• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

Recognized Shows - Worth It?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Recognized Shows - Worth It?

    I am torn!

    I have been successfully showing my horse at local, 4H and schooling shows for three years now - through Training Level test 4, scores in the high 60s (last show we did in August was T1 67%, T2 69%, & T3 68%), and year-end GMO championships 2 years in a row. I have always wanted to do a USEF/ USDF show but have never had a ride, the money, and a trainer to help me all at the same time

    Now I am looking at shows coming up in May, as it is still frozen up here in New York, and I am wondering whether it will be worth it to go for one or more shows.

    I could

    A) resign myself to another year of schooling shows, move up to 1st level and be able to do several shows for the same amount or less thana couple of USEF/ USDF shows

    B) start saving for expenses now and plan on one or two recognized shows for the summer, which could be fun or really stressful...

    C) try to do one recognized show and one or two schooling shows which would probably put me out of the running for any sort of year end awards

    Also, if I do decide to work towards recognized shows (which my trainer has told me I and my horse are more than ready for) I need to start saving NOW. But for what?

    Should I get a USEF membership or pay non member fees? Should I get lifetime registration for my horse or get a one time horse ID? Should I try to save for a new coat (I have an old, not great fitting black hunt coat that has seen me through shows since I was 12!) or should I try to save for new boots (I have comfortable, WRINKLY field boots!)? Should I bother getting a Participating Membership w/ USDF (I have a GMO membership) - what if heck freezes over and our scores end up being great???

    Please, somebody give me some advice!

  • #2
    Unless you are a SERIOUS competitor and/or professional who is trying to build a resume or create a name for yourself/your horse, I would stick to the schooling shows. They are fun, less stressful and give you an opportunity to get feedback on yourself and your horse. Go to as many as you can afford. To me that is more valuable than going to 1 or 2 expensive rated shows where you will be more stressed. Going to enough of these to get over the jitters is probably unaffordable, let alone the new coat, boots, etc., etc.
    Savor those rides where you feel like a million bucks, because there will be those where you feel like a cheap date...


    • #3
      Forget the new clothes. Really, as long as you don't look like a mounted bag-lady, no-one is going to notice.

      Personally, I prefer recognized shows because the judges are generally far more experienced--or at least that is the case around here--and the feedback is better quality.


      • #4
        I'd say you should do at least one recognized show just for the experience. I always had fun at mine. It's just such a different atmosphere than a schooling show. Might be a bit more stressful, but in the end I really enjoyed it. I did think the judging was a little better quality (just for the record I have had many fabulous judges at schooling shows too). You should really try one since you and your horse are doing so well. I would not go unless I was doing really well at the schooling shows, which in this case you are. Good luck!


        • Original Poster

          Thanks for the insights, keep them coming!

          I really do enjoy showing and many times I am one of the only people around me that is not stressed out - and this is at SCHOOLING shows! I totally understand where my horsey buddies are coming from when they say they hate showing, but I like the challenge!

          I guess I should start saving regardless of what I want to do, as there are no free rides


          • #6
            I would stay with the GMO membership for USDF, but unless you are sure you will be only going to one rec. show, you'll save money by joining USEF. ($55 for membership, versus $30 for non- member fee at each show!)

            As far as horse registration: you'll pay $20 for a HID, but that fee will be counted towards a lifetime registration, if you change your mind later on.

            I like schooling shows, but I am going the recognized route right now to earn scores towards my bronze metal.


            • #7
              I'm biting the bullet and going for it this year - I have a fantastic horse who just became available, and first-class instruction, so I would feel bad at least NOT trying. But I'm nervous. I get nervous at little shows, so I can only imagine what the pressure is going to be like. I've been coached well to focus, and I love the horse, so I'm going to try to just concentrate on us.


              • #8
                Sounds like you've been very successful at TL for the last few years. My advice would be save the money that you would put into shows (schooling or recognized) and put it into training you, the horse or both so that you can move up to the next level. I had a very successful year at TL with my 4yo and then took a year off from showing in order to be able to really get better and be ready to move up.

