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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 19, 2008
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    Default SHOW UPDATE SOS Questions from nervous first time dressage show rider ?

    So, apparently DH and my trainer been talking behind my back and announced that I will be riding my my first dressage show in May :O What an evil plot! I was thinking like maybe fall, or even next year?
    Well, I gave up because DH promised to finance the whole new outfit, and besided having first show nightmares, trying to lose 20lbs to fit into new and white (horrors!!) breeches and trying to memorize the test (training level, test 1 of course ) I came up with some questions, which my mostly jumping trainer cannot answer
    1. Do I need to switch the whip during test or it does not matter. Its very rarely used but Pooksey prefers to know its there to keep himself in order. On the other hand I would hate to lose whatever tiny amount of collection we will manage to achieve when switching hands So, do I keep in in one hand (usually left,) switch it, or forget about whip all together?
    2. I know there is not such thing as perfect diagonal in dressage, but having hunter background and VERY loud trainer I ride rising trot on "correct" diagonal. I usually manage to pick the correct one, but in case I don't, should I switch ASAP or keep focus on other things? Another thing about trot is I sit a couple of first strides of walk-trot transitions (Pooksey seems to like it much better this way and stays nice and "round") I know you either sit or rise trot in Training level (preferably rise) so is it okay to sit first and rise after 2-3 strides?
    3. The show offers Green Horse/Green Rider Training level Test of Choice and Training Level Test 1 - Open classes. Which one would be more appropriate for me?

    I appreciate any input you, guys, might have! Its quite dreadful
    Last edited by Equus_girl; Jun. 4, 2009 at 12:46 PM.



  2. #2
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    Feb. 9, 2000
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    At training level, it is optional whether you rise or sit the trot, so do whatever makes your horse look the best! (And diagonal doesn't matter) Sitting the first few strides before rising is fine.

    Whip can stay on one side the whole test, also. Only switch it if you really need to and if you can do it quickly and smoothly so it doesn't interrupt your horse's flow. Since it's usually in your left hand, salute with your right hand.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 3, 2004
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    North Carolina
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    Enter "green horse/green rider" rather than a training open class. The training open class will have lots of different riders in it from youth to professionals on young horses. If you've never shown before the green horse/green rider will be more your equivalent.

    GOOD LUCK! Hope you have a blast and yearn for more!!!



  4. #4
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    Oct. 11, 2007
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    Andover, MA
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    You can also carry the whip on the side where he is less flexible in circles etc. because it can be used to remind him to bend.

    Good for you for getting out to show! Can you enter both classes? If not, I'd probably go with the green horse one unless you are feeling really brave!

    If all goes well, I'll be doing the two Intro tests at a schooling show on the 26th.



  5. #5
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    Sep. 21, 2007
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    SF Bay Area
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    oh and enter into 2 tests. The second one usually goes better than first : ) (Say Training 1 and 2)
    "Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht



  6. #6
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    Feb. 19, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by yaya View Post
    At training level, it is optional whether you rise or sit the trot, so do whatever makes your horse look the best! (And diagonal doesn't matter) Sitting the first few strides before rising is fine.

    Whip can stay on one side the whole test, also. Only switch it if you really need to and if you can do it quickly and smoothly so it doesn't interrupt your horse's flow. Since it's usually in your left hand, salute with your right hand.
    Thanks for clearing it up, yaya!



  7. #7
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    Feb. 19, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by eggbutt View Post
    Enter "green horse/green rider" rather than a training open class. The training open class will have lots of different riders in it from youth to professionals on young horses. If you've never shown before the green horse/green rider will be more your equivalent.

    GOOD LUCK! Hope you have a blast and yearn for more!!!
    Thank you! I sure hope to continue throughout the year, and who are we kidding, dressage is a life-long road with no end

    Thanks for explaining classes! My trainer showed him last fall in training level- 3 and I was very surprised by quality of horses and professional riders in our class who then went showing different and some same horses in upper levels. So, I thought they were warming up this way
    Definitely green horse-green rider category then



  8. #8
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    Feb. 19, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by quietann View Post
    You can also carry the whip on the side where he is less flexible in circles etc. because it can be used to remind him to bend.

    Good for you for getting out to show! Can you enter both classes? If not, I'd probably go with the green horse one unless you are feeling really brave!

    If all goes well, I'll be doing the two Intro tests at a schooling show on the 26th.
    Thats a good recommendation, quietann! We have bending issues with right side, so I will probably be better off keeping it in right hand at all times.

    I probably can enter two classes, but my trainer is riding him in first level the same day, so we will need to see if we can do it another day.

