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So, we're taking our 4 yr old hunter prospect to a dressage show...NEW questions

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  • So, we're taking our 4 yr old hunter prospect to a dressage show...NEW questions

    We are taking our 4 yr old mare to a dressage show later in August. We were going to do a hunter show, but she is just not ready to do over fences classes and she needs to get into a ring if she is going to a show for exposure.

    The trainer that owns our barn is a dressage trainer, so she is helping us. She is fairly small time, but good - not a big time show pressure type situation. We are interested in the Materiale class - and trainer is going to watch one in a couple of weeks - but what is expected outside of w/t/c both directions, and a degree of collection (I assume training level frame)? Do the classes run very long? Trainer says the dressage equitation classes can run long. We don't want to over stress the mare by going in circles (ovals) with other horses for 20 or 30 minutes.

    Otherwise, we are doing training 1,2, & 4. Trainer does not like some of the "questions" asked in training 3, so we are skipping that one. So....how bad is it if we show up in a close contact saddle (brown), a matching hunter bridle - fancy stitched of course, and a slow twist D? The D is all one metal - I think I remember copper rollers are not legal, right? We used to ride her in a happymouth, but those are illegal also, right?

    Little mare should do okay otherwise - she's a nice mover and she's athletic. As long as she behaves, she's real good. Otherwise, her arrogant and opinionated self becomes naughty. These days, she is more good than naughty.

    Couple videos from about 2 months ago - http://youtube.com/watch?v=cQUd_O0g2NY (slo-mo trot) and http://youtube.com/watch?v=UltJELUJa4A (canter - but remember she is a hunter prospect - dtr is working on sitting more in the canter). The vids are not real good quality (sorry about that), and are from a trainer we took her to for a short but intense <cough>cowboy<cough> training session in May.

    Thanks for any help and/or tips.
    Last edited by dcm; Jul. 28, 2008, 11:37 PM.

  • #2
    Is the show recognized? If it is, I'm pretty sure you need a proper dressage saddle, white square pad, and black bridle with appropriate bit. Obviously no martingales, etc.

    If it's unrec, I think you'd be fine in a close contact saddle and brown bridle. I took my mare to an unrec dressage show in a all purpose saddle w/ white sq pad and brown bridle and was fine. Same goes for martinagles and all that though, I've never even seen them at schooling dressage shows.

    Also, a small hint from bitter experience: Make sure your daughter memorizes the training level tests really, really well. They are quite similar and very easy to mix up esepcially when your nervous. I'd reccomend not having someone call it becuase it can mess up your focus.

    I know my friend rode her training level mare in an eq. class and was fine, so I think you'd be fine with the training level frame.

    Hope that helps...I'm afraid I'm useless when it comes to bits and whats allowed, I always just played it safe and rode in a simple loose ring french link snaffle. I'm sure someone else can chime in here.

    Good luck!


    • #3
      Your saddle and bridle will be fine, but a slow-twist snaffle is not legal in dressage. Check the USEF rulebook for legal bits- http://www.usef.org/documents/ruleBook/2008/08-DR.pdf -bits are on pages 17-18. Synthetic bits, like a Happy Mouth are legal as long as they conform to the contours of legal bits listed- essentially, only smooth snaffle mouthpieces are permitted.


      • #4
        yup- saddle is fine- pad as long as it's 'conservative' is fine (so white, brown, black navy- so anything legal in hunter ring pad wise is FINE in dressage show)

        Bits- as shown check the link... you can use flash nosebands etc too so perhaps thatplus a legal snaffle will give enough 'control' just in case she gets a 4 year old moment

        Show her just like you train her- just make sure you keep enough impulsion in the canter (vs what was shown in the vid)...
        Qualified Saddle Fitter with the S.M.S.


        • #5
          Forward saddle is fine. Even with a hunter type pad. Field boots are fine.

          Just look at the Dressage section of the USEF rulebook for legal bits. (I was a bit checker at a show and had to eliminate a horse for a Happy Mouth with the bumps. I really HATED that.)

          Have a GREAT time. A great hunter should be able to shine at Training level. Enjoy yourself. And I hope your horse has a good time as well.


          • #6
            Originally posted by dcm View Post
            We are taking our 4 yr old mare to a dressage show later in August.

            Otherwise, we are doing training 1,2, & 4.
            I think everyone covered everything. I would just say 3-4 classes in a day is a bit much. For a 4 year old I would keep it to 2 classes, one as a warm up and a second time in the ring to reinforce. From what I have seen (and experienced with my 4 year old at her first dressage show) twice in the ring in one day is enough, take them in the ring again and again and you can get a sour horse.
            On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


            • #7
              Materiale classes are basic wtc. They are, as a rule, not well attended so you will not be in the ring for long. Judges are very safe with the young horses and might call on individual canters or split out the group for safety

              The purpose is to evaluate the gait and a score is given for each (x3) and an overall impression (x1). In no way is "collection" in the 4 year old vocabulary so level forward balance and freedom of natural movement is what the judge is looking at.

              I agree with others saying 4 rides is a lot. Materiale class is exempt from the 3 ride rule. I never rode above 2 rides in any day when showing T and 1st ; at 2nd and up I stick to 1 ride a day.

              The tack is fine except for the slow twists. Go with the same bit ( loose ring, egg butt) in a smooth finish. There are no color requirements in the tack, conservative is required for the pad. Personally I would stick to white. Conventional traditional ( read no puke green) hunter turn out is OK as well : buff tan white breeches, navy dark brown or black coat is what you are seeing mostly. Chokers are OK as are neckties as well as the usual stock ties. No leg protection inside the ring.
              -- * > hoopoe
              Procrastinate NOW
              Introverted Since 1957


              • #8
                Originally posted by Perfect Pony View Post
                I think everyone covered everything. I would just say 3-4 classes in a day is a bit much. For a 4 year old I would keep it to 2 classes, one as a warm up and a second time in the ring to reinforce. From what I have seen (and experienced with my 4 year old at her first dressage show) twice in the ring in one day is enough, take them in the ring again and again and you can get a sour horse.
                It's a lot more stressful on the horse (and rider) than the "all walk", "all trot", etc. hunter classes.

