Everyone knows that horse people are a little crazy, whether they obsess over who’s horse is cleaner or if their family member bought the right bag of treats. Horse people always show friends, coworkers, and complete strangers their best pictures of their horses.
But if you haven’t been to a Dressage Show then you are entering into a whole new level of craziness. I, myself, is a crazy horse lady, who in fact competes in dressage competitions. So I know first hand just how insane it can get.
Your looking at me like, “What?”
Well, here’s the level of insanity I’m talking about and a bit of comparison. Don’t worry, I’ve competed in Hunters, Jumpers, and Dressage so I feel I have the right to give a little insight on how it actually is.
Jumpers: you can show up at the show thirty minutes late, mud caked to both you and your horse, school over a couple jumps, learn the course in five minutes and still win the class. Jumpers don’t care (unless you have an awesome trainer who wants you to look good while you show, like I did).
Now for Dressage: There’s so much you have to do to go to a dressage show.
First there’s the lessons, your legs are killing you by the end of each lesson you take, your horse is mad at you for making her bend around the corner when she didn’t want to, and the amount of sweat that pours from your body by the end could fill up a swimming poor.
Second is the prep. Bathing, tack cleaning, braiding, packing the trailer, and making sure your transportation works. Now, you’re an equestrian yourself and you tell me that you do this for every show, granted this usually does happen every show, but as a dressage rider, you have to be perfect.
White breeches, black show coat, and white shirt and stock tie all have to be clean. Your tall boots polished so you can see your reflection and your horse has to look just as good.
It’s hard work!
At a Hunter or Jumper show, there are tons of people, horses and dogs. But at a dressage show, it’s silent. I swear you can hear a mouse making a nest in the bushes thirty yards away.
I’ve never been to a quiet show until I transitioned over. There are maybe ten horses and riders at a local show, less if you go to a smaller show. Each has their turn in the ring while the others warm up. It’s like no one ever talks at these things.
And the tests are sometimes hard to remember. They use letters and movements rarer than jumps and microphones. It’s memorization. All of it. I have a show this Saturday the 19th and I don’t even know my tests. I’m in for a rocky ride. HA!
If you want to impress the show judge, make sure your saddle fits, your horse is supple, and your tack is clean. The way to win is focus, determination, and a horse you trust and behaves. And have fun!
Any questions, comments, or just want to talk, let me know.