What do I do?
 
 

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What do I do?

This is a discussion on What do I do? within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
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  • 1 Post By Delfina
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    06-26-2012, 12:34 AM
  #1
Foal
What do I do?

The barn where I board is holding a dressage schooling show at the end of July that I'm thinking about getting involved in, but I honestly don't know the first thing about dressage, how the classes work, what the 'levels' are. I compete in jumpers classes, and have never looked into dressage.

My horse is 9 months off the track, which is how long I've had him. He's a 7 year old gelded thoroughbred. He has gorgeous movement, very well balanced, amazing mind, fast learner.

If we did get involved it would likely be at the lowest class possible, but I don't even know if that is possible.

Where should I look to find information on this? Can you provide any? If you'd like to have extra information on anything, just ask.
     
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    06-26-2012, 12:49 AM
  #2
Super Moderator
Well, there must be someone who is the contact person, who is taking applications for tests.
Dressage shows dont' have "classes" . All tests are done one horse at a time, so never in a group. You have a time that is assigned to you. You have a number , of course. You need to be warmed up and ready to go in when that time comes. Sometimes the show will be running a bit late or early, sometimes they have scratches and you may be offered the choice to go in earlier than your time, but you can decline until your stated time. You are never forced in early. Sometimes, they do run late.

There's a gate keeper who has the schedule and she will tell who is "on deck " and "in the hole" , the baseball terms are what we use. On deck mean next, and in the hole means next after that. She will tell you when you can go into the ring.
You can then go around the dressage arena, but not enter the marked off area. You will move your horse around , let it see the judge's booth and the spectators and wait for the judge's bell. When you hear that, I beleive you have 45 seconds to make your entry and begin your test.

Tests are at various levels, and you must sign up ahead of time for you level. You can either memorize the sequence of moves, or you can have a 'caller" who will read the test to you in the correct order and at the correct moment. You cannot have any coaching and you should not speak to your horse.
You are judged on your HORSE, not you. So, being on the wrong diagonal is not marked down. But, if your horse is pulling hard against the bit, that will count against you.

So, if you did not watn to ride yet, you could be gatekeeper, maybe?
     
    06-26-2012, 01:02 AM
  #3
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
well, there must be someone who is the contact person, who is taking applications for tests.
Dressage shows dont' have "classes" . All tests are done one horse at a time, so never in a group. You have a time that is assigned to you. You have a number , of course. You need to be warmed up and ready to go in when that time comes. Sometimes the show will be running a bit late or early, sometimes they have scratches and you may be offered the choice to go in earlier than your time, but you can decline until your stated time. You are never forced in early. Sometimes, they do run late.

There's a gate keeper who has the schedule and she will tell who is "on deck " and "in the hole" , the baseball terms are what we use. On deck mean next, and in the hole means next after that. She will tell you when you can go into the ring.
You can then go around the dressage arena, but not enter the marked off area. You will move your horse around , let it see the judge's booth and the spectators and wait for the judge's bell. When you hear that, I beleive you have 45 seconds to make your entry and begin your test.

Tests are at various levels, and you must sign up ahead of time for you level. You can either memorize the sequence of moves, or you can have a 'caller" who will read the test to you in the correct order and at the correct moment. You cannot have any coaching and you should not speak to your horse.
You are judged on your HORSE, not you. So, being on the wrong diagonal is not marked down. But, if your horse is pulling hard against the bit, that will count against you.

So, if you did not watn to ride yet, you could be gatekeeper, maybe?
Thank you for replying, that was actually a great help.
     
    06-26-2012, 01:05 AM
  #4
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
you are judged on your HORSE, not you. So, being on the wrong diagonal is not marked down. But, if your horse is pulling hard against the bit, that will count against you.
Can you please reference what rules that can be found in? I am pretty dang sure that being on the wrong diagonal or other examples of poor riding will result in being marked down.
goingnowhere1 likes this.
     
    06-26-2012, 07:37 AM
  #5
Showing
JJ, I'd take a bunch of lessons with dressage instructor before getting into dressage show (even on lowest level). This way you'll prepare yourself and the horse and will know what to work on and what to expect.

As for the shows you can just look at what the judge is looking for, like here: http://nj4h.rutgers.edu/horses/horse...introtestc.pdf

Tiny, there are "Collective Marks" on test sheet like 'Riderís position (keeping in balance with horse)' and 'Riderís effectiveness of aids', so I'd expect you to be marked down if you don't ride as expected (although I can be wrong, because I never run into it myself :) ).
Skyseternalangel likes this.
     
