View Full Version : Big gulp!

Dec. 16, 2010, 12:18 PM
I have made the commitment to show Training next year. I have told my trainer this, so there's no backing out now. In fact, my instruction has escalated quite out of control. I am being made to learn everything and no buts and no excuses. Hooray for me, I do much better with the structure of performance ahead of me.

I am confused over the relationship between USDF and USET - are the tests found on USET the ones used for rated USDF shows?

If I am competing at Training what shows do I attend, USDF rated, USEF rated? Both? Do year end awards etc. come from points from a certain level of rated show only? Rated by USEF or USDF? I have order copetitor handbook from USDF. I need to pay membership dues for USEF and USDF. My horse is a lifetime member of both. I need to transfer horse ownership from his breeder to me, also on his papers, which his breeder will happily do, I am certain. We are in touch regularly.

What should I know? How do I know what shows to attend? Approx how many rated shows a year do I attend in order to qualify for year end awards? If any, I just don't know how dressage compeition works.

What is the competition year, begiining in Jan? Begining in Dec? I dunno that either.

How can I find the rated shows in my area?

I think I can find all the schoolingshows I want.

Any comments, references, suggestions, etc. appreciated.

And no, I haven't started shopping for show clothes. I'll do that nearer to the first show, probably in March I'll do a schooling show.

I have experience in hunter, eq, jr. jumper competition in the 70's, and much music and performance competition and thrive on the practice for perfecting for performance. My horse has a wicked work ethic, and really comes into his own with work and learning. I think we'll be a good team and both really flourish with the structure and competition.

I just need to know how to get it rolling and what to expect and what to do.

How many shows a year, for example, do folks show?


Dec. 16, 2010, 12:26 PM
Well I certainly cannot answer all your questions and my experience almost begins and ends with the High Hopes/Fortunate Farm schooling series, but the USDF site has a list of all the rated shows for 2011.
I have mapped out what I want to show. I think how much you show in one season depends on you and your horse's fitness, and your budget, amoung other things. Especially in New England where you will have to trailer a couple hours.

I am planning on going to the Mystic Valley shows, one UNH show (as I went to college there), the Meriden shows, and the ESDCTA (if I got those abbrevs right!) show at Mount Holyoke. I think that's six shows? I will probably end up only doing three once I'm fully involved in it.

Hope that was of some assistance.

Dec. 16, 2010, 12:59 PM
Congrats on getting out there and showing!

You'll want USEF membership (to get your Amateur card!). Try to find your regional GMO club. They'll offer awards programs and by joining them you'll get USDF GMO membership (which is sufficient unless you want to qualify for national awards). Our regional club is RMDS and within RMDS there are smaller chapters that are more locally oriented. RMDS has awards programs and so do each of the club chapters. You can find your GMO on usdf.org as well.

In my experience USDF rated shows are also USEF rated shows... There are also regionally approved shows (RMDS approved) which are not USEF or USDF approved. To qualify for awards in my region you need 5 rides, 4 judges and 3 shows. Scores are accepted from RMDS or higher rated shows (so no schooling shows).

Sometimes a show will run Fri-Sun and each day will be a different show. Or sometimes Fri will be one show and Sat-Sun will be another show. So, it's possible to get the requirements in just a few weekends. Our region also holds a championship show every fall, and this past year is was held in conjuction with the USDF regional championship.

I think it's good to target to show about once a month- starting out at schooling shows and then moving into USDF/USEF shows. Judging is often much tougher at rated shows so don't be shocked if your scores differ.

If you want to qualify for USDF awards (breed awards generally) the requirements can be found on usdf.org. These awards require you have a PM membership at the time you earn the scores.

The show year starts on Oct 1st here, so any shows after Oct 1 count for the 2011 show season.

Keep in mind things differ significantly from region to region especially in terms of awards. I think the best place to seek this information would be from your USDF GMO (http://www.usdf.org/clubs/list.asp?TypePass=GMO&RegionPass=1). Find what region you're in, click on that at the top and then find a GMO that's close by!

Dec. 16, 2010, 01:22 PM
USET is a non-profit foundation that provides grants for high performance riders. It isn't relevant to you.

