Western Dressage Showing Tips

Western Dressage Showing Tips

by Vivian Mevorah, Vice President, Northern California
  1. Check in with the show office and pick up your show packet at your earliest convenience after arriving at the show grounds.
  1. Make sure that you have checked the USEF Western Dressage rules for show attire, tack and illegal equipment.
  1. Check your ride time to make sure that there have not been any changes to the schedule.
  1. Make sure that your competition number is either attached to the brow band on your horse’s bridle (if it has a clip), or pinned to the saddle pad (if it is a paper number) so it may easily be seen by the judge.
  1. Check in with the ring steward at the warm-up arena, and ask if the show is on schedule.
  1. If you need to lunge your horse before mounting, please check with the show management to see which areas allow for lunging your horse before doing so.
  1. When in the warm-up arena, keep your eyes looking up instead of down so you can see what is going on around you.
  1. When going past someone in the opposite direction, the rule is left shoulder to left shoulder.
  1. If you are practicing jog/halt, lope/halt, check to make sure that no one is directly behind you before starting your movements.
  1. Do not gallop your horse around the arena. Only do western dressage test movements.
  1. When you are within a couple minutes of your ride time, go to the ring steward to check whether the ride schedule is on time, and then go to the holding place designated by the ring steward to await your entry.
  1. Do not try to change the order of go with the ring steward. It is your responsibility to ride at your designated ride time, or make the change, if possible, with the show office when you pick up your show packet. Any last-minute changes affect how the rest of the show day runs, and may delay ride times of other competitors. Please be courteous to the other competitors by either riding at your designated time, or scratching your ride if you are unable to meet your ride time.
  1. You are allowed to ride around the outside of the arena after the competitor before you has made their final salute to the judge. As you go past the judge’s stand, it is acceptable for you to say “hello” or “good morning” to the judge as you pass if you wish. From the time that the bell rings for you to enter, you have 45 seconds before you are required to enter the arena, or you can be disqualified.
  1. You will see that there is a judge and a scribe in the judge’s booth. The judge will keep his/her eyes on you your entire ride. The scribe will write down on your score sheet the score and the judge’s comments that the judge dictates to the scribe for each movement as it is performed. At the end of your ride, the judge will write the final comments and then sign the test.
  1. After entering the arena and halt at “X,” you must salute the judge by putting your reins into your left hand, lowering your right hand, and drop your head in a salute to the judge. Do not salute the judge until your horse has come to a complete stop. The judge will then drop her head in a salute back to you. You then pick up your reins and start your test.
  1. If you have a caller, and the caller either calls out the wrong movement or letter, it is still your responsibility to have known the test, and any error you do in your test is deducted from your ride score.
  1. If you go off course during your ride, the judge will ring the bell and tell you where you have gone off course. The judge will instruct you where to go to pick up your last movement and complete your test. Try not to get flustered – this happens to everyone.
  1. After finishing your test and coming to a halt at “X,” salute the judge again, and then walk toward the judge and say “thank you” before you make a turn to go back to exiting the arena. The judge may give you some comments on your ride, at which time you should thank the judge for their comments before leaving the arena.
  1. Volunteer runners go back and forth between the judge’s booth and the show office to bring the score sheets back to the office for tabulation. The show office cannot give you your test until all of the riders in your class have completed their test, and placements have been given. You then can pick up your test and your ribbon. Make sure to read the comments by the judge for each movement, and the overall comments at the end of your test. These comments will help you ride your next test, and will also help you in your training program at home. They are meant to be constructive information for you, so please make good use of this information.
  1. After the official posting of the scores from your class, you have 1 hour in which to review your score for any addition errors. If you find an error on your test, take it back to the show office and ask them to please check to see if what you found as an error is correct.