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  1. #1

    Default First show this weekend! Any fun advice? Any stories?

    Horsie and I are going to our first show...not a schooling show...trainer is riding one day, I'm riding the next. I'm excited! I've been in exactly...three (?) shows from age 12 til now (way over 12)...none of them dressage, none with my horse, and we are both new to dressage. We're doing training level.

    I know you wonderful dressage people must remember your first show...

    Thanks!



  2. #2
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    My first show was a hunter schooling show, I was sick and fell off. My first dressage show, same grumpy mare who hated jumping, loved dressage and we won our first class. I love to show and through all the years the most important thing to remember is to have fun! Good luck!



  3. #3
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    Jun. 9, 2005
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    Don't overshoot the center line like I did! But my second test that day was part of a CT and we actually won! We beat some serious kids on shetland ponies lol!
    Delaware Park Canter Volunteer
    http://www.canterusa.org/



  4. #4
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    Remember to breathe! I've come out of the ring huffing and puffing after many tests because I forgot to inhale/exhale. Oxygen deprivation is never a good thing.

    Also, if you feel nervous right before going into the ring, take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that its all for fun and to do the best you can.


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  5. #5
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    And remember to tell us all about it afterwards! Pics, etc.

    Have fun!
    Founder of the People Who Prefer COTH Over FB Clique
    People Who Hate to Rush to Kill Wildlife Clique!
    "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique



  6. #6
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    Heck, if you're here look for the dark, curly haired girl volunteering as a runner in the mornings to tell you're nervous, and I'll cheer for you!
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed



  7. #7
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    Thanks, everyone!! So let me get this straight: don't fall off, breathe, have fun, beat the ponies, look for Net to cheer for me, and take pictures. I think I can do that (well, maybe not beat the ponies, but...)! My trainer told me a VERY funny story about his first test ever...jumped out of the arena...so I'm planning on hoping horsie forgets his not-to-distant jumper days and stays INSIDE the arena! Net, I will certainly be looking for you!!! Is your horsie going? I'll be the tall girl with the "deer in the headlights" look . In fact, are there ever volunteer callers or videotapers (or someone I can pay a small fee to do it)? Our barn's tests are timed too close together in different arenas, so I'm not sure I will have anyone on Sunday morning to video or coach, let alone call! Hmmmm...the breathing thing will have to be practiced . Are we allowed to drink wine before our test? (KIDDING). Thanks



  8. #8
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    Jan. 16, 2013
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    Have fun! That is the very best advice I can give. So many people forget that for most of us this is a hobby and is supposed to be fun. Things will go wrong of course but just think of them as learning opportunities. I wrote a blog entry once about a funny show I attended. It was a bit ridiculous all the things that went wrong! Take a read if you want... http://briannadressage.blogspot.com/.../tenacity.html
    Brianna



  9. #9
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    Oct. 11, 2002
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    KY
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    Brianna, what a great story! You have a super attitude. Thanks for the reminder of why we all plug away at this obsession - it came at the right time.

    OP, one of my horses jumped out of the ring at his first show too. Stuff happens! Try to relax and have fun. Showing well is a different skill set from lessons, so allow yourself space to learn too.



  10. #10
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    Everything everyone else has said is wonderful and true. I will add that for me, showing changed dramatically when I realized that I needed to RIDE during the test. No letting horsie cruise around on his own terms because I was completely distracted by the fact that this was a *gulp* SHOW. Go, breathe, have fun, beat (or at least make a decent showing against) the ponies, make kumbaya with netg, etc. -- and then ride!

    Oh, one last thing. When you are making your pre-test tour around the arena, stop at the judge's booth (or table, or car), and tell the scribe your number.
    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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  11. #11
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    Default Brianna, how ironic...

    Quote Originally Posted by briannabowling View Post
    Have fun! That is the very best advice I can give. So many people forget that for most of us this is a hobby and is supposed to be fun. Things will go wrong of course but just think of them as learning opportunities. I wrote a blog entry once about a funny show I attended. It was a bit ridiculous all the things that went wrong! Take a read if you want... http://briannadressage.blogspot.com/.../tenacity.html
    Brianna
    I loved your blog entry and read more of your blog; what a great attitude! You're not going to believe this. I live all the way across the country from you, but I used to live not too far from you. I went to a conference in DC in November and actually went to the Chapter Challenge (at PGEC, right??) to watch as I am very new to this! It was freezing cold as I remember! We parked next to someone who I believe is in your chapter - a woman with a chestnut; she was wearing a white grooming apron and was very sweet to me and my sister. I think she hadn't ridden in two weeks as she was out of town and had to drive all night from up north as I recall...I watched for a few hours. I stood between the two rings and alternated watching the tests, and for a while I ended up scratching the head of the sweetest horse, who was also a member of your chapter, whose name I cannot remember. I talked with a few members of your chapter there as well...we talked about saddles (I was in saddle fitting hell at the time). Your chapter members seemed very supportive of each other and very sweet to me as an outsider.

