I am competing next week in my first ever dressage test - and doing it sidesaddle. I am totally new to the world of competitive dressage. And need some help with making sure that I have the rules right and if possible 'proof' of those rules in case I need to politely present it to a show secretary. I have been reading the rule book and have a few questions. I am hoping that the collected wisdom of everyone here will help me if I fall into a "you can't ride in that saddle" trap.
I am riding the Training 1 & 2 tests if this makes a difference in your answers.
From Rule DR120 Dress of the 2011 USEF rule book download on usef.org:
- - - - - - - - -
1. "The dress code for Training through Fourth Levels is a short riding coat of conservative color, with tie, choker or stock tie, white or light-colored breeches or jodhpurs, boots or jodhpur boots"
My Question: Do I need to wear "white or Light-colored breeches" under my blue habit? I know that all the aside riders that I have seen wear matching breeches under their habits (blue or black) but is there anywhere that is stated? Can I wear black field boots? My dress boots are pretty big in the calf after a bit of weight loss.
- - - - - - - - - - -
6. "One whip no longer than 47.2 inches (120 cm), including lash may be carried in all classes....."
My Question: Are canes allowed? Assuming much less than 47.2" and no thicker than approx 1/2" diameter. Again, I have seen and been told that is what we are allowed to carry but nothing is stated in the rule book, unless someone can point me to a different rule. or is the word 'whip' used for anything that is carried while riding to encourage a horse (or something to that effect)? I need my cane or else we tend to fall/drift in on our right lead canter circles. I don't need 'go', I need 'bend'.
- - - - - - - - -
And regarding posting... (Im riding the training level tests so posting is optional unless stated) Posting in a sidesaddle is little more than a shift in weight from sort of your seat bone to behind your right knee. How, as a judge, are you able to confirm if I am posting if you have never been exposed to sidesaddle prior to judging my test? I am really not too worried about this but I am getting sort of worried since I asked that of a judge after auditing a clinic and they responded with "I don't think you can ride a dressage test in a sidesaddle"
After that I tried to confirm the breech color question with the secretary of the upcomming show and after much thought and asking a few others she responded with "wear what you would normally wear while showing in the sidesaddle division for now, since it is just a schooling show and you are not gong for year-end points, we can figure it out later if you want to continue and show with us next year"
I am not looking for special consideration. I want to conform to the rules. I have spoken to many who ride/train/show aside whom have told me that canes can be used, of course my breeches should match my apron, and I post correctly. but I would like to have the applicable rules on hand incase they feel that I have broken a few and I don't get judged. I am honestly not looking for the ribbon or placement aganst others, I am more interested in the score and the judges comments so that next time I ride the same test I can try to improve.
Thanks for reading, I hope that I have explained this correctly. As I stated, I am totally new to the competition part of dressage and I want to make sure I have all the details right so that I only have to worry about my horse and myself rather than worrying if I have committed some horrible blunder in the rules.
The color of your breeches under your apron shouldn't matter -- the breeches won't be seen while mounted. The field boots should be fine, too. You say it's a schooling show? You'll be fine.
Brings up a question of my own, though -- what if an aside rider qualifies for a championship class in which whips are not allowed? Surely the aside rider must have her whip or cane, right?
Thanks for the help, Beasmom!
Re: Breeches- I agree it shouldn't matter and I don't think that it does, but is there a definitive ruling somewhere in case I have to prove it? what about later if I catch the 'bug' and do a rated show next summer? I do have a friend that has her silver medal aside but is an example like that enough to a judge that isn't even sure if a test can be ridden aside?
Re: canes in championship classes... the rule goes onto say:. (Exception: Competitors riding sidesaddle may carry a whip no longer
than 47.2 inches (120 cm), including lash, in USEF/USDF Championships)" I didn't include that bit cause it was more about cane vs. whip
It is actually this specifically called out exception that makes me wonder about the other stuff. Why didn't they call out an exception for dress then and say something like ... except sidesaddsaddle where competitors shall match their breeches to their apron... something like that. because the whip is called out so specifically it throws me off as to why the other wouldn't be called out.
