The Sooke Saddle Club held their sixth annual Dressage Show and Tell event on July 27 to 29 at the Metchosin Riding Ring.
Riders, volunteers, spectators and judges all came down and endured elements like wind and sun for the event.
According to a Saddle Club press release, dressage is the “foundation of all horse riding disciplines.”
Most of the rides during the weekend show were the initial stages, which provide “good rhythm and adjustability to horse gaits (movements).”
The release added dressage is the ideal starting discipline for other equestrian sports like jumping, cross country, western reining, western gaining and driving a cart.
“It truly is amazing how much direction can be provided to the horse with the rider’s weight shifting and subtle leg and hand/arm movements. If you watched or plan on watching dressage competitions, see if you can see the cue for the horse to turn, to adjust from a walk to a canter stride and back down again, to lengthen a trot stride and shorten it back, etc. It should be imperceptible at the upper levels.”
Judges discussed tests with each rider, indicating areas for improvement. The rider was then permitted about 10 minutes to practice in the ring prior to the formal test. At the end of their sessions, riders took home two judged tests with comments, a little prize and ribbon.
Overall, there were 39 sessions, each about 20 minutes in length.
Participants, who ranged in age from six to 50, included usual dressage training students, and a few students from a local hunter/jumper barn, who “stepped it ‘down’” to keep the horse’s four legs closer to the ground for a few minutes.
The event also saw four Para riders attend.
“We had four Para riders who came with their “groom” for the weekend our local BC Summer Games three bronze medalist Para rider Kim Scott (who has competed in previous SSC dressage show and tells). And we had three eventers who came from Shawnigan/Cobble Hill to take part in the show,” stated the release.
“The dressage segment in cross country is probably the most important phase. It really is what can make or break the ride for the eventers.”
Sooke Saddle Club members scored high points on Saturday, July 28, by junior, Ella Constandinou, senior, Eve Ouradou and Para-rider senior, Janet Hall. On Sunday, July 29, senior rider Laura Kennelly also scored high points.
Judging the show was esteemed judge, Sheila Skene. She is a medium dressage judge, and competes in dressage competitions with a Trakhener gelding.
She has competed at FEI Prix St. George level.
The Saddle Club’s next competition is the Fun Show on Aug. 25 at the Metchosin Riding Ring. It will be a flat show geared to English and Western riders, with games in the afternoon.
Keep an eye on the club’s events at their Facebook page or website: http://bit.ly/RIbK6a