    Anyway, I thought it was pretty ironic that of all the people in all the places, you posted, and there's a good chance that we either met or I watched your test!

    Thanks for the advice and for sharing your blog - it's a small world!



  12. #12
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    Jan. 10, 2007
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    Bonner Springs, KS
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    Default Tequila!!

    Tequila!

    My first dressage show ever was basically a dare. I had a really bad fall about 6 months earlier – hospital for a week, walker for a month, PT for years. Didn’t think I would ever ride again. My husband surprised me with a $1 horse that was supposedly too lame to do much more than walk/trot and thought he would be the perfect trail horse to help me regain my confidence. Well, Mister Jet was not as lame as we thought! Our vet and farrier had him sound in 2 weeks. The custom made front shoes worked wonders!

    Since he had done some dressage in his past, I decided to give this dressage ‘thing’ a try and started taking some lessons. I was scared to death of everything and would not even canter. A good friend at the barn was going to a dressage show and suggested I go as a confidence builder. She said Jet had shown at the venue and had done pretty well the year before at 1st level. She said I could show Intro and only have to walk/trot. The trainer I had been working with was going as well and said she’d be happy to coach me.

    OK, I love a challenge but if Jet had shown 1st level, I wasn’t going to only show walk/trot. We made a bet that if I cantered by the time entries closed, I would enter at Training Level. Now it went from a challenge to a bet! I cantered the day before entries closed so off went the entries!

    Well, my friend didn’t also tell me I needed a plethora of things like breeches, show coat, and a few other minor details. I spent the next 3 weeks in a flurry getting ready and pretty much forgot my fear of cantering. But as the final days before the show came and went, I moved into the HOLY S**T, what did I agree to do mode. My friend held my hand all the way to getting to the show.

    While lunging Jet Friday evening before riding, he pulled off one of his special shoes….and to make it worse we could not find it anywhere. Also meant I could not ride him. I called the farrier in a panic….my poor farrier thought I was yanking his leg as I knew he was with some buddies watching our beloved college basketball team in the Sweet 16. But since he had had a few beers, he could not come out and make a new shoe for Jet that evening, and the farrier on call did not carry a forge . My farrier said he would be there at 7 AM the next morning. My first ride time was 8:23 am!!!!

    So here I am at my first show, with a horse missing a front shoe and not able to ride in the arena ahead of time. We did lots of hand walking! But the Gods were with me and while the gentleman was dragging the warm-up arena early Saturday morning, he found Jet’s shoe!!! My farrier was so happy not to have to be pounding out a new shoe and got the shoe back on in plenty of time.

    Another good friend had heard about our saga. She was coming to the show to cheer on Jet and I so she was there bright and early as well. As I was getting ready to get Jet out of his stall to go warm up, my friend pulled out a flask and down went 2 shots of Tequila! It did the job…..I made it through my first test! Went in, came out and did not come off inbetween. And I had a blast

    We actually did better than that – we ended up Training Level Reserve Champion and I was hooked on dressage. Jet was my partner for the next 3 years before his lameness issues forced his retirement. We had many, many accomplishment and so much fun along the way. He is still happily retired in my pasture and will always be my sentimental favorite.

    So go, have fun, follow all the advice you have been given and take a flask of TEQUILA for a shot before that first class. Never have done it again but it sure got me through that very first test
    m


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  13. #13
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    Great story!
    Quote Originally Posted by Linny View Post
    Those martingales were so taut, you could play Ode to Joy on them with a comb



  14. #14
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    Nov. 10, 2010
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    NC
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    Hand your camera to someone with you and tell them to take pictures of EVERYTHING....you getting ready, the horse at the trailer, you warming up, you showing, you coming out of the show ring with the world's biggest cheshire cat grin, your tired horse eating treats....these are the memories you'll want to keep alive! It's so fun at the end of a long show day to turn on the camera and flip through the pictures...and usually laugh my butt off!



  15. #15
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    Oct. 11, 2007
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    Andover, MA
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    Breathe.