                I absolutely LOVE showing....I think it is just loads of fun and my horse seems to like it too. But putting the show money into extra lessons/clinics/etc has done me worlds of good and now we are ready to get back out there at First level and beyond. I don't see the point in wasting my money over and over for someone to tell us we're good at the same thing. I want to be good at NEW things

                And I wouldn't waste the money on new clothes or boots. I showed in my old hunter field boots forever, they have only been replaced this year because I am just sick and tired of pull ons. I showed in a borrowed coat & stock tie for over a year, the only thing I bought for showing dressage was a pair of white breeches. Everything else is hunter-ring carry over!

                Lots of luck whatever you decide!
                "There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it"


                • #9
                  It sounds like you are ready to take the plunge!! If its affordable without stressing you out finacially, I think recognized shows are worth it. I am not sure where "the frosty north" is, but around here many schooling shows are judged by "L" judges....which doesn't make them bad judges, just less experienced with less formal judges training. In a recognized show, you might end up riding for a large R or an S judge and get a more trained eye.

                  I find that showing recognized will also take me out of my comfort zone and nudge me a step higher in my horsemanship. You will learn to deal with additional issues..... more pressure (you cant help it...now matter how friendly the environment....you will probably feel more nervous...its natural), usually a more crowded warm up, and more to think about in preparing for show time such as braiding, taking off boots or wraps, etc. You will tend to see a higher quality of riding and see higher levels at a recognized show and this can train your eye. I always find that I ride better at a high quality recognized show because I naturally try to fit in with all the hot shots around me in the warm up!! lol!

                  If you can only do one or two recognized shows this year, I would choose the show based on the judges and the footing. I don't necessarily want to ride in front of the easiest or kindest judge...I want the one with the keenest eye for the basics. Also, your horse will go better on good footing so that is a key component for me in choosing a show. If your horse is not used to being worked on grass, try to avoid a show that puts training level in a grass ring. Otherwise your horse may feel less secure and be less likely to strut his stuff.

                  Don't worry about buying new clothes as long as what you have meets the rules for show attire and is neat and tidy.

                  You will need 8 scores at training level (see USDF website for complete rules) to qualify for year end USDF awards. So if that is not a possibility and year end awards are an important goal for you, you may want to leave some schooling show money in the kitty so you can qualify for your GMO awards. Of course you could also try to qualify for Regional Finals and go to that Championship....that only takes two qualifying scores at the highest test of the level.... and you can win jackets and money and really cool neck ribbons!!

                  Have a great season!!


                  • #10
                    No one is really able to decide for you.

                    As far as blowing enough money for a couple shows on a coat: I never think tack or clothing is important. Neither does the judge. People fuss like mad and wonder if brown goes with black, but the judge really does not care, if he's a good judge. A coat can be bought used or borrowed.

                    I think a lot of it depends on your goals and your area.

                    As to the area, if the schooling shows have very good judges, footing and facilities, as they do in some areas, the schooling shows are fine for most purposes.

                    But it really depends on what you want to do. If for you shows are a place to win ribbons and local awards, and you don't care if you move up the levels or not, that's one thing.

                    If on the other hand, these lower levels are simply a place for you to check your horse's training and you view them as preparation and a guide for moving up the levels, that's a very, very different thing.

                    If the judge is for you actually giving you an 'examination' on your training so you can progress on a sound foundation, rather than a ribbon, it's' a very different kettle of fish.

                    Many people are in this situation - they have a helpful local person, but the person hasn't trained horses or competed beyond training or first level or has very limited experience doing that with only 1-2 horses. They serve more as an 'eye on the ground' or helper than a trainer, and the student relies very heavily on the judge to keep him on the right track as he moves up the levels. He is VERY concerned about who judges him, and the judge is going to be the ONLY contact he has with a much more upper level, experienced trainer who's brought many horses and students up the levels; he can't afford to take a few weeks off work a year and toodle off to a top trainer.

                    In some areas, schooling shows have L candidates or small r judges, and less broadly experienced 'R' judges, and even, judges with no certification or training as a judge at all.

                    In some isolated areas, many judges are 'lapsed little 'r's' or lower, and may not have gone to a single judge's seminar in decades; some of the judges 'got in when it was very easy' and never had much experience training dressage, or behing trained as a judge. This isn't even that unusual in some of the stronger dressage regions. Local riding teachers often judge schooling shows, even judge their own students, and they may have very obvious biases.

                    They have no hope of affording anything higher for schooling shows. While some of these judges are quite good and DO have experience moving horses and riders up, many do not.

