Mid-South Eventing & Dressage Association

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  • 12/16/2018 9:23 AM | Anthony Trollope (Administrator)

    Holidays are hard—there’s presents to find, buy, wrap and mail; meals to shop for and prepare; travel arrangements to make; cards to buy and address; and so, so much more. It’s important to remember those who care for our horses when our schedules get a bit too wild; because of them, we can skip a day or two at the farm and know our four-legged loves are well cared for and happy.

    By Sarah E. Coleman


    Working with horses can seem a thankless job at times—the rain, snow and wind can be relentless in winter, and the heat and humidity brutal in summer months. Whether you board your horse and are looking for a thoughtful way to thank a barn owner and the farm help, or you’re a farm owner looking for a way to show your appreciation for your staff this time of year, a little thought goes a long way. Consider these gifts as a small way to say “thank you” for the care your horse receives.

    • Purchase a prepaid cards to Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts or other local coffee shop where they might stop in and get a warm drink before work.

    • Gift cards, whether they’re general Visa cards or to a gas station you know they frequent, are always welcomed, as are cards to stores like Kroger or Wal-Mart. There’s something so nice about not having to pay for life’s necessities like soap or paper towels every so often!

    • If you know their sizes, consider buying warm winter garb like gloves, an Under Amour base layer, wool socks or a TrailHead beanie (that feels more like wearing a ball cap!). Want to splurge a bit more? Winter riding breeches, Carhartts or gift cards to stores like Gander Mountain or Cabela’s are all welcomed holiday treats.

    • Any items engraved with a special horse’s name is heartfelt, whether on a bracelet, keychain or charm. Additionally, saddlepads, hats, bumperstickers, jackets, sweatshirts and more emblazoned with a farm name makes everyone feel like part of a team.

    • If you board at a barn where the barn owner or staff will be feeding Christmas morning, offer to feed and do chores so they might spend a meaningful morning with their family and little ones (as long as this is OK with your family!). A respite from the grind of everyday farm work is appreciated any time, but even more so during the holidays if it garners them more time with family and friends.

    • Give the gift of knowledge. Know someone who’s hungry for more horse info, all the time? Get them a gift to an equestrian magazine, a pass to audit or ride in a local clinic, or include a note that you’ll download some good equine-based podcasts right to their phone.

    • Homemade treats, for both humans and horses, are always welcomed—especially if the receiver has first dibs on whether or not to share!

    • If a bit of pampering is in order, a massage or manicure/pedicure is thoughtful. Even if these services are outside the box for some farm staff, the self-care is necessary, even if they don’t make it a habit.

    • Get other boarders together to offer a larger, farm-centric gift, such as a new farm sign, trailer decals or other, more-expensive gift.

    • Not into monetary gifts? Create a coupon book that offers anything from free tack cleaning to feeding and turnout to clipping and mane pulling.

    No matter what you choose to gift—or not—making a point to thank those who help you with your horsey habit is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Make it a point to show your thankfulness this holiday season.


  • 11/21/2018 11:52 AM | Anonymous

    For many horse owners, trailering a horse is a routine part of equine ownership. However, transporting a live animal shouldn’t be taken lightly. While some precautions aren’t necessary for short trips, they are advisable for longer jaunts.

    By Sarah E. Coleman


    It’s the time of year that some horse owners begin to think about heading South to continue competing and get more training where the weather is a bit more pleasant. While easy to get into the groove once they arrive at their destination, there is a bit of prep work to be done beforehand for both horse and transportation devices to ensure a safe trip.

    While there are many things horse owners know they must do before loading a horse into a trailer (like checking tire pressure and that all the lights work), there are some things that get lost in the shuffle. The following guidelines can help ensure a safe journey:

    • Make sure the horse has the right paperwork to cross state lines—and make it’s easily accessible (as in, put it in the truck). Additionally, open a conversation with your vet to be sure you have the right vaccinations on board for the disease threat your horse will be exposed to while he is away from his home farm.
    • When stopping for fuel or to give your horse a rest, monitor your horse’s vital signs, including pulse and respiration rate, and have a quick peek at his gums or test his skin with the pinch test to be sure he’s not becoming dehydrated. Once you arrive at your destination, watch him carefully, checking these things as well as his temperature at least once a day.
    • It goes without saying that you should have a well-stocked first-aid kit, but be sure it’s within reach should you need it in a hurry.
    • While the length of time to travel before stopping and allowing horses to rest is highly debated, the average consensus seems to be that horses should be allowed to rest every 3 to 4 hours during transport for a minimum of 20 minutes.
    • Consider carrying more than one spare tire and make sure that the spare, the aid to lift the trailer and any other tools are not so buried in the trailer that they can’t be easily reached.
    • While dehydration is a major concern during transport, talk with your vet to determine if electrolyte supplementation is necessary; UC Davis reports that “excessive or uncontrolled administration of electrolytes may actually have an adverse effect on water and electrolyte balance in the horse.”
    • An additional conversation to have with your vet is if a horse should be offered a medication to prevent ulcers prior to, during and immediately after shipping.
    • Consider withholding grain the day of the trip (he will have loads of hay to nibble) to reduce the risk of colic.


