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Walk me through a schooling show...

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  • Walk me through a schooling show...

    I am planning on going to a schooling show in a couple weeks and would like to know how things go. I have been to hundreds of schooling and rated hunter/jumper shows but obviously those are run very differently.

    I know you get your ride times in advance (love that) but how does warm up work? Is there normally a warm up area? I have ridden quite a bit at the farm where this show is taking place and I know they have 3 other arenas in addition to the dressage arena. Do shows normally allow schooling in the dressage arena the evening before or the morning of? Just trying to get a feel for what a "typical" warm up scenario is for dressage people.

    Second question, what is the exact procedure for when you actually show. Obviously you ride during your given time slot but isn't there a "bell" that tells you that you need to enter? Is it poor etiquette to hang out by the arena on your horse if it's not quite your ride time? In the h/j world it is standard to hang out by the arena until it's your turn but I know with some other disciplines it is frowned upon since your horse may distract others.

    Do you normally bring your own person to call your test or is there an official person? Is it normal to not have one at all?

    Anything else I should be aware of for schooling shows?

  • #2
    Most of your questions are better answered by the show secretary or whoever is running the registration desk. A lot of it will depend on the facility. So, here are the first couple steps that are pretty much universal.

    1. Arrive at facility. Have your coggins in the cab of your truck in case someone is standing in the driveway asking for it.
    2. Ask the parking person where to park. In the absence of a parking person, look around and use common sense. Don't leave the engine running and park in front of the secretary's office in the fire lane!
    3. Leave Dobbin on the trailer. Go check in with the show secretary. Find out if you are indeed parked in the correct place. Ask all your questions. Proceed as directed!

    If you're totally new to this, plan to arrive very, very early.

    One thing that's different between hunters and dressage/eventing: if you're not actively riding your horse, don't use him as a sofa. Get off, loosen your girth, and run up your stirrups. Better still, take him back to the stabling or the trailer and let him chill. Sitting on your horse all day when he's not about to go in the ring is usually frowned upon.

    Have fun! you could also call the show secretary in advance and see if anyone you know is going to the same show. It's a lot more fun to have someone to hang out with when it's all very new.

    Comment


    • #3
      Obviously, everywhere is a little different, and it depends on whether they abide by USEF rules (even though they are a schooling show). You need to know if they will be following the USEF rules, especially for things like allowed tack. Some schooling shows are more formal than others for dress, so it helps to know if you are expected to wear the full outfit, or if just a polo and clean breeches is fine.

      There should be a separate warmup arena in which to warm up before your ride. Most shows will allow schooling in the actual competition arena the day before, but not usually the morning of (they have to drag/water the arena in preparation for the show). You would have to ask this particular show management what they will allow.

      Usually there is a steward in warmup who tells people who's in the ring, who's on deck, and who's in the hole. They should also be able to tell you if the competition arena is running on time (if there is an announcer, they should be letting everyone know as well). You can hang around the out gate of the main arena, but you are not allowed around the perimeter of the competition arena until the rider ahead of you has done their final halt and salute. Then you may enter to go around the outside of the arena. The judge will ring the bell (or blow a whistle) when he/she is ready for you to make your entrance. You have 45 seconds after the signal to enter the ring (it's plenty of time to trot from say the C end down to enter at A, but don't dawdle or you'll be eliminated if late).

      You may bring a caller if you need one, but you really should know your test as well, as sometimes it's hard to hear a caller. Sometimes you can find a kindly soul to read for you if you can't bring somebody.

      Have fun!!!

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by yaya View Post
        Obviously, everywhere is a little different, and it depends on whether they abide by USEF rules (even though they are a schooling show). You need to know if they will be following the USEF rules, especially for things like allowed tack. Some schooling shows are more formal than others for dress, so it helps to know if you are expected to wear the full outfit, or if just a polo and clean breeches is fine.

        There should be a separate warmup arena in which to warm up before your ride. Most shows will allow schooling in the actual competition arena the day before, but not usually the morning of (they have to drag/water the arena in preparation for the show). You would have to ask this particular show management what they will allow.