    Good luck in your show! I also wanted to do Intro classes but they are not offered at the show and we are at H/J barn, so no schooling shows, unfortunately



  9. #9
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    Feb. 19, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by InsideLeg2OutsideRein View Post
    oh and enter into 2 tests. The second one usually goes better than first : ) (Say Training 1 and 2)
    Hmm.. I could do that! Its either second one wil be better or I will screw up the first one in a manner "that was the worst that could have happened" )



  10. #10
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    Mar. 4, 2007
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    Western Washington
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equus_girl View Post
    Hmm.. I could do that! Its either second one wil be better or I will screw up the first one in a manner "that was the worst that could have happened" )
    Entering two tests is good advice. You may be into the second test before you remember to breathe.



  11. #11
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    Aug. 25, 2008
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    Florida
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    I vote for the two tests, but no more than two. I entered 3 at my greenie's first show, and test #1 (intro B) was horrible - we were BOTH tense and got comments that reflected that - hey, this is the first time for BOTH of us . Test #2 (training 2) was great (good score, placed out of a VERY competitive field even with a lead problem), but Test #3 (training 3) horse was out of "juice." We were both tired from being keyed up, and got several "behind the leg" comments which is unusual for him.

    Good luck, have fun, and remember to breathe.



  12. #12
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    Jul. 27, 2007
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    Ooh, how exciting! I'm glad you asked the diagonal question because I was wondering the same thing- just keep going, switch, what? LOL!

    Memorizing TL test 1 is easier if you realize that you do everything on one side then kind of mirror on the other. You should enter test 2 as well! It doesn't add that much difficulty.



  13. #13
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    Jan. 4, 2000
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    So, apparently DH and my trainer been talking behind my back and announced that I will be riding my my first dressage show in May :O What an evil plot! I was thinking like maybe fall, or even next year?

    It's a good idea to just get started, then it doesn't build up in your mind as a barrier.

    Well, I gave up because DH promised to finance the whole new outfit, and besided having first show nightmares, trying to lose 20lbs to fit into new and white (horrors!!) breeches and trying to memorize the test (training level, test 1 of course )

    Is it a schooling show? Or a recognized show? Even at recognized shows, the actual RULES that govern clothing really aren't very fussy. They say, I think, 'light colored' breeches. There's rules and there's tradition, in most cases the traditions are a lot fussier than the rules...but the traditions for dressage clothing style, colors, doesn't really change each year, so it's not so bad to get the traditional outfit (whites).

    I came up with some questions, which my mostly jumping trainer cannot answer
    1. Do I need to switch the whip during test or it does not matter. Its very rarely used but Pooksey prefers to know its there to keep himself in order. On the other hand I would hate to lose whatever tiny amount of collection we will manage to achieve when switching hands So, do I keep in in one hand (usually left,) switch it, or forget about whip all together?

    Everyone has a different opinion, but what I was taught is to figure out which side of your horse is more 'sticky', which side he responds LESS well to the leg aids, and leave the whip on that side the whole trip. Then you don't have to fuss about switching it to the other side. Most horses have one side they just aren't as responsive on, and one side they sort of drift to. The whip often can just stay on that side.

    Other people like to switch it so they have it on the inside all the time (ie, left hand going counter clockwise, right hand going clockwise around the ring). They think the horse will be less difficult to correct if he gets spooky and they can keep the horse on the rail easier.


    2. I know there is not such thing as perfect diagonal in dressage, but having hunter background and VERY loud trainer I ride rising trot on "correct" diagonal. I usually manage to pick the correct one, but in case I don't, should I switch ASAP or keep focus on other things?

    You aren't scored on your diagonal. NOPE... Not in dressage. You won't see a ' -2, incorrect diagonal' from a dressage judge. The rules say, there ISN'T a correct diagonal. But in any case, most of the time, most of us wind up posting on the outside diagonal most of the time, and what looks right and works better, is if you KEEP your same posting diagonal all the way across the diagonal, and shortly before you reach the opposite track, you switch to the new diagonal. Most trainers will tell you NOT to switch in the middle or start of the diagonal. It disturbs the 'fluency' or smoothness as most lower level horses make a small adjustment to their stride when you change.

    In some countries they teach dressage riders to post on the inside diagonal (Portugal is one country where many instructors do that). So to follow international rules, all the national federations tend to remain 'posting diagonal neutral', but the judge can comment on your use of diagonals if it's really outrageous or looks discombobulated, and the best policy most of the time is to post on the outside diagonal. If you change in the middle of the diagonal, or appear to change your mind all the time ('I'll post on the outside! No! The inside, no!') it can affect the fluency of the horse's gaits, plus the rider starts to look like a little....confused...


    Another thing about trot is I sit a couple of first strides of walk-trot transitions (Pooksey seems to like it much better this way and stays nice and "round") I know you either sit or rise trot in Training level (preferably rise) so is it okay to sit first and rise after 2-3 strides?

    What I would do is either stick to posting or sitting, and not change around, and not sit a couple beats if I was going to choose posting trot. I think it's good to look organized like you have a plan and stick to it, and also it's good to have the trot start right out looking energetic and forward, and posting just about from the transition can help that. If you're not good at sitting the trot, definitely rise.