USEF is the umbrella organization that governs most equestrian sports in the US. If you want to do rated shows, you need to join. Your horse will need a number from them as well. They regulate amateur/professional status, so thats something you declare on their application. They oversee the dressage tests from training to fourth level.

USDF is the governing body for dressage. You will need a membership, and a number for your horse if you plan to do rated shows. They write the intro tests.

As to what shows and how many- rely on your trainer the first year. Some people need to do lots at first to get over show nerves and get horsie comfortable- others easily settle into 6-12 or so per year. Number of shows will also depend on whether there are overnight shows where you show Thursday-Sunday, or whether they are one day shows. I never recommend more than 2 tests per day- but lots of people do best riding 1 test per day. Since you usually can't ride the same test more than once per day, riding two tests per day means knowing two tess.

In general, there are rated and schooling shows. Schooling shows may be recognized by a local dresage organization (GMO) or be part of a series, or just a one off show. Each GMO has its own rules for what shows count towards its year end awards. Mine gives one set of awards for rated and one for schoolings. Only rated shows count towards USDF points and qualifications for regionals. You can only qualify for USDF regionals at the highest test of each level- so if you show Training level test 1 this year, you won't be eligible to qualify anyway.

For your first year showing, I'd encourage you to start with some schooling shows and not worry about points for year end awards or qualification for regionals. It may happen anyway- but don't focus on it. Get at least 2 schooling shows under your belt and then move on to a rated show.

Good luck!

Dec. 16, 2010, 01:48 PM
If you are thinking about trying to get year end awards, a great place to start when deciding what shows to attend and what memberships to have is to look at the requirements for various awards you are interested in. This info is on the web http://www.usdf.org/awards/

For example, our GMO does its own year end awards, and to qualify we only need 5 rides with 3 judges and 3 shows, and only one score can come from a schooling show (organized by the GMO) and the other scores come from USDF/USEF recognized shows.

By contrast, to qualify for the USDF All Breeds awards, you need 8 scores (4 different judges, 4 different shows) including 2 scores of 60% or higher at the highest test of the level, and a median score of 60% or higher to qualify.

Once you've looked at different awards, decide what is in the budget. In the above examples, assuming you got the needed scores in the minimum number of shows, the GMO award could be done in 1 schooling show and 2 recognized shows, but the All Breeds award would require 4 recognized shows. Depending on how many shows are near you, decide on your showing budget (including travel, hotels, etc - not just entry fees) and see what is realistic.

Once you have some ideas, have a chat with your trainer about your goals and make sure she thinks they are realistic for you and your horse (you can get an All Breeds award with a lower score on a less popular dressage breed than you can on a Dutch Warmblood for example, look at past year results for your horse's breed and get an idea what to expect).

Once you've chosen awards, then you will know what memberships you need. If you are doing any recognized shows, you should get the USEF membership, but depending on the awards you want, you may be ok with a USDF GMO membership or you might need the USDF participating membership. If you want a GMO year end award, you obviously need to join that GMO, and for All Breed Awards, your horse needs some sort of breed membership, etc.

For finding shows, once you get your memberships (I think it's with the USDF membership, but I have that and USEF so I'm not 100% sure who sent it) you get an omnibus with all the recognized shows in your region for the year. But this is another ask your trainer, she will probably want to pick shows that will work for her own competition goals as well as for other rides in your barn, and she may already have certain shows that she knows are good from past years, or others she tries to avoid. My GMO website has a calendar of schooling shows, but it won't be up for a couple months still, your GMO might as well?

For show clothes, to save money, start shopping now... unless you plan on gaining or losing major weight by spring! Shop sales or consignment items (show stuff is frequently sold around here very very lightly used for like half price) instead of waiting until the weekend before and paying full price for brand new everything and *hoping* the tack shop has your size in stock. You'll also want a chance or break in your tall boots before the first show.

Good luck, and have fun!!