        Usually there is a steward in warmup who tells people who's in the ring, who's on deck, and who's in the hole. They should also be able to tell you if the competition arena is running on time (if there is an announcer, they should be letting everyone know as well). You can hang around the out gate of the main arena, but you are not allowed around the perimeter of the competition arena until the rider ahead of you has done their final halt and salute. Then you may enter to go around the outside of the arena. The judge will ring the bell (or blow a whistle) when he/she is ready for you to make your entrance. You have 45 seconds after the signal to enter the ring (it's plenty of time to trot from say the C end down to enter at A, but don't dawdle or you'll be eliminated if late).

        You may bring a caller if you need one, but you really should know your test as well, as sometimes it's hard to hear a caller. Sometimes you can find a kindly soul to read for you if you can't bring somebody.

        Have fun!!!
        Great! Just what I wanted to know! I usually "wing it" whenever I am dealing with new show situations (like when I did my first western show) but I am planning on taking 4 horses and need a game plan. I actually had tried calling the show management but hadn't heard back from them yet. Thanks everybody!

        Comment


        • #5
          If you are taking 4 horses, and need a reader for tests- MAKE SURE YOU BRING YOUR OWN READER! You might find one or two helpers from the people at the show, but if you need more consistent "reading" bring a friend who knows the schedule and the tests.

          Arrive early, so you can go and get your show "packets" and check the actual ride times (sometimes they change the day of the show) and get your bridle numbers.

          Take a minute to locate which ring is where, and which horse of your 4 goes where. Give your groom and/or reader a written list so you can check with them if you forget the time/ring. Try to quickly review each test pattern with your reader before each test ride- it will go better if you have most of the test memorized.

          If you have extra time at the end of your warm up, before you go in the ring- do not just stand there- it is best to continue to work your horse, even if it is at the walk, to have it between the aids and listening.

          Comment


          • #6
            If you're going to use a reader, practice with them a few times before the show. The reader needs to get their timing down and be able to watch you and read at the same time. You also need to develop the ability to listen to them and concentrate on the horse at the same time. It is less distracting just to learn the test but I use a reader the first few times because I'm old and feeble and would be very p##ss#d if I got DQ'd for riding off course.

            Our schooling show circuit allows you to take the horses around the dressage arena in hand before the show starts, but not ride in it.

            Be prepared and listen to the weather report before you go. It is a huge help to have rain gear and a strategy for warm up, keeping the horsies dry, etc. before you get to the show.

            I am very fortunate that my experienced horse owning but not showing sister comes with me as my chief d'equipe. If you are bringing 4 horses I would think having a helper would make your day a lot easier.

            Take a look at the ride times you have and plot out your day ahead of time. We figure out when we have to be at the barn, when we have to depart, what we're going to do when we get to the show grounds re: groom, what time I'm on the horse, how long to warm up etc.

            Good luck!!

            ETA: The nicest surprise about my first year showing dressage (2010) on our schooling circuit was how very nice and helpful and kind everyone was. It was a welcome change from other disciplines and made the experience even more fun. I hope your circuit is just as enjoyable!
            Last edited by oldernewbie; Mar. 10, 2011, 08:25 AM. Reason: another thought

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks everybody! I'll have at least 2 or 3 people with me to help.

              A few more questions- do they announce your score after your ride or do they just announce placings? When/how do you get to see the judges card with all the comments? Do they typically have all the intro horses show, pin those, all the training level horses show, pin those, and so on? Or is it just pretty random and they pin everything at the end? Thanks again!

              Comment


              • #8
                Scores and/or placings are rarely announced, although they are usually posted. No "pinning" like in the hunters. We do pin at our schooling show series championship show, but never any other time. You go to the show office and pick up your ribbon and test.
                Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.

                Comment


                • #9
                  A couple other thoughts, from the point of view of a former show secretary of a schooling show series that attracted a lot of people new to showing and new to dressage.

                  There may not (probably not) be a place to longe your horse. I remember some people being upset by that. If it's important that you be able to longe your horse before riding, check with the show secretary to find out if the facility has someplace available. Then you can plan accordingly.