    3. The show offers Green Horse/Green Rider Training level Test of Choice and Training Level Test 1 - Open classes. Which one would be more appropriate for me?

    Two groups use the open classes - professionals (non amateurs) and people who don't want to pay the entry fees/forgot to sign up for an amateur card. At most shows, the best place for the new guys is the amateur classes. Green horse/green rider sounds like a nice choice.

    All in all, the best thing is to practice, have a plan, look organized and don't do anything you don't see other people doing, USUALLY...LOL. Take some wine coolers and some peeps (they're great together), and be sure to have a good time, and not get too worried about it. Showing really is a lot of fun once you get one or two under your belt...I MEAN WINE COOLERS, NOT SHOWS, LOL.



  14. #14
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    Feb. 22, 2007
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    1. I always keep the whip in the same hand...I rarely switch even when schooling. I keep it on the stickier side, so which side it is varies from horse to horse. I've never been able to master the smooth switch with a long whip.

    2. Switch diagonals whenever you're comfortable. There isn't a "correct" diagonal like there is in hunter under saddle or whatever, but if you being on the wrong one is affecting your horse or your effectiveness as a rider, it will bring down your score. If I pick up the wrong diagonal in a test I usually stick with it for a few steps until we're solidly into trot, then switch.

    3. I'd go with the green class, too, and definitely second the advice about riding 2 tests. I think most people's first test at their first show is awful, and IME it's pretty much a given that no matter what level you are at your second test will be better unless you tire your pony out. So give yourself the opportunity to end on a positive note! You can always scratch if your first test is fabulous and you want to leave it there.

    And most of all, relax and have fun! I think you'll find that most dressage people are really friendly, and shows can be very fun. Go in with an attitude of "let's see what happens," and don't worry if it goes badly...everyone has bad days and rough starts. Good luck and let us know how it goes!



  15. #15
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    Oct. 10, 2005
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    How exiting! You get new outfit and motivation to stay more fit and healthy! Sounds like a great plan!

    If this is your first time to show, don't worry about anything. Just do whatever you feel most comfortable: sit, post, post on any diagonal, don't switch whip and such. Don’t' get yourself pumped up with all those details. Make a reachable goal "to breathe"! Learn the ropes and just be safe, stay in the saddle and have fun for the first few shows.

    Don't expect yourself to produce results until show #3.



  16. #16
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    Feb. 19, 2008
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    Thank you all for very helpful tips and good wishes!
    We decided to ride green horse/rider TL1 on Friday and TL2 on Sat, and my trainer will ride in open classes TL3 on Fri and TL4 on Saturday.
    I did manage to memorize first test and rode it for the first time last night. Besides remembering to breath I think we did okay, so we will be practicing a lot. On the plus side, Pooksey is going to H/J show next weekend, which is at the same location as dressage show will be, I will get a chance to ride in the arena we are going to show in. Which is very nice since our home arena is more like 16X90m

    Now I am on the quest for new new outfit, thanks for wardrode help, slc2!
    Unfortunately, I rode hunters before and my color choices were not quite "traditional." So, white breeches it is! At least its another incentive to pick up running.
    Four weeks to go and counting

    PS DA, you are not showing in Woodside Spring Dressage, are you?



  17. #17
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    Jul. 27, 2007
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    Good luck! Sounds like your horse will be quite tired by TL4 on Saturday!

    Please do update with pictures and scores!



  18. #18
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    Apr. 2, 2009
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    Sounds like your horse has a long day ahead! You certainly don't need white breeches for low level dressage, clean khakis or tan will be just fine.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equus_girl View Post
    1. Do I need to switch the whip during test or it does not matter. Its very rarely used but Pooksey prefers to know its there to keep himself in order. On the other hand I would hate to lose whatever tiny amount of collection we will manage to achieve when switching hands So, do I keep in in one hand (usually left,) switch it, or forget about whip all together?
    The advice you've gotten about the whip is all good, but stop worrying about collection at training level. You're not expected to show collected gaits until 2nd level. At training level, you want good, forward working gaits.
    Quote Originally Posted by Linny View Post
    Those martingales were so taut, you could play Ode to Joy on them with a comb



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equus_girl View Post
    1. Do I need to switch the whip during test or it does not matter. Its very rarely used but Pooksey prefers to know its there to keep himself in order. On the other hand I would hate to lose whatever tiny amount of collection we will manage to achieve when switching hands So, do I keep in in one hand (usually left,) switch it, or forget about whip all together?
    The advice you've gotten about the whip is all good, but stop worrying about collection at training level. You're not expected to show collected gaits until 2nd level. At training level, you want good, forward working gaits.

    Good luck, and have fun.
    Quote Originally Posted by Linny View Post
    Those martingales were so taut, you could play Ode to Joy on them with a comb



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