    Booze can help So can an anti-anxiety med under a doctor's supervision of course...

    And here's a slideshow of what happened last May, on maresy's first off the farm show in over 2 years: https://picasaweb.google.com/1036348...25216155273810

    I have to have a sense of humor, to ride this horse.
    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

    Proudly owned by Mythic Feronia, 1998 Morgan mare; G-dspeed Trump & Minnie; welcome 2014 Morgan filly MtnTop FlyWithMeJosephine


    1 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
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    Stoney: This is AWESOME!! I'm quite sure I'd love to have a shot of tequila (and give one to horsie!) before our class!! (But I won't...I don't think...I guess one never knows who might show up with a flask...) It sounds like a perfect day after all of the drama!! Thanks for the advice, and I will let you know what happens .

    Quietann: Your photos I have seen before...I think you posted them on the bloopers page - hysterical!! Again, with the booze advice...I see a pattern here...

    Oberon: My camera is charged, my videocamera is charged, and my phone has lots of room for pics! I'm getting excited - hopefully I will have at least one that I can post!

    Silly, I hope I can get close enough to the judge to see my number!!!
    Last edited by right horse at the right time; Jan. 16, 2013 at 10:46 PM. Reason: more



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by right horse at the right time View Post
    Thanks, everyone!! So let me get this straight: don't fall off, breathe, have fun, beat the ponies, look for Net to cheer for me, and take pictures. I think I can do that (well, maybe not beat the ponies, but...)! My trainer told me a VERY funny story about his first test ever...jumped out of the arena...so I'm planning on hoping horsie forgets his not-to-distant jumper days and stays INSIDE the arena! Net, I will certainly be looking for you!!! Is your horsie going? I'll be the tall girl with the "deer in the headlights" look . In fact, are there ever volunteer callers or videotapers (or someone I can pay a small fee to do it)? Our barn's tests are timed too close together in different arenas, so I'm not sure I will have anyone on Sunday morning to video or coach, let alone call! Hmmmm...the breathing thing will have to be practiced . Are we allowed to drink wine before our test? (KIDDING). Thanks

    Maybe you should check out eventing... though wine may be a little mild, then!


    My guy's going to be up at his boot camp still. We've gone back to some basics since the basics go away during his meltdowns to REALLY get them instilled in him before he starts going on field trips.


    There is going to be a photographer at the show you can email and see if she'll have a chance to get photos: elegantstrides@gmail.com

    I'm sure we can find you someone to call or video if you need! I'm amused that I didn't put your username together with our emails. But anyway, I'm brain fried.... if you introduce yourself to me and I look at you blankly feel free to hit me upside the head. May not make my brain work, but may make you feel better!

    Also, I've seen plenty of riders with your trainer. If you're showing and haven't been told you're not ready... you are ready and you've got this in hand. Just enjoy!
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed



  18. #18
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    Oct. 8, 2012
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    I was at the PVDA Chapter Challenge too! Small world. It was my first time there and a really fun show despite the weather. The team aspect seems to make for some great camaraderie.

    I tend to have great warm ups and then stop breathing when I enter A. Makes for a really tense ride, so the advice to breathe is spot on. Having lots of time to stay calm and not get rushed helps as well. And, admittedly, I had a glass of wine with lunch before my second test at my last show and I have to say it went pretty well! So if all else fails...

    Have fun!



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SillyHorse View Post
    Oh, one last thing. When you are making your pre-test tour around the arena, stop at the judge's booth (or table, or car), and tell the scribe your number.
    Absolutely this! I have scribed for many, many shows...and while you think the scribe could see that number on the bridle...sometimes after writing comments all day, the eyes don't see very clearly, lol. It's a very nice courtesy and will be viewed nicely by the judge as well.

    Also...smile!!!
    Unashamed Member of the Dressage Arab Clique
    CRAYOLA POSSE= Thistle



  20. #20
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    May. 3, 2012
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    Have fun and breathe!

    At my first dressage show I nearly didn't make it because my horse had a meltdown about being away from his friends, and I had to have a friend get on him and warm him up to show me he wasn't *really* going to kill me. Embarrassing.

    Second show, I was so nervous, after the caller said "B to H working walk" or whatever, I cut right across the area instead of walking around the corners like I was supposed to. I couldn't figure out why she kept yelling "B to H!! B to H!!" until the bell rang. I was getting there in the most efficient manner!
    "Here? It's like asking a bunch of rednecks which is better--Ford or Chevy?" ~Deltawave



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