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I remember in the past people have asked about how many tests they might reasonably ask their horse to do in one show. I feel like the answer was three or four was OK, but any more than that was probably too much.

This made sense to me at the time, but now I'm kind of wondering about it. Because, whether it's a dressage test or jumping a course, it's not going to be more than five minutes long, right? So if someone did, say, five tests in a show, that's 25 minutes of actual riding, plus maybe 15-30 minutes warmup time? Which is comparable to an average lesson, at least for rme.

So my question is, why is five or more tests in a show too much to do? Or IS it really?
 

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I don’t know about dressage tests or anything of that sort, but I have super horsed before. So, with Sassy, I competed in an English class, jumped, western pleasure, horsemanship, reining, barrels, poles, and keyhole all in a day. It made for long days, but she seemed fine until she was diagnosed with nevicular.

A couple other horses I all-arounded, adding a couple more classes (nothing particularly fun), and they held up fine. I will say it made for stressful and long days for them and for myself.
 

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I think for dressage it also depends on the level. If you are doing high level with lots of collection, one tempi changes, pirouettes and all of those bells and whistles I’d say one test is plenty. But if you are just doing intro tests without collection have at it. I’ve been doing those intro tests at home and those are just like “regular” ridding. I could do five without breaking a sweat (me or her). I don’t because both of us would find it boring but I don’t think it would be physically challenging for a decently fit horse and rider.

What might prove to be a problem is focus for both horse and rider. I find that trying to remember the test wears my brain out and I lose focus a bit after a few times. Then again I’m no Charlotte - I guess at upper levels it isn’t an issue.
 

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Please add in weather conditions for horse and rider....
Yes, warm-ups for each class, sitting "on-deck" waiting for your class or number to be called to enter and go.
Dressage think is given a time to compete...but they also warm-up and its no 5 minutes ridden either.

Have you read some of the comments made on other threads by people who showed....
Granted some are extreme warm-ups done, ...but you do need to warm up the muscles and sync your minds and abilities in unfamiliar locations and that can take time...
So your thinking of 15 -25 minutes of riding time is off...depending upon your horse/pony it could be very, very off.
🐴... jmo...
 
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I agree to an extent @horselovinguy, but when I have a big day like that I really only warm up prior to the first one. If there is a big span between two classes I will lope a couple circles to loosen them up again, but I don’t continually warm up all day.
 

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It really depends on many things, how your horse is at shows, excited or calm, easy going. An excitable horse will need a lot more time to get ready for classes which is a lot more riding involved before each class.
Our dressage tests usually have a limit of four classes.
One of my horses I entered in 9 classes but he was well trained and did not take a lot of warm up as he knew his job. He was also very fit.
A horse doing several walk trot classed or lead line could do more classes than a horse doing high energy classes like jumping or high level dressage.
 

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My daughter almost always did 6. She would start with flat classes that always included equitation, road hack, English pleasure, and sometimes command. Then she would do one or two hunter classes. If it was really hot, and/or Harley would show signs of tiring, she would scratch the last class. But Harley was a pro, and as an Arab, had stamina like very few horses do. And our shows are always split so that flat classes are in the morning, and jumping in the afternoon so he would get a long break and I would always pay for a stall for the day so he could rest in a quiet, shady spot. I think it depends on the horse.

I think where we advised people to do 3 or 4 is when they are going to their first show with a horse that is inexperienced. My daughter did the same at first - she would go to a schooling show and enter 2 or 3 classes. Only when they got a lot more experienced did they do more. We got better at it, had a routine and knew that Harley could handle it. He is a perfect gentleman off-property no matter what happens (this helped them win many a class when conditions weren't great).

Dressage is different because you can only enter a couple of levels. They did combined tests which is basically eventing without the cross-country portion. So they would do a couple of jump courses, then a couple of dressage tests later. Points were added up to determine winners.
 

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I am going to a Dressage show in a couple of weeks. Haven't been to many shows with this horse because of Covid so I will only enter in two classes. This way we will not have as much pressure on us as he may take extra riding time before the classes if he is excited or gets worked up over all the horses etc.
If all is going well later we will probably do four.
Make the first show of the year a little easier and not so tiring for me and the horse.
 

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I've shown dressage as well as hunters and AQHA (hunter rail and eq classes). There's a big difference between riding a dressage test and riding some flat classes at an open or breed show. The ride time may be the same (in the lower levels of dressage, the higher the level the longer and more intricate the test), but it takes longer to properly warm-up the horse for a dressage test than for a rail class.

Also, dressage tests cost a lot more than classes at a regular horse show. Even at the small local schooling shows held at the barn where I board, it's $30 a test. Showing at a USDF recognized show is outrageously expensive.

And third, there's no way in the world I could remember more than 2 tests (and even that can be too much for my middle-aged brain lately, it seems). You can have a test reader, but you still need to know the tests very well and have practiced them and the movements in them in order to be ready for the show.

Now, if you're just talking about regular rail classes at an open horse show, I don't see why you couldn't do five or more classes. It's not as taxing on the horse or rider to just w/t/c around the rail a few times in each direction as it is to put together a dressage test.
 
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