                  We didn't let people take their horses in the show arena at any time unless they were riding their tests. The intent was to level the playing field - nobody could arrive at 6am and school for an hour in the ring and get an advantage over the person who doesn't arrive til later. Also, if it's a combined test run according to eventing rules, you won't be able to take your horse anywhere vaguely near the jumps until you are actually riding over them. We found a lot of hunter people weren't familiar with that, despite our signs saying "no horses allowed" on the jump arena gate. They should provide warmup jumps in a separate area.

                  Dressage shows run on time (or hope to run on time...). You don't have to ride before your scheduled time if they're running early, such as if there's bad weather and a lot of people scratch --- but you will endear yourself to the judge and your fellow competitors and the show management if you're willing to ride a few minutes ahead if the situation presents itself. You will not endear yourself to the mgt. et al if you come galloping across the parking lot from the warmup area two minutes after your scheduled time, especially if the steward has repeatedly reminded you that you're on deck! Best practice is to plan your warmup so you can be standing near the gate during the ride immediately before yours. Some stewards will let you in to walk around the perimeter of the arena, outside the letters, when the rider before you halts and salutes. Then you have a minute or two to show your horse the sights while the judge finishes their comments on that test. You lose this opportunity if you're galloping across the parking lot!

                  Those are the things that stand out in my mind right now. How to say this kindly? dressage shows tend to have less tolerance of chaos than the typical open show or breed show. Some people are highly sensitive to disruption. A lot of the horses don't get exposed to the things that open show/breed show/4H horses do. A lot of the riders don't ride outside the ring much. Just sort of keep that in mind as you go through the day... and have fun!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Here's been my experience:

                    Show up, get directed where to park. Since I'm with someone else, usually we'll unload the horses then one of us will go check us in and the other will start getting ready.

                    Checking in, bring Coggins, receive number for bridle, ask any questions (the first time, I just said up front that I'd never done a dressage show before and asked what I should expect).

                    You should already know your ride times, but they are also posted (last show, some of them got tweaked a bit).

                    For warm up, they had another area to warm up whenever we were ready, but each "class" (usually they grouped about 5 folks doing the same tests into a class) would have about 10 minutes for warm up in the main ring (then everyone would clear out and the first person in the class would come in to do their test).

                    Typically, you'll want to keep an eye on the time and be ready to go near the entrance to the ring as the person before you finishes up their test. Once they've saluted to the judge (at the end of their test!), we were able to enter and start walking around the outside of the ring which we would continue to do as the person left and the judge finished scoring on their sheet. When they were ready, they would ring a bell (actually, I think ours blew a whistle) and we had 30 seconds to get into position to begin the test. That's plenty of time no matter where you are in the ring.

                    You can bring a friend along to call out the test, or possibly the show will have someone willing to do it. I rode mine (Intro A & B) without someone calling it. I don't think they care either way, so long as they know ahead of time.

                    They don't announce classes the way they do at h/j shows, everything is much more quiet, and since your ride time is posted, you're expected to know when to be ready to go. I think if they noticed someone wasn't waiting outside the entrance and it was about to be their turn to go in, they'd send someone looking for the next person (but this was a pretty small show and it wasn't far to look) but there was no calling for that person over a loudspeaker or anything.

                    Scores are posted and your test/ribbon/treat (we all got carrots or apples with our scored tests) is laid out on a table. Again, no announcements, you're expected to come pick them up.

                    Another thing I noticed is there's no hanging out all day like there is for the h/j schooling shows I've been to. There, most everyone shows up before the show starts, and spends the whole day there (because you kinda have to, since you don't know when your next class will start).

                    At the dressage shows, you can show up a reasonable amount of time before your first test and just pick up and go after your last test.

                    My first show, we had to arrive early because our tests were some of the first ones, but we got to leave by about lunch time because we were done. But as we were leaving, people with afternoon ride times were only just showing up.

                    It definitely felt more relaxed and quiet to me than the h/j shows I've been to.