Dec. 16, 2010, 02:56 PM
In addition to everything else, if you haven't ever been to a dressage show, I'd suggest going to one w/out horse just to hang out for a while and see how things work: warm up area, process for making sure you get to the ring (usually they have "ring police"). Ring protocol. Dress code - most schooling shows require only that you are neat. polo shirt, britchest and boots. Braiding not necessary. Recognized shows, light (white) britches, jacket, white gloves, braided etc. MEMORIZE YOUR TESTS even if you have a reader. Sometimes voice doesn't carry, or you tune out, etc.
At training level, I would be sure to ride two tests/day. Might as well get the mileage!
It will be fun..........

Dec. 16, 2010, 03:47 PM
This is great info, thanks all for responding! Once I made the thread, I perused and scrutinized USDF and USEF (not T!) and glad to say what I gleaned is some of what you folks said.

Gimme, I'm planning to do Mystic Valley, too, so maybe I'll see you there - we'll have to give each other a clue as to how to recogize the other in the ring! I don't know about the Meriden shows - is that Vickie O'Niel? My trainer trains with her sometimes. She also does the Westbrook shows and Fox Ledge (Ann Guptil) for a schooling show. I'll have to look up ESDCTA - combined training is "eventing" isn't it? Do Eventing dressage classes count for USDF/USEF? I think there is a connecticut CTCTA, isnt' there?

NEDA is the regional organization, new england dressage, and membership there gives you a GMO membership with USDF - Depending on how I think I will do, I realize I will need the Participating membership at USDF for other awards. Here's me assuming I'll do that well. I may not get to showing tests 3&4, but I want to plan to at the end of the year, so might as well join em all. My horse is a registered oldenburg. Dunno if there will be anything for him if I accumulate higher points for him. I'll look it all up.

Countrygal - that's a great overview. I didn't realize the GMO was how you participated in USDF, so that makes sense.

Joiede - my horse has a lifetime number with USDF and USEF and I can get the ownership changed to me. That's a good synopsis of the series, levels, qualiying, etc. I need to find some more schooling shows. I think my trainer will know of some, and NEDA will be a resource once I get the omnibus.

Ggesture, I thought I would look at the awards qualifications to decide on memberships and what shows, but thought I was being a little ahead of myself. However, I'd rather have my ducks in a row for doing well, and then find I need another year before being so ambitious, than wish I had sorted myself out and been organized with planning, if I find I actually do well.

My trainer is going to be opinionated about what I should and shouldn't do - I want to be educated to argue for myself and what I want. She's good and kind, but I don't want to relyon her only for info.

Ugh! Shopping now! I do think I will be a size or two smaller. I'll be looking around, and I can buy my boots first. I forgot about those.

2Tempe - I've groomed for my trainer the past two years - called out tests for her in the early spring schooling shows, so I have been exposed to the routine and have pretty realistic expectations. I am already planning warm up - its key for my horse, he is a different horse warmed up, and needs a good 40 minutes. I like to plan backwards - class at 8:30 - warm up has to start at 7:30 - arrive at show 6:30 - leave barn 4:30 - arrive barn 3:00 to feed and braid and load (horse leaps onto trailer) leave for barn 2:30 - wake up step daughter to groom for me 1:30 - it takes her an hour to get into the car from waking up - Wake up 1:30. That sort of thing. I love that stuff.

Thanks for the list of clothes and dress code. I will have memorized my tests - I will be practicing them at home long before I go into the ring.

Yay! It WILL be fun! Its fun already!

Dec. 16, 2010, 04:45 PM
Sounds like you've got a pretty good understanding! Go out and have fun :). Plan on doing awards through your GMO, but perhaps get that USDF PM membership just in case you're in the running for a USDF award.

Margaret Freeman
Dec. 16, 2010, 04:50 PM
A GMO closer to home for you is the Connecticut Dressage Association.

Dec. 16, 2010, 06:32 PM
Good luck, and good for you on deciding to get out there!

I'm excited to hear how it goes after your initial excitement when you first got your horse. :)

Dec. 16, 2010, 07:04 PM
I haven't really read through all the results, but I see you are from CT. You should absolutely join NEDA (New England Dressage Association.
With your membership you will receive an omnibus which will have all the rated shows in your region (region 8) and it will also give you a group membership for USDF
Finally NEDA's website has its own forum which is very informative and friendly