride with a tune in my head. When I studied dance at Uot C years ago, no one would talk us through the moves from the curtain, in gymnastics you need to remember your floor routine or you couldn’t sequence your tumbling lines, one portion of the routine flowed and built on the next.
I have been in the trenches of training level and I know nerves can play interference with memory. Have a reader if you must to keep yourself secure. I urge all of my riders to know their tests upside douwn and backwards. Practice a sequence of 2 or 3 moves at a time untill they flow. Dance with your horse.
Another way to learn your tests is to draw them out on a dressage court template. This method suits visusal learners best. Riders can visualize where the next transition takes place. You make a dressage map for your test. Advanced riders can add in half halts or what “feel” they should experience at each transition. Preparation points are critical, for example you can’t wait to get to a letter before asking to start a circle, shoulder in or half pass.
Good luck with this, see you at the shows.