                    If you want to know more about my experiences with it, here's some posts I made about it in my blog:

                    http://adventuresinhorse-dom.blogspo...sage-show.html

                    And some video, this is from a later (colder! Hence the fleece) show than the one I linked to in my blog:
                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYNy-vwI55k
                    The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                    Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I know you get your ride times in advance (love that) but how does warm up work? Is there normally a warm up area?

                      Yes and no- some are really bad about nowhere to ride a straight line or loops, others are great. Varies.
                      Do shows normally allow schooling in the dressage arena the evening before or the morning of?

                      No.

                      Second question, what is the exact procedure for when you actually show. Obviously you ride during your given time slot but isn't there a "bell" that tells you that you need to enter?

                      When the horse before me finishes X/halt/Salute...at that time I start riding quietly around the outside of the dressage court. I want to make a complete lap in both directions if time allows, and it will...I want the horse to see it all with both eyes. I might school a little,too- move up to trot/halt/trot off. When the bell rings you have 45 seconds to begin your test. Swing wide so you come straight in, aimed at C.

                      Do you normally bring your own person to call your test or is there an official person? Is it normal to not have one at all?

                      I am still green enough that I am not comfortable riding a test from memory. My trainer or a fellow student calls the tests. Ideally they call the next item as you've halfway/just past halfway...completed the current one...


                      Check the posted times. If the rides are 5min apart, they will run late. The ride times should be 7-8 minutes apart to allow for the judge and scribe to finish scoring one horse, get the next test sheet out, sip their coffee, and ring the bell.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        scores and placings are not announced, as a rule. That would require instant scoring and most shows are not set up for that.

                        The tests go to the show office where the score keeper adds them up. At the end of the class the test sheets are placed in order and the ribbons usually attached to the test sheet.

                        You go to the office to collect your test sheet after the class has completed, depending on the show about 15 to 30 minutes after. Please do not ask to look at your test sheet before the class is over. Technically the office is supposed to hand the tests to you or they staple the tests shut so no one but you can read the sheet.

                        Sometimes they post the scores as the class runs, but often that is a luxury of space and volunteer support.

                        check your sheet for completeness. There will probably be an adding machine tape on the sheet, Compare to the scores to make sure they are added correctly. Particularly with the coefficient scores which are multiplied.
                        _\\]
                        -- * > hoopoe
                        Procrastinate NOW
                        Introverted Since 1957

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Don't talk or click to your horse while you are doing the test.

                          If you go off course or have another problem while you are in the arena, speak to the judge, not your reader. Do not communicate with the reader while you are doing your test.

                          When you are finished your final salute, you can pat your horse and praise him then.

                          I also think it's important to have the test memorized really well, even though you have a reader. The reader can make a mistake or even read the wrong test (ask me how I know this...). In addition, the better you know your test, the better you can concentrate on your riding and get a flowing performance. For me, the reader is there mainly for reassurance.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Agreed- you should know it, they are there to back you up. I do hate it for anyone to go off course b/c they didn't have a reader- it's not good for anyone's confidence, the horse, the rider, nobody. Once you really know it, sure, forego the reader: but I know for me, I'm nowhere near ready for those training wheels to be removed LOL

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              When the rider before you salutes at the end of her test, start riding quietly around the arena. The judge will still be dictating her collective remarks to the scribe, so you have a couple of minutes to accustom the horse to the arena. Many horses really notice the judge's booth/stand/truck/table, so you may want to ride back and forth a few times, going between the rail and the judge's booth. As you notice the judge and scribe finishing with the previous test, it is good to say, "Good morning, Entry Number 20, riding Training Level Test 2," but that is all you should say. At the end of your test, after the judge returns your salute, it is also appropriate to ride forward a few strides and say, "Thank you," but again, no other comments. If the judge makes a comment to you, such as "Nice job when that other horse got loose," or "You handled it well when the mother ship landed," you can respond briefly with another "Thank you, I thought it might get exciting," but don't stop to have a whole conversation.

