Choosing the Right Type of Dressage Competition
 By EquestrianLady   •   21st Dec 2009   •   4,146 views   •   1 comments
Choosing the Right Type of Dressage CompetitionThere are two basic types of dressage competition: schooling and licensed.

Licensed shows are run by the United States Dressage Federation (USEF) and are very formal affairs, with classes from Training through Fourth Level, plus the very highest ones of Prix St. Georges through Grand Prix. You need to be a member of the USEF or United States Dressage Federation (USDF) to enter these shows.

Schooling shows are run on a local level, not by the USEF. Any barn can run a schooling show, but they are usually conducted under USEF rules to ensure good horsemanship. Because they cater to riders who are beginning their dressage careers, these shows are much less formal and intimidating than licensed ones. They include the Introductory Level test devised by the USDF, which has walk-trot movements only. Most riders enter this and Training Level, with a few competing at First and Second Level.

Where to find competitions

Here are two easy ways of learning where your nearest dressage shows are.

Your local feed merchant or tack shop will have free literature about competitions in your area. Many of these will be run by local riding centers and not require membership of a riding club to enter.

Alternatively you can check on to find the region your state falls into. Within that region youíll find a list of local riding clubs or ĎGMOsí (Group Member Organizations). Check the website of the club nearest you for a calendar of events and details of levels being offered. Youíll need to be a member of the club to enter these competitions. Joining is not that expensive and Iíll be talking about membership in my next article.

How to choose right type of competition

If youíre new to dressage shows, you wonít want to start with a licensed show.
Their warm-up (practice) arenas are often full to bursting with horses of all levels trying not to bump into each other! This is very overwhelming for competitors and horses used to working with only a few others around and lots of space. Licensed shows are also very expensive to enter.

Even some professional riders take inexperienced horses to schooling shows first, to get used to the competition atmosphere. A schooling show is a low key affair aimed at creating a friendly environment for dressage enthusiasts. They cost very little to enter and you ride in front of judges who give you realistic scores but useful advice as well.

An additional benefit of competing at a schooling show instead of a licensed one is that you're not expected to wear very formal riding clothes.

Next Iíll be talking about the pros and cons of joining a dressage association.
Horse News More In This Category:  Dressage      Horse News More From This Author:  EquestrianLady
I soooo want to try Dressage and have for a while, but now I want to even more. Thank you!
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