    06-26-2012, 08:38 AM
  #6
Trained
The argument for using the correct diagonal is archaic at best. You don't take weight off the inside leg by rising - the weight is always there, it doesn't go anywhere if your butt is not touching leather.
     
    06-26-2012, 09:29 AM
  #7
Trained
Actually, there are classes. On your entry form you will have to decide which ones you are going to ride. Some shows organize classes strictly by level and test (ie Training Level Test 1 (Jr/AA/Open combined), Training Level Test 2 (Jr/AA/Open combined)), where as others divide classes by division. Still others offer "TOC" or "Test of Choice" classes, sometimes for each level and sometimes for any USDF test. At the shows I organize I offer classes for each division (Jr/AA/Open) and offer a mixture of fixed test and TOC classes. If you need help figuring out what to enter, I can help you with the form. Generally, at first level and below, you can get away with 2 classes per day and above that, stick to one.

Depending on the show, there will be ride times, or there could be an order of go, refer to the prizelist, or ask the show organizer about this. If it is by ride times, tiny is correct, however if it is by order of go you will have to see how long each rider is taking and do the math yourself. As a guideline, each test should take 5-7 minutes.

There is usually not a gatekeeper/whipper in at small shows. In fact at some of the bigger ones there isn't one either!! You are responsible for knowing who you ride after and being there when the bell rings. If you are late and the bell rings, you have 45 seconds to get down centerline.

For the once around, depending on the set up of the arena you may be allowed inside the ring if there is no room to go around on the outside of the ring.

For test callers, I highly recommend that everyone memorize their tests and have a caller only as a back up. Memorize and practice your test before the show. There are far more really bad callers than decent ones.

As far as for judging, I have had quite a few PMs on this, yes the horse is generally what is judged. A judge giving rider comments, docking down for diagonals, etc.. is generally an untrained one. If the horse is lacking balance and you get an "unbalanced" comment on the test, we can all infer that it was rider error. At the higher levels, rider errors are docked down more blatantly (ie, counting errors in tempis), but it is, in general the performance of the horse that is scored. However, we all know that the horse's performance is very, very highly affected by the rider. The only thing not related to performance that is judged that may be considered rider error is accuracy, so ride to your letters!!
(And actually, purposely posting on the wrong diagonal can be a great strengthening exercise)

As far as for other things to know. I don't know where you are from, but generally attire rules expect the horse to be braided and well groomed and for you to be turned out in light breeches and a show jacket with your hair neatly tucked in your helmet, or a bun.
As far as the lowest levels, there is intro, which is walk and trot and training level which is walk/trot/canter. There are no restrictions in these classes due to age, experience, etc.. so feel free to enter them!

For more information, check out the USDF website (if you are in the US) and feel free to email the show organizer! As a show organizer myself, I way prefer emails weeks in advance with questions over incomplete entry forms and tons of questions on the already busy day of the show. You can also PM me if you have anymore questions.

Good luck!
     
    06-26-2012, 10:20 AM
  #8
Weanling
You have gotten some really great advice here so I would just like to add some encouragement. The low level tests are fairly simple (walk/trot) and really fun - go for it! Schooling shows are mellow and low-key, a great way to start. My daughter is showing at a lower level right now and we are having so much fun.

If you haven't already done so I would suggest that you look at the lowest level test (Intro A or B here in the U.S.) to see what you think. You will see a statement for the purpose of the test, like "to show proper geometry of figures with correct bend" or something like that. As you move up each level will build on the one below it so it is really logical and there is always something to work towards. Plus the judge will comment/score each movement so you know where your strengths and weaknesses are.

You could also youtube some intro level tests and see what they look like or go to a show and watch if you are still unsure. Or better yet just do the show and have fun!

Good luck!
     
    06-26-2012, 02:31 PM
  #9
Weanling
How exciting! Yes, you should definitely take a look at some of the intro tests and training level tests and try to practice them to get a feel for where you might fall. I bet you will find that you, in fact, DO know more about dressage than you think. ;)

I've also been taught the same as Tiny and Anebel - the horse is the one who is judged.
     
    06-28-2012, 07:58 PM
  #10
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delfina    
Can you please reference what rules that can be found in? I am pretty dang sure that being on the wrong diagonal or other examples of poor riding will result in being marked down.
There is no wrong diagonal in dressage. I actually post on the off diagonal when tracking right to keep my horse from overbending. Works great. We use it down the long side and then I switch for circles.

To the OP, if your horse can W/T/C nice big balanced circles, there is no reason to not try a beginner level test. Since the show is at your barn, are their other riders who can help you learn the test?
     

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