                              It is also a nice idea to thank the show management before you leave, and mention the positive things you noticed about the show.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                It's always good to know your tests ahead of time. I had a reader for 2nd 1 last spring, because I hadn't ridden it before.
                                Even though I knew the test and had a reader, I still made an error I think I'll just rely on my brain next time!
                                Mirror Image 2001-2007

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I would strongly suggest reading the rule book. (I know, I am SO predictable.)

                                  http://www.usef.org/documents/ruleBook/2011/08-DR.pdf

                                  There are a TON of ways you can get eliminated (or your reader can get you eliminated) without even trying. See DR124 for starters.

                                  I know you get your ride times in advance (love that) but how does warm up work? Is there normally a warm up area?
                                  Yes (See DR126)

                                  Do shows normally allow schooling in the dressage arena the evening before or the morning of?
                                  Almost never (see DR126.c)

                                  Second question, what is the exact procedure for when you actually show.
                                  When you get to the warm up area, you check in with the warm up steward. Find out if they are doing bit check before or after your ride. Depending on how far the warm up is from the competition ring, the steward may send you down to the ring when you are one-away. Or you may be expected to track it yourself.

                                  Obviously you ride during your given time slot but isn't there a "bell" that tells you that you need to enter?
                                  There may be a bell or a whistle, or a car horn. It is usually pretty obvious.

                                  Until the horse before you finishes (final salute) you need to stay away from the actual ring. Once the horse before you salutes, you can ride around the outside of the ring. Once the bell or whistle is sounded, you have 45 seconds to enter the ring. At that point (before the whistle) the judge is writng the collective remarks. Some will take a while, some will be very quick, but you can figure it out by watching the ones that go before you.

                                  Is it poor etiquette to hang out by the arena on your horse if it's not quite your ride time? In the h/j world it is standard to hang out by the arena until it's your turn but I know with some other disciplines it is frowned upon since your horse may distract others.
                                  As long as you stay far enough away frm the competition arena, and out of the way of people warming up. Again, watch what others are doing.

                                  Do you normally bring your own person to call your test or is there an official person? Is it normal to not have one at all?
                                  If you need a reader, you need to provide him/her. At most schooling shows, most people ride without a reader.

                                  A few more questions- do they announce your score after your ride or do they just announce placings?
                                  Neither. The scorees will be posted as they are calculated. Once all the scores in the class have been posted, they will calculate and post the placings. Then you can go to the office and pick up your test sheet and your ribbon (if any). Very rarely is anything announced other than "results from First 1 have been posted".

                                  When/how do you get to see the judges card with all the comments?
                                  There is no "judges card" with comments on the other horses. You pick up your own test sheet after the class has been pinned.

                                  Do they typically have all the intro horses show, pin those, all the training level horses show, pin those, and so on?
                                  Each class is pinned as soon as all the scores for that class are calculated. The order of the classes depends on how the show is scheduled. Sometimes all the Intro tests are togeter, sometimes they are speard out throughout the day. It depends on the number of riders in each class, and giving them enough time between rides.
                                  Janet

                                  chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    We must be spoiled. At all shows I've gone to in this area, we are allowed to school in the competition arenas on Friday, when the show starts on Saturday. And many times they allow us back in there after classes finish Saturday night to school for Sunday.

                                    And that's for schooling and recognized shows.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      read DR126c in it's entirety and you'll see that both Janet and Yaya are correct with regard to schooling in the ring. It can be done. If it's allowed

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by ACP View Post
                                        At the end of your test, after the judge returns your salute, it is also appropriate to ride forward a few strides and say, "Thank you," but again, no other comments. If the judge makes a comment to you, such as "Nice job when that other horse got loose," or "You handled it well when the mother ship landed," you can respond briefly with another "Thank you, I thought it might get exciting," but don't stop to have a whole conversation.
                                        While this definitely holds true for recognized shows, around here the judges at schooling shows often take the time to give you oral feedback/suggestions after your final salute. Doesn't always happen, but keep an eye on the judges response to the riders before you to get an idea of his/her protocol in that respect.

                                        Comment

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