Originally Posted by TimeChaser
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.