                So take your brown tack, a proper bit, an elegant reserved saddle pad, your smile, and have a blast!
                Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                • Original Poster

                  Thank you for all your tips! My dtr will be thrilled that she can ride in her own saddle. Bummer on the bit, though. The mare gets strong and needs a little bite in her bit.

                  The show is actually over 4 days, rather, it is 2 2 day shows back to back. Most days are only 1 class, but I think the day of the Material class is two. Days 1 & 2 offer Materiale, and training 1,2,4. Then Days 3 & 4 are Materiale, and training 1,3,4. With training 4 offered each day. Materiale on the last day can be skipped in favor of going home. Not sure how we are setting it up, but if we can avoid the 4th day it would not upset us in the least.

                  My fear is little mare will get too bored in the stall and get naughty. Luckily "home" is less than 30 minutes away - hince the choice of going to this show. She is one of those you have to ride nearly every day or you are in trouble.

                  For a square pad, my dtr has several white baby pads with some tasteful embroidery on the left rear corner. Would these be okay? Otherwise she has a Beval half pad. Should she pick up a regular square pad instead?

                  Any more tips are very welcome.


                  • #10
                    Congratulations DCM! All your girls are growing up, huh?!!
                    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                    • Original Poster

                      Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
                      Congratulations DCM! All your girls are growing up, huh?!!
                      Yes! Finally! All grown up, but still far from independent from Mom. Thought for a while the little mare was going to be the one to put an end to riding for a while, but dtr stuck to her. How is your little one doing?

                      ps - you should see our boy - fat, happy, and getting spoiled by the little girls at the barn. He looks a bit like a mustang though....


                      • #12
                        French snaffle or Dr. Bristol is also legal if you want more bit. A flash might give you enough, even with a regular jointed snaffle. If you use a flash, you'll want the regular caveson up a bit higher on her nose than you would if you were using it alone in hunters. Pad should be fine, even with embroidery, assuming embroidery is something sane like a monogram or barn logo. The rest of the planned attire sounds fine. Make sure that any practice sessions include the halt-salute, especially if dtr plans to carry a whip in her salute hand. Have fun!
                        The Evil Chem Prof


                        • #13
                          If carrying a whip, remember not to salute with the hand holding the whip. In other words, if you hold the whip in your right hand, when you halt just take the whip in your left hand (it's easy since both hands are pretty much together and the left one won't be moving since it will have both reins in it) and salute with your right hand. If you carry the whip in your left hand it's not a problem. Have fun, and remember to breathe!


                          • #14
                            I realize you are just looking for ring experience for your horse.... but you might want to know that at some shows with the young horse classes the judge gets on the microphone and basically tears your horse apart in front of an audience. I'm just letting you know as some people find this type of thing heartbreaking while others prefer the feedback (I like the feedback even though it can be tough to swallow sometimes!). Good Luck at your show.


                            • #15
                              <<but you might want to know that at some shows with the young horse classes the judge gets on the microphone and basically tears your horse apart in front of an audience.>>

                              Just to clarify - the "young horse classes" are the FEI young horse tests and are designed to select the very top 4, 5 and 6 year olds in the country. They are a series of movements ridden like any other test (equivalent to between T/1st for 4yo, 1st/2nd for 5yo and 3rd for 6yos - challenging for each age group). Instead of being scored on each movement, however, the horse receives overall scores for the walk, trot, canter, etc. - more like the collective marks on the tests. This is how scores can easily be in the high 70s/low 80s. The judge is expected to talk to each rider after the tests, often with a microphone if show management can arrange it. Judging quality can vary widely depending on experience with these tests.

                              Materiale classes are ENTIRELY different. All the horses (usually not very many, they aren't very popular) are in the ring at the same time. They are designed to look at breeding stock/offspring. It often includes horses at their first show, and there is absolutely no expectation that they be 'high performance potential' types. Judges are aware of that. I saw a judge (Bill Solyntes, a good egg if ever there was) very kindly pull a lady who had clearly never been to a dressage show over after the class and discreetly explain a few things (like, you shouldn't expect the class to wait for you to finish braiding, I have to eliminate you if you choose not to canter the w/t/c class, etc.). Be warned, though, that materiale classes don't have a specific time to start like dressage rides, so you can be left to wait hunter-style while other breed show classes go!

                              Have FUN! It sounds like you have good advice in real life.


                              • #16
                                you can salute with either hand, so simply salute with the one that does not have the whip in it.
                                -- * > hoopoe
                                Procrastinate NOW
                                Introverted Since 1957


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by dcm View Post

                                  For a square pad, my dtr has several white baby pads with some tasteful embroidery on the left rear corner. Would these be okay?
                                  That's perfect!
                                  Now in Kentucky


                                  • Original Poster

                                    So, after today's ride, dtr wants to know if she can use her white saddle pad with the skull & cross bones embroidery. Yes? No?

                                    Question #2, are ear stuffies allowed?


                                    • #19
                                      You need to go read the rule book. the dressage chapter is well written

                                      ear bunnies not allowed

                                      the embroidery go read the rule there are restrictions on size of saddle pad "embellishments" you are on your own to decide on taste level. Be careful some judges are very conservative and humor impaired.
                                      -- * > hoopoe
                                      Procrastinate NOW
                                      Introverted Since 1957