Such a fun weekend! Izzie and I participated in the Dressage Anywhere, UK Friesian Federation, Friesian League, virtual dressage show. The show season started in January and we just submitted our second entry for March.
In January we entered the Introductory C class and for March we entered the Introductory B class. All of the classes are under British Dressage rules and we’ve choosen to compete within the UK Friesian Federation online Friesian league. It’s super fun to be competing with other Friesian owners and their Friesian horses across the world.
I am so glad we discovered such a great organization and a really fun virtual show opportunity.
The shows are offered every month with classes ranging from Introductory through Advanced Medium level. They also offer non competitive classes, beginner classes and leagues for particular groups such as ex-race horses, para riders, pony club and Friesians which is the division we’ve entered. The classes are judged by certified British Dressage judges and have a list of rules and guidelines to follow to insure everyone is competing equally and under the same rules for attire, filming, arena size etc. Totally legit!
I decided to participate in the Dressage Anywhere virtual shows as a training tool. My goal is to use the dressage test, scores and judges comments to help me better understand where Izzie and I are at in our training. I’m using the different dressage tests as a guide for the areas we need to focus on and the areas we are doing well in. Reviewing the different tests and the elements that are required is also a great way to provide variety and structure in our schooling sessions. It pushes me to incorporate new elements into our training rides so when we perform the test nothing is new or unfamiliar.
The virtual shows are great practice before leaving home for an in person show! It also gives me an idea of how we are doing in the level and what our score might be before entering in a live show event. I like having that peace of mind of feeling “ready” and being able to set appropriate expectations. After showing virtually I have a better idea of how we are performing together as a team in a show setting.
Some things we learned from our first virtual show:
1.) It’s a ton of fun!
I was surprised at how much it felt like a real show. I chose to dress up in show attire and while that is not a requirement, I found that it made it feel even more like an “event.” I memorized my test. I surprised myself at how quickly I was able to memorize the elements this go around. Give it a go…you might surprise yourself too!
2.) For our first test in January we set the ring up in our outdoor jump arena. We used white jump poles on the ground to mark the space and my dressage letters. It was beautiful, everything in white and black. We looked very professional… ready for our international virtual debut.
For March, the jump arena was being used so we set up the arena in our more casual grass arena. Since we didn’t have jump poles we used cones to mark the corners and the perimeter of the arena. While it was a more casual look, it still worked really well. Having set up the arena twice now, plan to give yourself plenty of time. It does take longer than we expected to get everything set up and the arena square! 🙂
3.) I actually got a bit nervous. Crazy right? After all, this is a filmed test and we could video as many rounds as I wanted. Even knowing that, I still got butterflies of excitement before we started filming. Another show prep tool… calming show nerves! A virtual show is great practice. I definitely wasn’t as nervous filming our March entry as I was for January. A sign of improvement. Yay!
3.) British Dressage tests are different than US Dressage tests. In the Introductory C level there are several new elements such as a 10 meter walk circle and a 3 loop serpentine. At Intro B there are half circles, and half squares, and even a 20 meter trot circle allowing the horse to stretch. It has been really fun to add these elements into our practice rides as we prepared for the actual test. It has showed me that Izzie was ready for some new challenges in our training rides and gave me the confidence that I could ask a little more of her in our schooling sessions.
4.) We had our judges score card back really quickly for our January entry. Izzie and I earned a respectable 65.87% which gave us 6th place overall and a pretty purple Ribbon. In the dressage world that’s a solid score. There is definetly room for improvement before we are ready to move to the next level…but a score of 65.87% demonstrates a “satisfactory” implementation of the movements required in Intro C, as noted by our judges comments. Yay Izzie! I’m super proud of her and how we are developing as a team. With this being our first time riding at British Dressage Intro C and our first “show” of the season as a 4 year old, I couldn’t be happier. We are still awaiting our scorecard for our March entry.
5.) Use a tripod for steady filming. It really does make a difference.
For more information and to participate in the virtual shows, check out Dressage Anywhere here: https://www.dressageanywhere.com.
For more information on the UK Friesian Federation visit: https://www.ukfriesianfederation.co.uk
Thank you to these amazing groups for putting on such a fun virtual show series
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