Question for Dressage riders - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 02-24-2012, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
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Question for Dressage riders

I would love to start competing in the Western Dressage division with my horse (we currently do reining/reined cow horse) but I'm a little confused with a few things.

1. What exactly are you supposed to do before you begin riding your test? What is the process for the circling the arena thing I see? I'm not really sure what that is about!

2. The western dressage rules don't say anything about how many classes you can enter and how many different levels you can enter at one show. What are the traditional dressage rules about this? For example, can I ride two different basic tests or one basic and one primary test at the same show?

3. What are some of the things I need to know about the protocol of the shows? I know dressage shows tend to be very quiet and and stricter than a cow horse show. There are probably things that would scare and/or offend dressage riders and horses that I would normally not even think twice about. And I sure don't want to do that! And I really don't want to look stupid! Lol!

And other helpful tips you can give me about how the show works would be great!
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post #2 of 13 Old 02-24-2012, 03:56 PM
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Heres a helpful site-
Western Dressage Tests & Rules | Western Dressage Association
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post #3 of 13 Old 02-24-2012, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for responding! I have read everything they had on that website but it doesn't really answer those questions. I was kinda hoping for a little more insight on how the show runs, I guess. I uderstand the actual test and how to ride it and I know the tack and attire rules, ect. But since this is a dressage show, not a western show, I want to be sure to play by their rules! Does that make sense? For example, at a cow horse show I can sit by the in-gate and hoot and hollar at my buddy showing but I am sure that is not acceptable at a dressage show! Lol! What other things would I get dirty looks for?

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post #4 of 13 Old 02-24-2012, 05:22 PM
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1. Circling the arena, don't just trot up and back and waste the time - I put my horse in shoulder in, then to travers, then to shoulder in again, ask the strides to come bigger and smaller etc. While also letting the horse get a look at the arena. Trot down the longside on the left rein - depending on the rules of the club and level of the competition, you can either just trot directly in front of the judge to give them a look at your number, or walk up to them and tell them your name, horse's name and number.
You then trot back down the longside, on the other side of the arena. Depending on your horse (and this just takes regular shows to work out what is best for your horse) you can either halt before you get to the end of the arena, wait for the judge to ring the bell and go straight in. Or keep the horse moving around at A until you hear the bell.


2. You may only enter 2 consecutive levels in dressage, so 'preliminary and novice', 'novice and elementary' and so on. Obviously there's something wrong if you're entering a low level, and the riding in a higher level on the same day/weekend! If the show is offering 2 tests per level, then yes, you are more than welcome to ride two tests to a level. Generally you can only ride a maximum of 3 tests in a day.



3. Protocol really depends on where you are. If it's a rated show, then you'll want to 'behave' respectfully, if its just a local 'come and try' show, you have a bit more leeway.
Avoid bringing a dog - though many still do, against the rules, it drives you crazy when you've got a dog barking at your horse all day. I've been to competitions where dogs have gotten loose and run across the grounds, through horse's legs, right through the middle of a test.... needless to say, the owner took a long time to redeem herself.

In the warmup, trying to find yourself an area away from others. Ride left shoulder to left shoulder (could be different in US-check with the federation) in the warmup if you pass another horse. Faster gaits have priority on the track, so if you are walking, stick to the inside tracks to allow trot and cantering horses room to go past. Lateral work has priority over all paces.

Avoid cutting people off in the warmup, it makes them mad ;)



Good luck!!!

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post #5 of 13 Old 02-24-2012, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimeChaser View Post
I would love to start competing in the Western Dressage division with my horse (we currently do reining/reined cow horse) but I'm a little confused with a few things.

1. What exactly are you supposed to do before you begin riding your test? What is the process for the circling the arena thing I see? I'm not really sure what that is about!

2. The western dressage rules don't say anything about how many classes you can enter and how many different levels you can enter at one show. What are the traditional dressage rules about this? For example, can I ride two different basic tests or one basic and one primary test at the same show?

3. What are some of the things I need to know about the protocol of the shows? I know dressage shows tend to be very quiet and and stricter than a cow horse show. There are probably things that would scare and/or offend dressage riders and horses that I would normally not even think twice about. And I sure don't want to do that! And I really don't want to look stupid! Lol!

And other helpful tips you can give me about how the show works would be great!
Kayty answered #1 well enough.

This is what USEF Dressage Rules have to say about your second question.

DR119 2. Horses may compete in no more than one Licensed Competition on the same day and are limited to a maximum of three Dressage rides per day at Fourth Level and below or two Dressage rides per day above Fourth Level. Horses competing at both Fourth Level and Prix St. Georges, or their equivalents, are limited to two Dressage rides per day. Horses competing in FEI Para-Equestrian tests are limited to a maximum of three Dressage rides per day including equivalent USEF or USDF tests. Horses may enter no more than two consecutive levels, Freestyle levels included, at any one competition.

Basically at the level most of us are, you get a max of one competition, 3 rides, and two consecutive levels per day.

So I could enter in Training-2, Training-3, and First Level-1 in one day, for example. That limits me to three rides, and no more than two consecutive levels. What I couldn't do is ride a couple of tests at First Level and the third at Third Level on the same day.

As far as how to behave in a dressage show, mostly like all english shows, the arena is a little more subdued. Basically relatively quiet when someone is actually riding (mostly out of respect to the rider) with the applause, whooping, and hollerin done when the test/ride is over. But it doesn't need to be deathly quiet. One of the local schooling shows around here has its arena right next to a heavily used urban bike path and people fly by on bikes are random intervals. The a dresage horse has to cope with normal distractions and still perform. After all, one of the things it is being judged on is submission to the rider's aids.
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post #6 of 13 Old 02-25-2012, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
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post #7 of 13 Old 02-25-2012, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! That was exactly what I was looking for! I'm very excited to try out this new sport but I want to be sure to be respectful of other riders and everyone putting on the show so they will continue to have western dressage at their shows. I love the structure of the warmup pen. I sure wish they would use that system at the cow horse shows!
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post #8 of 13 Old 02-26-2012, 11:44 PM
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If you need a reference to USEF dressage rules, they are here: http://www.usef.org/documents/ruleBook/2012/08-DR.pdf
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post #9 of 13 Old 02-28-2012, 03:57 PM
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"Enter working jog"
Ha ha! Sorry, but it sounds so funny! What's a working jog?

I'm going to bring it up at our next dressage club meeting. Sounds like fun, actually.

But what IS a "working jog"? Little teeny steps okay?
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post #10 of 13 Old 02-28-2012, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Beling View Post
"Enter working jog"
Ha ha! Sorry, but it sounds so funny! What's a working jog?

I'm going to bring it up at our next dressage club meeting. Sounds like fun, actually.

But what IS a "working jog"? Little teeny steps okay?
It's comparable to a slow trot. It's a lot less suspension and it's very slow and usually very comfortable.

Here's what Wikipedia says: Jog trot: seen in western horses, it is a slow, relaxed trot lacking the suspension of a working trot, with shorter strides. It is easy to ride because there is less "bounce." The head of the horse is carried low, and while the hindquarters are engaged and underneath the horse, there is less impulsion than in a dressage-style collected trot.

It's mainly seen in Western but I believe some Hunters jog rather than trot (but I'm not an expert!!! Just what I saw in some of the videos I watched.)

So a working jog... maybe a faster jog? I'm not sure.

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