So many rules, but I like it. I like being proper, and respectful of the chosen discipline. I like the history of the sport, I like how there are reasons for most things having to do with horses and riding (manes on the right, brown gloves for ladies, top hats vs derbys). It's what got me into riding aside well before it was medically necessary for me to do so.
I also have my silver aside and have been showing aside in recognized shows for several years now.
The only thing I do is bring my cane up to the technical delegate and make sure it is allowed (which it always has been), which also alerts them to the fact that I will be showing aside. If they have any questions or concerns they voice them then. Occasionally, they might let the judge know that I will be riding aside and everything is legal, just so I don't have any trouble as I'm turning up centerline. On one instance where the rule book was unclear, the TD phoned USEF about the matter and everything was resolved.
Showing on the east coast as you are, I would think many of the older judges and TDs have seen aside riders before, but if you get an inexperienced official who might give you trouble, you can simply urge them to contact USEF.
An extra thought- If you are really concerned, you can write USEF/USDF that you would like to show side saddle and would like their assurance that it is ok. Then you can bring their written responses with you to the show so you have paper proof in your favor. I really don't think this will be necessary though. I've never heard of anyone showing recognized dressage aside in the US having any trouble.
thank you, thank you, thank you! I will do exactly as you have mentioned. Bring the cane when I check in and have the number and info for USEF handy so they don't have to look it up in case they have any further quesitons.
I honestly didn't think it was a big deal till I asked the question of the clinician (also a judge) about the posting. I was really just wondering if I should exaggerate my posting or do the norm. I was hoping that the answer would be 'no we can certanly see the weight shift". I was suprised and got to worrying when she said she was unsure about being able to show aside.
Then my paranoia just snowballed after the "light coloured breeches" clarification.
I remember reading in the rules SOMEWHERE that 2 whips are allowed if riding side saddle.
As for posting, the Tr tests state "All trot work may be ridden sitting or rising, unless stated." The stretchy circle does specifiy rising trot. However I would ASSUME (dangerous) that however is correct for posting side saddle constitutes a rising trot. But you prob ought to contact the USDF or USEF to be sure on both counts (whips and posting).
And good for you for riding side saddle, and in your first show!! Cool.
Where are you in NJ ? Are you working with Shelly ?
I don't think she would mind if I post the info she sent me recently about the SS activities in NJ.
Camp Leaping Horn has joined the "Social-Network-Generation"!
We are on Facebook... Come be a friend, share pictures, memories, etc.
Camp Leaping Horn 2012 will be held July 25, 26, 27, followed by Show on Sat and preceded by SSA Testing starting Tuesday the 24th. Date change is due to it being an Olympic year. The Para-Team will be in residence starting in August then there for Quarantine before departure.
REMINDER: September 17th ISSO is sponsoring a SS clinic at the Horse Park of NJ, beginning at 10AM.
Clinician will be Anne Moss. See registration attached. See you at the indoor!
If you show up at either the Horse Park in a few weeks or camp leaping horse next year I think you will find plenty of people who can help you out with this sort of stuff.
If you like I can PM you Shelly's email, or you can get in touch with them on the Facebook page. It is listed as Camp Leaping Horn Clh
I am very familliar with Shelly, she is my 'sidesaddle fairy godmother', I have been with her for 6-7 years now. Im sure you and I probably know each other. Were you are the camp or show last month? My gelding won the grooms class with my friend's husband riding aside. I have already been told that I am assisting/voluniteering with the clinic that afternoon, so I will probably be there most of the day.
I will throw this out there... if anyone is interested in giving it a try, or can't get their horse to NJ, my boy may be availiable for use at the clinic. This would depend on suitability, previous riding experience and a waiver that if you do something stupid you won't sue me. You can contact me privately to see if it would be a match.
I have asked most of the group from CLH, including Anne, the clinician for next week, everyone just says "wear what you normally would with your habit" and "of course you can carry a cane" and "post like you normally would" but no where it is expressly written in the rules, that is what is throwing me off. Anne did tell me to ask the secretary, and that is where I got into more trouble since they were even unsure.
