Much easier to post on a computer;)
I rode on the Freedom Riders Equestrian Drill Team for 5-6 years. We went to countless rodeos and parades, along with many drill competitions held all over Oklahoma. We also preformed at the AQHA World Show and the NRHA Futurity here in OKC two years in a row. I loved every minute of it!
I disagree with needing everyone to board at the same barn. We had over thirty five riders at one point, separated into three teams (junior varsity, varsity and flag), all from different towns and counties. We had a set day a week that stayed the same all throughout the year, and a set arena with back up arenas available (indoor arenas during rain/cold weather). It worked out great and the riders and parents were extremely committed. Getting started:
Do you have any horsie friends or apart of an association? Even trail riding groups are a great place to start to find riders. All you need is four to get a drill going! You need to have a meeting with your people to get all logistics figured out: dates, rules, color, NAME, events, fundraising (it's not cheap!), etc. Try to stick to one specific day each week at a local arena. Contact a local round up club, ask for permission to use the arena on set nights, maybe trade for keeping the grounds (mowing and picking up trash). I'm not sure if MO has a drill association, so you might contact the United States Equestrian Drill Association, or even the Oklahoma Equestrian Drill Association for more information:) Events:
Find a rodeo company or stock contractor that has a series of rodeos running near you. Contact them about possibly performing at their rodeo (just FYI, avoid PRCA rodeos, you have to be a member and it is veryyyy expensive). Local open shows and playdays are a good place to get experience under your belt! Also, if your horse(s) have never been around the rodeo scene, NOW is the time to start!! Haul to a few rodeos just to get your horse used to all the scenes, sounds, freaky new horses running like crazy..lol. There is nothing WORSE or more DANGEROUS than throwing an inexperienced horse into a fast moving drill at a rodeo. Scary scary. Things to keep in mind:
Guide right, except with the person on the left is the one on the rail or swinging the group around.
To fix spacing, DO NOT speed up/down. Move in/out of the circle to fix your spacing. Unless your horse is just obviously moving way faster/slower than the other horses of course:P Always leave the end 30 feet of the arena open at both sides so you have adjustment room, AKA "wells", to fix spacing.
Slow and crisp looks much better than fast and out of control.
Always leave trash talk at home. Around here, teams are judged by sportsmanship. You may win and get the blue ribbon, but if you have a nasty attitude about other teams, you won't get far.
Never ride your horse through the gate unless you are finishing a run. Don't ride back to the trailer to get a drink, dismount your horse and WALK. It won't take long before your horse realizes how to leave and get out of work;)
ALWAYS have whistles. One whistle signals next move, two whistles is stop (your horse will learn this fast, works alot better than whoa, lol!), three whistles is emergency stop. Always have an adult or someone in the crowd with an emergency whistle in case your whistle blower doesn't see someone come off.
Don't choose a dark tack color...purples, hunter greens, blacks etc don't show up well in arena lights.
There are two main styles of competitive drills (unless you are getting more into the whole mounted posse and such, then that's different.)
" style as we call it. Fast pace, lots of galloping and sharp turns. Always a crowd pleaser! Normally not a lot of super intricate moves (not to say they don't have then) as the speed itself is difficult enough. Here is an example by one of my favorite drill teams, the Canadian Valley Rangerettes.
Then there is what my coach calls "West Coast
" drills. These are extremely intricate drills, based more on crispness and level of difficulty. It is so hard to come across really good examples of these drills, and when you do HOLY COW are they good!:) They show a lot of control and horsemanship. This is probably the best executed drill I have EVER seen.
Here is our team performing for the first time at the AQHA. Please ignore any imperfections, such as me on the white flag horse (last pair of flag horses to enter) that doesn't stop...lol. Just go in, have fun, enjoy the ride!:)
I hope I didn't over flood you with information:) If you need any help, the coach of the Freedom Riders is also a USEDA judge (Heather Comerate), she does drill clinics all over the country, and she also runs the DRILL FEVER! Showcasing the Sport of Equestrian Drill Team
webpage. I'll be willing to help you, and she can also answer any questions you might have:)