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Which are your favorite recognized or CDI shows, and why?

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  • Which are your favorite recognized or CDI shows, and why?

    I've gotten to the age where I only want to go to shows I love, or really like. I've been doing this too long to spend time or money on a show that I can't possibly have a good time riding in.

    So, what are your favorites? Please say the show, its town and state (its a big country), and why you like it.

    For me:
    Global Dressage, Wellington, FL
    This is a weird one--the CDI has great atmosphere, good footing (a bit hard for my taste), great stabling, terrific crowds (for the GP Freestyle) and great food (if you're in the tent). The national show has tent stabling, with sand floors, and they're old tents. You're far better off trailering in. If you're not in the tent, the food is awful (one vendor, and I'm a vegetarian). No crowds. Excellent judges all around.

    White Fences, Loxahatchee, FL
    Great footing and atmosphere. "Country" setting. Less pressure--great place to bring out a horse. Free lunch and breakfast. No trailer in fee, so more affordable.

    Morven Park, Leesburg, VA
    I have loved this place since the '80's, but they have reconfigured it and redone the footing. I think its the best footing I've ridden in, bar none! Food vendor cooks for you, its a lovely atmosphere, Permanent stabling is old but safe. Lousy wash stalls. You can go to the house and carriage museum in your free time. Leesburg is a great town.

    Lamplight, Wayne,IL
    Just went there for the first time, and fell in love! Great atmosphere, footing, food, nice tent stabling (horses could all see each other!), and beautifully laid out. Great seating for spectators. Really good shopping. I am dying to go back!

    Devon, PA
    Well, its Devon. Now, it has very good footing and drainage (it needs it). The CDI stabling is good or bad (depending on if it floods or if you're on the outside when its raining and windy). Food and atmosphere are top of the top. Shopping is great. Riding in the GP Freestyle, under the lights, is awesome. Parking and hotels are tough. A lot depends on the weather. Twenty years ago, it was a lovely fall weekend. Now, it is usually cold and raining.

  • #2
    I don’t do a lot of showing, so don’t have a lot of data points to compare.

    My my favorite show is SanDiego (CA) CDS Spooktacular at Del Mar Show Park. The San Diego CDS staff and volunteers are awesome, the facilities are very nice, but the best part is the “extras”. Show staff and volunteers (and often judges) dress in costumes all weekend. Friday night they hold silly games. There is a dog costume contest and a costume freestyle class. It is just a super fun time.
    "So relax! Let's have some fun out here! This game's fun, OK? Fun goddamnit." Crash Davis; Bull Durham


    • #3
      Ones already mentioned
      I loved showing at White Fences when I lived in South Florida, Adam always was so nice to the exhibiters with the perks you've already mentioned. Last time I showed at Global the tents were extremely tight so I'm glad to hear stabling has improved. Loved the facilities at Lamplight but when I was there last year I was disappointed in the barns towards the back, mainly no lights over the outside rows of stalls to see and braid.

      Great Southwest Equestrian Center, Katy, TX
      Unless it's a larger show like the CDI or Regionals where they use the outside rings, you never have to go outside! As a habit I brought rain gear the first time, but all the walkways from the barns to the rings were covered Footing in the rings are great and they're constantly updating the facility, big ass fans, mats in stalls, etc.

      Crayola Posse: Violet Blue


      • #4
        No CDI, but I went to Dressage in Wine Country near Ithaca, NY this year and it was such a fun show. It's at the Chemung County Fairgrounds, which was not fancy by any means... but it just had such an awesome, relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Lots of special awards for random things, lots of freebies (water bottles, wine glasses, wine and cheese reception, etc.), and just overall a really happy and delightful experience. Really nice GMO and volunteers overall.
        "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

        Graphite/Pastel Portraits


        • #5
          Originally posted by fancy.pants View Post
          Please say the show, its town and state (its a big country), and why you like it.

          Lamplight, Wayne,IL
          Just went there for the first time, and fell in love! Great atmosphere, footing, food, nice tent stabling (horses could all see each other!), and beautifully laid out. Great seating for spectators. Really good shopping. I am dying to go back!
          Lamplight puts on an entire series of shows throughout the summer months, all of which are lovely - but I assume you're talking about their combined August show (the Festival of Champions which has the developing horse finals plus all the pony, jr/yr finals, etc; that runs simultaneously with the August Dressage at Lamplight I & II). The Festival of Champions is definitely the pinnacle of the dressage shows that they run (being an invitational, and it's also got several arenas that are streamed), but the rest of the series (May & July) is pretty delightful - additionally, if you're relatively local and looking for a slightly less chaotic "big show" experience, they are absolutely lovely (especially compared to the August show, which rearranges the ring usage for the sake of livestreaming classes). Really, really enjoy them.

          I also really appreciate the attention they put into the footing. I've heard some of our local h/j folks don't like prefer it for jumping, but for the flat I have always really liked it..they maintain it well when it's dry, and it doesn't get soaking/puddle/get boggy when it's wet which is absolutely fabulous.


          • #6
            I love White Fences and their free food. It makes such a huge difference to just be able to pop up and grab a Gatorade when you get your test.
            Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
            you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the long as its in a conservative color.


            • #7
              The San Diego chapter of CDS puts on so many great shows. It's hard to not have fun in Del Mar. The last show with international night was super fun with the barns decorating and providing food from different countries. I loved the barn that transformed their tent into an Irish Pub! So fun!

              All the competitors were friendly and it was an extremely well-run show.


              • #8
                I like Lamplight for the footing and amenities. I HATE the back barn stabling. It's dark, tight, and depending on the week, hotter than the surface of Mercury. The only time I would have preferred those barns was one epic region 2 finals when they put temporary stalls in the indoor and if possible was even hotter than the back barns. I don't know if they regularly do that, but it was the only time I've ever seen it happen. They ended up putting swamp coolers in there to make it marginally tolerable.


                • #9
                  I love the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington. I like the layout especially. It’s such a spacious facility but everything seems nearby (unless you’re doing XC). The stabling is great with indoor wash stalls & permanent bathrooms. There’s lots of space for hand grazing. When I’ve been there, the footing was always well maintained, both in the ample warmups & show rings. Having multiple indoor show rings is great, plus some indoor warmups & the huge covered warmup that goes to the main coliseum. I’ve been there several times for Dressage at Lexington in July & the VADA Fall show in October (so 2 shows with different organizers) & always enjoyed my time there. Also, motels are very nearby, as are plenty of restaurants, plus Dover Saddlery & a trailer repair place!