    Additionally, to lessen the chance your horse will get ill during transport, consider the following:

    • Ensure the horse has the ability to lower his head while traveling so he can clear his airway
    • Consider shipping with a buddy to make the trip less stressful
    • Make sure the trailer is as ventilated as possible; however, windows should be opened or closed as weather indicates to keep the trailer at a comfortable temperature for the horse
  • 11/21/2018 11:24 AM | Anonymous

    Thanksgiving is the time of year when we seem to get a brief reprieve in the busy-ness of life. The summer chores, horse shows and events have slowed and we can catch our breath for a minute before we delved into the madness of the holidays.

    By Sarah E. Coleman


    As horse people, we are innately tied into the rhythm of the seasons; of the coming of spring and shedding season; of the heat of summer and stockpiling hay in preparation of cold weather to come; and of the cold as it comes and how our horses prepare themselves for the chill. We are blessed to be in nature, to see the beauty that surrounds us and to deeply love another creature. This holiday is a wonderful time of year to sit and reflect on the past year and be thankful for all that has been brought to us, and to look ahead with hope and optimism.

    In the spirit of thankfulness, we asked MSEDA members: What are you most thankful for with regards to horse sand farm life?

    My horses are truly my therapy. I am happiest when riding and a bad day is made better after sitting on my horse. They are my church pew. -- Molly DePerna

    Friends made with other horse-crazies. -- Marie Petroni

    My daughter has learned so much through riding I can’t name them all to be thankful for. -- Michelle Metcalf

    Other horse owners are thankful for a plethora of things. These include:
    Barn kitties! – Melissa King


    The pure unadulterated joy and love he brings me. Especially now with everything going on in my life, he is my everything. – Lori White

    The fact that it’s an instant group of friends/family every time you move to a new place where you know no one. – Marion Maybank

    Centeredness. Gratitude. Learning to be vulnerable. – Carli McKelvey

    Horses took me from little old New Zealand to travel the world and eventually settle in my childhood dream state SPECIFICALLY Lexington! I owe them everything. – Emma Lyster

    I am thankful horses are the reason I see the beautiful farm sunrise, every day. I am thankful for the friends and career they’ve brought me. I am thankful horses have taught (and constantly remind me) to be more patient, always seek more knowledge, and always look to improve.  What I like about the equestrian lifestyle? The saddlepads, definitely! – Kimberly McCormack

    I was finally able to start taking lessons when I turned 30. Before those lessons, I only rode Western for one summer as a young teen. I knew it would be expensive. I knew I was already so behind the game due to starting so late in life and never sitting in an English (barely there!) saddle. I also knew that this was my chance to realize a lifelong dream, even if I would only be able to do it, at most, 60 minutes a week. Flash forward to 8 years later, I am so thankful for my trainers who taught, pushed and yelled at me and told me that I COULD do it. I am so thankful for all the friends and connections I have made because of riding. It is a community that I'm proud to be a part of. I am thankful for my beautiful mare that, after 2.5 years of owning her, I still can't believe is mine. I am thankful for my ribbons, no matter what color, that remind me of how far I've come and of the goals that I still want to achieve. I am thankful for my husband who fully supports my habit. Riding has enriched my life in ways that I never would have expected. – Sarah Seitz

    Horses give me relief from my anxiety (believe it or not). When I had to take a break to have my son, it was the worst time in my life mental-health wise. Now that I'm back in it, I can't go without. I missed them so much and they have saved me so many times. – Drew Kemerling

    On the list of bazillion things I'm thankful for I am most grateful for all the people I meet through the barn and horses. My very best friendships in the world all began around a horse. – Tracy Walling

  • 11/05/2018 8:08 AM | Anonymous

    Horse show warm-up rings can be busy enough to strike fear in even the most-seasoned professional’s heart. Use these tips to survive the chaos so you can shine in the show ring.

