Dressage Ireland must have come a bit loose at the edges, they decided in all their wisdom, to let me run a training show. Somewhere down the line I think my idea of a training show and their idea took different paths and veered off in opposite directions. I’m not sure how they feel about the outcome but I was privately content. Training shows or schooling shows are a bit of a new design here in Ireland, we hardly have enough numbers to fill an official show let alone an additional schooling show. That said, the reins of command had already been handed over and I was signing off on things before anyone had even a moment to say no. I wanted to use this show as a prototype for the schooling show series that we’re running over January. I managed to recruit a few volunteers from my college course to come along for the day and help out, a few of them total newbies to horses but as we all know it’s all hands on deck at dressage shows. As well as the usual todo list, I wanted to spend as much time with each rider as possible, finding out where they felt the strength and weaknesses of dressage shows were and what they would like to see at future shows. We did have a good turnout.The young horse class had some super potential stars and there was a large contingent for the preliminary classes from the regions riding clubs as well as the smallest child I’ve ever seen on the back of a runaway pony, luckily for him, his tiny pony ran away totally in rhythm and on the bit. He was most pleased to get a ribbon and beat his older brother in the same class.
For me, there’s a shortfall for riders like this, who are new to the sport and a schooling show is an ideal opportunity to entice the into the discipline of dressage. As well as a way for the dressage association to assess the service it’s giving to it’s members. The new series next month will be four Sundays of pure dressage, combined training (dressage and Jumping) and showjumping. The philosophy of these shows is to allow riders to try dressage without the entrapments of normal competition. Already there are quite a few entries, with divisions for young horses, eventers and pony clubbers. It’s at a fabulous facility that regularly runs jumping shows and are on the band wagon to encourage dressage as a general way of training for our Irish horses and riders. I’ll add a link to their website and some pictures as the series begins. I’ll also be competing Rex at the series, to give him a bit of an outing before the spring show season kick off. If you haven’t been able to access the video of him from the nationals of the photographs let me know and I’ll post a link.