I like to blend and not be 'that silly girl riding sidesaddle' so I like to have all these things settled prior to the event. Im nervous enough for my first time.
Research about the whips. Some do not allow whips, others do. Generally a dressage whip is alowed for the off side cue. However most horses learn what to do with sidesaddle and you do not always need the whip or a sideaddle cane.
Horses are generally pretty smart about what saddle you use and what to do in that saddle.
The post in sidesaddle is really a rolling up on your right thigh. As the right leg of the horse moves forward the rider rolls with that motion forward and relaxes and rolls back with horse's left leg moving forward. A good sidesaddle instructor can help you to master the art of sidesaddle "posting". You do not stand inthe stirrup and rise off the sidesaddle. I saw a lady at a sidesaddle class stand and fall back in the saddle which made the saddle turn to the left and then as she sat down hard in the saddle it pulled it back to center. The horse found this very distasteful. He pinned his ears and began to arch his back. Thankfully the judge called for a walk before he began to buck.
Dressage in the sidesaddle can be very beautiful. I have seen riders do very well in dressage in the sidesaddle.
There are some very good sidesaddle instructors available. See if you can get a coule of lessons to help you get started off well.
Wishing you the best in your endeavor.
Kind regards, sadlmakr
Thanks sadlmakr, my test was today and all went well.
I scrapped the cane, so that was a moot point, but I know for later if it becomes an issue to contact USEF. I only ride astride and never usually carry a cane so it is something that we need to work on. There usually isn't much of a call for an exact 20m circle with exact proper bend while riding hunt-paces or working cattle, and with out someone on the ground everyride, I tend to really let my bad habits take hold.
We scored a 60.7-something, marked down in the spots I figured due to a few things that I know we normallly screw up. but all in all not bad for a first time dressage test (astride or aside). I managed to stay on course, but there certanly were times where I was thinking and working on one, two or 3 things an then added a 4th (like breathing) and we sort of lost the first. I guess I can only multi-task up to a point.
I will definately be doing another test, today was a warm up to a breed benefit show, but after that I'm not sure. It is nice to be able to have the comment sheet and try to improve each time so that is definately a plus. There is so much else on my want-to-try list to just concentrate on one dicipline. But I think that I may have gotten a few interested in sidesaddle and some that were there recogonized me from other events and just laughed and rolled their eyes and asked me what I was going to do next... I told them jousting
I chuckled when I read your post about people wondering what you were going to do next.
That is a good score for a first time out in sidesaddle dressage.
Keep on it. You will get better and so will the horse.
Sidesaddles are great IF they are properly fitted to horse and rider. I have helped many ladies who had quit riding because of back and hip problems to get back into riding. In a sidesaddle because it doesn't stress the back and hips. I recmmend the flat seat of the English sidesaddles so there is no strain on the low back. Any sidesaddle that rides uphill is hard on both the horse and the rider. It causes strain in the low back of the rider and it puts weight too far back on the horse's back. It is best to have the level seat.
My Western sidesaddle was built on a tree that was designed to have a level seat. It is very nice to ride out on the trails.
I am glad to see you at least attempted to do the Dressage in a sidesaddle.
You never know who might have seen you and will try to do sidesaddle too.
It my knee that has me riding only aside, except for the occasional bareback ride in from the paddock. I am able to ride for hours and actually walk after. I think that at last check I was over 400 miles for the year (outside the arena and off property).
I prefer my smooth leather mostly-flat seat and narrow pommels on my c1915 whippy for a more secure ride but the flat-as-a-board seat on my c1940 Mayhew (with wide pommels and doeskin) is much better for dressage. Now if I could find the combo of a nice flat smooth leather seat with narrow pommels I think I would be even better!
it's only the last few seconds of the turn at A into the salute. My caller started the camera after the last command. My toe is hanging out, Beau lost all impulsion towards the end of the test and we just look schlumpy there at the end. I think my nerves won out over my equitation. But we did it! I knew my test, but I was worried that if my nerves got the better of me I would forget so next time we will get the whole thing on video.
Thanks everyone for your help and encouragement! Next show is the All Throughbred ReRun Benefit show in NJ on october 23rd.