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So what is a good score...

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  • So what is a good score...

    For someone who has never done dressage before at her first dressage show? I took my OTTB (we do hunter/jumper stuff) to his first dressage show this past week. He isn't a good mover, but we are a good team...I think. Anyway, I don't know anything about dressage, but did take two lessons from a local instructor and memorized my basic tests. We did training level 2 and 3. I felt like our tests weren't magical, but fine. We scored a 61.25% in the first test and a 63% in the second test. The guy who won scored over 70% on both horses he rode (he looked really good and much more advanced than the rest of us in warm-up) and the rest of the competitors were in the 50's...So is being in the low 60's respectable? The judges comments were very helpful and she did give us an 8 in Harmony, which I am not totally sure I understand, but I'll take it. By no means do I know what I'm doing, but I really had fun and my horse and I enjoyed it so much that I'd like to do more. I'm just trying to get a feel for whether we are embarrassing ourselves by showing with such little experience. I googled it and I garnered that 60's are ok, but not great scores? Should I just keep schooling without showing, or is showing in that range acceptable? Thanks so much.

  • #2
    To me, those are perfectly fine scores and really great for your first time out. That is especially true considering you have had not a lot of instruction.

    The true test is whether you *consistently* get those scores. Some judges are a bit more lenient than others, especially at schooling shows. If you go to a USDF rated show and get in the 60s, you are doing well.

    I had one clinician tell me that when you get to scoring 65% consistently, it's time to move up a level. You aren't that far away from that number.

    I have gotten training level scores from the 30s (a really really bad day) to the mid-60s now. We were consistently getting the 40s and 50s last year when we started training level and we have been slowly moving up this year. I am not ashamed to get those kinds of scores at a schooling show as I go there to *school*, I ride a green horse, and I'm new to dressage. My one rated show this year, done as an experiment, got us a 54.5% and I was very happy with that.

    I would vote that you should take more lessons, learn more about dressage, and keep on going. You're off to a good start.


    • #3
      Those are great scores for your first time out, well done! Training Level is for all horses and riders and H/Js should be able to cross over relatively easily. However, if you want to improve do take some more lessons and ask your instructor to explain the collective marks especially. Those are the foundation principles that really underlie all of your scores, so understanding them should give you insight into the rest of your marks. Good luck!
      Proud COTH lurker since 2001.


      • #4
        For your 1st time, you did great! Good for you!!


        • Original Poster

          Thanks guys! I'm absolutely going to keep taking lessons and working on him. It was so much fun! I will aspire to get in many more lessons and to keep my scores consistent in the 60's...and hopefully better.

          My next question...I only have H/J 'stuff' and was very much the only one in in my jumping saddle and H/J attire. How far can I get away with this? Obviously, if we become more serious (which I can see) I will invest in the real deal, but for starters can I get away with what I have all the way through training level? Even if I make it to a 'real'/not schooling show?


          • #6
            Perfectly respectable scores for the first time out. Keep up the good work. You can ride in the H/J saddle probably through 1st, after that it is more difficult.


            • #7
              Great job!

              As for your saddle, if it is an all-purpose type then it should easily take you through 2nd level. If it is a jumping saddle then it should take you through 1st without trouble.

              If you look at old pictures of dressage riders they all rode in what we would consider all-purpose type saddles. Really, if your saddle fits properly, you have a good seat, and independent aids, then it won't be an issue for you for a while.

              Good luck.


              • #8
                Good for you! That sounds like an excellent start!
                In our area scores seem to vary depending on the level of the show. Schooling shows being the most lenient, and as I discovered a couple of weekends ago CDI judges are the toughest. Not that I was riding in the CDI - I was in the National division but they utilized the judges they had brought in for the CDI.
                Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines.


                • #9
                  Those are very good scores, especially for your first time out! Sounds like you are on the right track!


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by showidaho View Post
                    Thanks guys! I'm absolutely going to keep taking lessons and working on him. It was so much fun! I will aspire to get in many more lessons and to keep my scores consistent in the 60's...and hopefully better.

                    My next question...I only have H/J 'stuff' and was very much the only one in in my jumping saddle and H/J attire. How far can I get away with this? Obviously, if we become more serious (which I can see) I will invest in the real deal, but for starters can I get away with what I have all the way through training level? Even if I make it to a 'real'/not schooling show?
                    If "getting away with" you mean will you not be penalized, the answer is yes, you will not be penalized as long as you are riding in an "english type" saddle, until you are riding at the FEI level. That's when a dressage saddle is required. And your attire is also fine --even at the FEI level, where as long as your jacket is dark and your breeches are white or a light color you are good to go.
                    Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.


                    • #11
                      Pretty much agree with everyone else. Consistency of scores is important. A score in the 60s, first time out, is *great*!

                      Here's a rule of thumb gleaned from many COTH posts:

                      score below 50: you either are in no way ready for this level, or your horse had a really bad day, usually due to being spooked
                      scores in the 50s: not great but to be expected when starting at a level (also can happen when a well-trained pair has a bad day)
                      scores in the 60s: good scores, you are showing at an appropriate level
                      scores in the 70s: might be time to move up to the next level if you can

                      Collective marks have become more important so do work on any weaknesses that show up there.
                      You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                      1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by showidaho View Post
                        The judges comments were very helpful and she did give us an 8 in Harmony, which I am not totally sure I understand, but I'll take it.
                        Unless your horse got a 5 or lower for gaits (which seems very unlikely with a (GASP) 8 for harmony), keep going!

                        You are satisfied with what IMO are the two best reasons to show: get helpful comments and have fun ... so it's time and money well-spent.

                        To put the 8 in context it's a *very* pleasant ride to watch and you and your horse looked well-suited and happy with each other!


                        • #13
                          You will be fine in your stuff for a while; you can now post the trot at first level (not sure if its all three tests or not..) but once you are ready to show first, you will want to look for the dressage saddle so that you can sit and be more effective in training the lateral work.
                          I showed a TB through PSG and it took me FOREVER to be able to sit his trot. Never could have done it in a hunter type saddle!!
                          If you are thinking re the saddle try as many as you can from friends/other boarders etc. It will give you a better idea what works for you and the horse; TBs can be sometimes tricky to fit. There is another thread here re "shark fin withers"

                          Have fun and congrats on a good first show
                          We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........