                    In that situation, the rider has to make a choice. He may even get a lot of blue ribbons if he sticks to the schooling shows, but he may doubt he's really getting what he needs.

                    If the schooling shows had tougher, more experienced judges, they might suit him quite well. But if the judging or footing is in doubt, he may be putting his horse and himself further from his real goals.


                    • Original Poster

                      Thank you all so much!

                      The barn where I board usually has two or three schooling shows a year, so I would be able to do those without any new equipment OR any trucking, so I think I will enter those, but also shoot for the stars with one or two recognized shows.

                      I live in Central NY and while we used to have a recognized show here every year (the CNYDCTA Classic) it is no longer being run. So the closest shows to me are ~1.5 hours away

                      I was so excited about the prospects of doing a recognized show that I googled all the show grounds and made an excel doc with how long it would take to drive to each

                      slc2 - good point about the clothes, I hadn't really put two and two together there but yeah, a new coat or new boots would cost about the same as a show or two! I am just COVETING a beautiful 4-button frock with velvet collar but I guess I will scour ebay and keep on using my trusty hunt coat. It's gotten me this far!

                      I definitely want to move up this year to 1st; one of the only things we had a hard time with in TL was the stretchy circle, but I incorporate some long and low into most rides now and he is much more willing to stretch down and out instead of down and... OMIGODwhereareyou?? nose to the chest So maybe I will do 1st at the schooling shows but stick with TL at recognized?

                      I don't know enough about the different judges to know who would be good to show under but I will talk to my trainer. She is also against grass footing so I'll bet she knows where to avoid.

                      Again thank you all, I will keep everyone posted on what we do once it thaws out up here!


                      • #12
                        another path is to volunteer at the recognized shows and get a feel for the environment. Scribing allows you to sit with these judges and eventually learn stuff you can use!!! If you cannot ride for the judges, sitting with them can be as good ( sometimes better) and costs nothing but gas money.

                        Also shows are a great place to find used clothes. A larger GMO or a regional web site might alsohave a source for used clothes.

                        I will be selling my show clothes this Spring as I am getting out of showing and retiring my horse.
                        -- * > hoopoe
                        Procrastinate NOW
                        Introverted Since 1957


                        • #13
                          Another thing to think about. If you ever decide to go for your USDF medal(s), you will need two scores at each level from recognized (USDF) shows. So this might be the chance to get your Training level scores. Next year, you can set your sights on your First Level scores.

                          I wouldn't worry about going for USDF Regionals - that adds so many more expenses. Your horse would have to be both USEF Registered and USDF Recorded, and you would have to be a USDF Participating member (instead of a GMO member). So you've added several hundred $ just in memberships.

                          The only reason to bump up to USDF Participating membership would be if you hoped to go for USDF HOY or All Breeds, and as already pointed out, that is 8 scores (from 4 different shows and judges). $$$$$

                          SLC is totally right - if your tack fits your horse and is legal, and your clothes fit you and are legal, why bother buying new stuff? Ask for that dressage coat for Christmas

                          I do think you can get good feedback from schooling shows, and some of the L judges have more formal training than some of the old time r and R judges, but there is nothing like getting the real thing from a real judge who is out there judging on a regular basis. Before you jump into spending the $ on a big show, maybe volunteer at one, watch what goes on, get an idea of how much the expectations bump up, and if possible scribe for a judge.

                          Big warning - you might get hooked and want to attend recognized shows all the time.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by atr View Post
                            Forget the new clothes. Really, as long as you don't look like a mounted bag-lady, no-one is going to notice.

                            Personally, I prefer recognized shows because the judges are generally far more experienced--or at least that is the case around here--and the feedback is better quality.
                            I agree w/both parts of this.

                            FWIW, I use schooling shows as exactly that - opportunities to school in a different place. The feedback I get at schooling shows is not really relevant for the most part. Sometimes I get outrageous scores just because the horse is on the aids.. sometimes I get crazy comments (horse needs more bend in training level, and the judge asked me to approach so she could tell me to torque his head around so I would get a better score ) sometimes the comments are accurate and thats nice but..

                            if it means something to me, I would rather show at a recognized show in front of a judge whose opinion matters to me, and whose commentary I can trust to be accurate.

                            But that's just me.
                            "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                            • #15
                              Just FYI, training level scores do not count towards USDF medals.

                              Bronze requires scores at 1st/2nd/3rd level.