    By Sarah E. Coleman



    As the weather gets colder, warming up before a dressage test or jumping round becomes even more important to keep equine limbs and muscles limber. However, with the onset of cooler temps comes the issue of limited space to warm up, as all competitors are forced to do their riding preparation indoors before stepping into the show ring.

    The warm-up can be a chaotic place for even the most seasoned exhibitors. Horses seem like they are going every which way, people are calling (or not calling) fences you happen to be riding by and without fail there is at least one horse who is truly losing his mind. Add in trainers calling out instructions to their students, people standing and having a chat on the rail or in the middle of the ring, and you have one potentially harrowing experience, for both humans and horses.

    So how can you make the most of your show-ring prep time? While many of these are common sense, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of how to make the warm up as safe as possible for all horses and riders.

    • Make sure you are 100 percent prepared to work before you walk into the warm-up ring. This means having the girth tightened, helmet secured, stirrups adjusted and gloves on.
    • Keep a safe distance between horses. At least one horse length between you and any other horse (and more space for more-anxious horses) ensures your safety and that of your horse.
    • Always pass left shoulder to left shoulder.
    • Go with the flow of traffic whenever possible. Some horses cannot mentally handle other horses coming at them head on, no matter how many warm-up rings they have been ridden in.
    • Look where you’re going. Yes, your horse’s ears are super cute, but looking up and using your peripheral vision will help you know where others are in the ring to keep you both safe.
    • Speed takes the rail. If you’re going slower than others in the ring, or if you’re working on specific movements or lateral work, stick to the inside track.
    • If you’re in a warm up ring for jumping, be sure to call your fence, every time. If there are multiple warm-up fences, call out which one you’re taking (red cross rail, middle vertical, oxer, etc.) so others have time to get out of the way.
    • In a jump schooling ring, if at all possible, avoid the urge to circle. If you don’t see a distance, riding to the side of the fence is preferable to circling and potentially getting in another rider’s way.
    • If you’re sitting on a coffee-and-chat horse that doesn’t need a lot of show-ring prep, get in the ring, school and get out. Don’t lollygag around, chatting with friends or riding multiple riders abreast. Others need the limited space in the ring more than you do.


    Remember that the warm-up ring is not a place to train your horse; it’s meant to be a place to go in, show the horse his surroundings and work off some anxious energy before going in to compete.  Additionally, if your horse truly is having a breakdown in the warmup, it’s best to remove yourself from the situation before you make things worse of other riders. Your best bet to warm up may be hacks up and down the driveway or lunging in a smaller area outside of the designated warm-up ring.

    Minding your manners and being aware of other riders goes a long way to making the warm-up ring safe for both horses and riders. Understanding that you may not get to work on everything you would like to and remaining flexible will allow you to have a safe, productive warm-up ride and set the stage for a stellar show-ring round.

  • 10/12/2018 10:40 AM | Anonymous

    For most of us, nerves are par for the course during competition. But the anxiety you feel doesn’t have to zap your concentration.

    By Sarah E. Coleman

    So, it’s show day. You’ve prepared as much as you possibly can, from the hours in the saddle to memorizing your test to cleaning every piece of tack (and the horse!) to the best you’re able. So, why so anxious, even with all this preparation?

    Nerves and anxiety at horse shows are normal, but it’s imperative that you learn to channel your nervous energy so you don’t make your mount a raging lunatic or get so overwhelmed that you literally don’t make sense.

    Changing Anxiety to Enthusiasm

    Equestrians are nothing if not passionate. The main reason riders get anxious at horse shows is that it’s something about which they care deeply. While this is a wonderful thing (it would be silly to spend that much time and money on something if we don’t care about the outcome!), it’s imperative that these emotions be kept in check so that you give yourself and your horse the chance to really shine.

    Anxiety in a controllable form is not a bad thing; this emotion heightens your awareness of what is going on and quickens your response time. Excitement and nervousness elicit the same physical response; so be excited to horse show—not nervous to go in the ring!

    The Bare Minimum to Keep Nerves at Bay

    While some of these seem silly—or downright impossible if you’re insanely crunched for time—each of these is crucial to setting yourself up for show-ring success. Excess nervous energy has been the demise of many a dressage test or showjumping round, so do your best to quell your anxiety by:

    • Keeping a steady stream of nutrition in your body, especially if you ride late in the day
    • