All you need to participate at our schooling show series is a mount and a way to get to the show! We welcome all riders interested in the fun and challenging exercise of riding in front of a judge and an audience. For our series, you do not need a membership, anyone is welcome!
How to sign up for our dressage schooling shows?
The prize list contains all the information needed to enter the show: when you can start to send your entry ("opening date") and when is the deadline to do it ("closing date"). You can still enter after the closing date, but you will get charged a late entry fee, because it is harder to organize a show if people sign up too late. The prize list also says where to send the entry form, accompanied with a proof of negative coggins, a release form, and often, a proof of vaccination. You also need to mail a check, or pay electronically, before the closing date. The names of the classes are listed on the prize list, as well as their cost - to which you have to add the office fee.
How to prepare for the show?
Make sure you know your pattern by heart - even if you have a reader. It is better to be able to focus on your riding, and not on the test too much. The test itself is the easy part - the most important is to show a horse that is relaxed, balanced and supple performing the exercises of the pattern. Prepare the movements of the tests, and make sure to not always do them as they are in the test - if you keep repeating the same pattern, your horse might anticipate what is coming up next rather than wait for your cues. Make sure you know at what letters, or between what letters you need to do the transitions or movements. Make sure you know where you are touching the rail, the centerline or the quarterlines for your circles - those are all elements of precision that you will be judged on. Precision allows you to have a horse that is on the aids, and that you can balance and influence more efficiently. Visualize yourself driving to the show, arriving at the show, tacking-up next to your trailer. Know what you plan to do in your warm-up and how long it takes you to be ready and in top shape for your test. Have different plans in case your horse is too hot, too distracted or behind your legs.
Before the show, you also have to make yourself familiar with the rulebook - our shows follow most of the USEF rules for dressage.
You can find more info about the equipment (yes, you can use a jumping saddle!), the clothing (at schooling shows, we only require neat attire, but you still have to wear an approved helmet at all times when riding), and the rules to execute the test - see the link here. Contact the show organizer with any questions you might have about the venue or the rules/equipment. Those answers might all be on the prize list, so make sure to read that thoroughly first - information about the footing, the warm-up area, the parking situation. It is good to not have too many surprises the day of the show, so don't hesitate to reach out before - the secretary is happy to help.
Arriving at the show
Plan to arrive at least an hour and a half before your test. Find where to park - look out for volunteers guiding you - the parking directions are also often written on the prizelist. Find the office to go pick up your number and ask if there are any schedule changes. Locate the warm-up ring and the competition ring.
Warming up Check-in with the ring steward to let him know you are starting to warm up. He or she will let you know anything you need to know - changes or where to enter the competition ring, if there is an on-deck area, etc... One of the biggest difference for a lot of the riders is being able to ride in a busy warm-up ring.
We try to have the rides spaced out so that our warm-ups are not too busy, but it can still be challenging, when everyone has their show nerves, to navigate between 3 others horses cantering in the ring. So be ready for that and be ready to be riding safely. Know the etiquette of sharing the ring - always pass with the other rider on your left side, always call out your trajectory if you are close to someone, be mindful of young and hot horses, and always keep a 6 ft distance between the other horses and your horse.
Doing your test
Take a deep breath and go show off your hard work! Enjoy yourself, because if you are, your horse will be more relaxed and the judge will appreciate the harmony. Be precise with your geometry - it will help you focus on the right things. And keep breathing during your test too!
After your test
Take good care of your equine partner and yourself, no matter how you feel about your test. The most important thing is that you tried your best. Go get your scores in the office once the class is finished. There is usually a schedule that you can read by the office or by the rings, if you don't have it with you. The test sheet is not only a score to keep track of, but contains lots of valuable comments from the judge. This is what will help you improve the work, so read all of it cautiously and keep it in a folder at home with your other test sheets. Judges all want you to improve and give you a feedback on what to focus on to keep improving and to go up the levels. Those score sheets are valuable training tools throughout the years. You also want to keep your tests in a safe place if you want to apply to any type of year-end awards, or to prove you qualified for a championship - to report or correct a score with your organization.
