PATRICIA SMITH: Deciphering Lingo at a Horse Show
Ooooh, it doesn't get any better than this. A Hoofbeats reader gave me a subject for this week's column. Hurray! A non-horsy reader e-mailed me this past week asking the meaning of some of the terms on the calendar.
Since the calendar is Sue Smith-son's baby, she was kind enough to proofread this column to make sure I get all the facts straight. So here goes.
Schooling shows refer to shows that are not nationally recognized by the governing body of the sport, -- such as the USDF (United States Dressage Federation) for Dressage competitors, the USEA (United States Eventing Association) for eventers, the ADS (American Driving Society) for carriage driving events and the USHJA (The United States Hunter Jumper Association) for hunter jumper shows. Some shows like the Pinehurst Dressage shows are recognized by the State Association -- in this case the NCDCTA (North Carolina Dressage Combined Test Association.)
Schooling shows are casual and cost less to enter than recognized shows. They are a training ground for green (inexperienced) horses, young horses and novice riders. They also serve as a warmup for higher level competition for experienced riders and horses.
Schooling Dressage shows may include dressage tests for eventing, dressage, Pony Club, driving, and Walking Horses.
Dressage (pronounced dress-ahhzh) is a French term, most commonly translated to mean "training." Dressage is both a path and a destination of competitive horse training, with competitions held at all levels from amateur to the Olympics. A Dressage test consists of different movements required at precise points along a Dressage ring. Dressage is occasionally referred to as "Horse Ballet."
Horse Trials include three phases: Dressage, cross-country and stadium jumping. A combined test includes only two out of the three disciplines of eventing (or driving.)
Show jumping, also known as "stadium jumping" consists of a series of fences that the horse and rider must negotiate in an allotted time. Jumper classes are scored objectively, based entirely on a numerical score determined only by whether the horse attempts the obstacle, clears it, and finishes the course in the allotted time.
To further confuse the issue, stadium jumping is a sport in its own right as well as a phase in eventing. Often stadium jumping is a division offered at Hunter Jumper shows.
People unfamiliar with horse shows may be confused by the difference between working hunter classes and jumper classes. Hunters are judged subjectively on the degree to which they meet an ideal standard of manners, style, and way of going. Jumper classes tend to be more technical than hunter courses and they are not judged on style but on a numerical score as described above in the explanation of stadium jumping.
The highest level of stadium jumping is called Grand Prix, not to be confused with the Grand Prix Dressage test.
Are your eyes glazing?
You'll notice "mini-CDE" events on the calendar. CDE refers to a combined driving event. Carriage drivers compete in driven Dressage, a cross country marathon with obstacles and a cones class. A "mini" CDE is a schooling show with a shortened marathon.
Due to a lack of space and my diminishing attention span, let's call it quits for explanations of horsy events.
Contact Patricia Smith at email@example.com.
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