I ride a looot of dressage with my horses... but I do other things with them (hunter, western pleasure, etc.). I would like to take my one horse to a dressage show, but I don't know the first thing about showing in it!!! Any tips? I'm looking for a good book to buy that will explain how showing works and what I'm expected to do, and all that... so if anyone knows of any good ones, let me know. <3
I suggest looking up on the USDF's website about requirements for that level.
Most dressage shows will have 1-3 rings for riders to enter, you basically enter working trot, halt at X, salute, then proceed with your test. Every rider who is attempting the same level as you will perform the same movements in the same order.
As far as attire for you: white (or very lite beige) breeches, white shirt, and I believe a black (don't know about navy) jacket. Some shows in the summer will let you show without your coat. Also will need a black velvet hat or helmet. You'll also need dress boots (not sure if you can use field boots in dressage...hmmm)
As for the horse: dressage saddle and pad, bridle with a USDF accepted bit (most thick o-ring snaffles are ok, check the website).
The horse should be braided with 11-16 larger braids going down the neck; the tail picked/brushed and clean, docked about 4 inches above the fetlock.
Be prepared, though, it is my experience that dressage shows are some of the most expensive ones (even locally). A 2 day show at a saddlebred show (show in 6 classes) is around $250. The same dressage show (only with 2 classes) is around $500 (at least in our area :)
Dressage shows are a lot less than that. You are competing in a breed specific recognized show so you would pay thru the nose. If all you want to do is try out a dressage show you will be paying a 10th of that.
Is there a dressage association in your area? They might be the best way to get more information about the shows in your area and a schedule as well. You could always go as a spectator to get a feel of the day before you bring your horses to compete. I'm sure different places have different ways of doing things! The schooling shows here are fairly relaxed. But you do have to send in your entry form (and copy of coggins) 4 or 5 days in advance. Then they send you a "ride time", which tells you exactly when you will be riding your tests! I LOVE that! Since in the hunters and jumpers you basically go whenever everything in front of you is finished. There is a book called "whinny widgets" that has all of the current tests, but it's really expensive (like $45?) and you can find all of the current tests online for free. If you're entering in several classes and you're worried about memorizing your tests you can have a "caller" who reads you the next step as you're riding. I find it a little distracting but nice as a back up in case I go off course (Which yes, I have done :). Yep, even with a caller!) Our schooling shows are SOOOOO cheap! Seriously like, $30 for a couple of classes. Even the rated shows are MUCh cheaper then hunter shows. Maybe just a couple hundred? (as opposed to a thousand...) I'd also read up on the USDF website rule book. It explains a lot of what you can and can't do/wear, etc. GOOD LUCK! And HAVE FUN!
Aw, thanks guys!! I'm really excited, lol! My TB gelding was a freebie and a 'crap horse' and I started training him dressage, and he is coming along so well! (I put him in the critique section if anyone's curious, lol) I'd really like to get him into one... but I don't want to go into my first dressage show doing EVERYTHING wrong!
Thanks for the tips/help!
I've only been to "schooling" dressage shows...but basically...
Most dressage shows have pre-entry only...which means you usually have to send in your entry a few weeks in advance along with a copy of Coggins and any other health certificates needed.
On the day of the show...you'll need to find the show secretary and he/she will give you your number and schedule, etc.
They give you a printed out schedule with the time that you will ride on it...but be careful because if there are drop-outs or lunch breaks change sometimes they can rush you. (Which technically you can petition them not to rush you...but I've heard judges aren't to pleased when that happens.)
You get to ride around the outside of the dressage ring and this little bell will go off...which means get in there and start your ride.
You can use a caller...for the pattern...but half the time it is useless to do so in outdoor rings because you can't hear them anyway.
Then they will post your scores later in the day and the judge should give you your critique card.
At the one I went to we had to wear a black or white dressage pad. And I could wear a nicely fit polo. This pic is from the last show I went to.