When it is time to go home
Make sure to clean up behind you (horse manure, litter) and that you are not forgetting anything. Drive home safely and make sure you take good care of your horse at home after this eventful day!
The Championships Participating to our show series gives you a chance to qualify for the annual Hudson Valley Dressage Championships.
In 2022, it takes place on Saturday October 1st at Willsway Equestrian Center in Goshen, NY. To qualify, you need to earn two scores of 60% or higher, from two different venues. Our Championships are meant as a way for any riders to experience the exciting format of a Championship show - the top 6 riders of the class get to perform a lap of honor and win special prizes and ribbons. So keep track of your scores!
The USDF Regional Schooling Show Awards program
Participating at eligible shows like ours, allows you to also be part of the regional ranking for schooling shows. It is easy : you need to be a member of a USDF GMO at the time of the show and to declare your intention to be part of the program, anytime before the end of the year, along with paying a $35 nomination fee. More info here https://www.usdf.org/awards/performance/regional-schooling.asp
FIX A TEST CLINICS
“DRESSAGE AND THE HUNTER/JUMPER RIDER”
BY EDEE WEIGEL
The Classical Training Scale is the Dressage trainer’s guideline for developing a horse and rider. Classical training is done using a proven method developed over hundreds of years of military horsemanship.
Knowing how to plan your schooling is a tremendous help and a wonderful guideline as you train a horse for hunter/ jumper shows. The elements of the dressage training scale can be applied to a jumping horse with a few modifications, as we ride in a forward seat and need a more relaxed, stretched out frame.
The first Classical Training Scale guidelines are: Rhythm, Relaxation, and Contact. Whenever we have a problem with our riding or training program— it is usually because one of these foundation elements is weak– or missing completely! The best way to make steady progress with your horse is to review these training ideals, and apply them with each ride. I use rhythm every moment I ride and in every aspect of my training.
A Hunter needs to be in Rhythm and Relaxed to show the form necessary to place well in Hunter competitions. Rhythm is how we make the strides smoother between the jumps in a show. Contact for a jumping horse can mean we take a flexible feel of our horses mouth and by keeping the horse balanced in front of our leg, create positive energy and balanced beauty.
Riding a Dressage Training level test is a great warm up before jumping and can tell you where the weak spots are in your flatwork. I recommend that you invest some time to learn about USDF ‘ training level ‘ tests and apply their guidelines to your forward seat training — the results will amaze you!
The rest of the Dressage Training Scale is: Impulsion, Straightness, and Collection. These ideals can also be applied to our hunter/jumper training. Straightness is very important! A straight line in the horses body results in a straight line to the jumps and around the corners of the arena. There is a lot to schooling for “straightness’’ in a horse, and this type of “straightness’’ also means the correct bend around the corners of the hunter and jumper arena! True straightness in a jumping horse means the horses body is not falling in or out of the track to the jumps which is the foundation for balanced jumping!
Impulsion in a jumping horse can mean he has energy and pushing power from straightness in his body and well developed carrying power in the haunches. This attribute is more useful in a Showjumper who must jump higher fences. Too much Impulsion will destroy the calm look of a Hunter, yet it is useful for a rider to know how to ‘create impulsion,’ as this skill will also help the Hunter rider learn to dissipate it!
Collection to a jumping horse can mean his stride has become smoothly adjustable, making it easier to balance him to the fences and adjust his stride for a long or short take off spot at the jumps. Once again — too much collection in a Hunter can destroy the “flowing forward soft look” of a long relaxed stride and that is the style of a winning hunter! But to learn how to train a balanced horse will help with every aspect of jumping — in a hunter class or jumpers! Have fun with these training ideals and learn to apply them systematically to each ride! See you at the shows!
Our Shows will begin May 1st At Free Walk Dressage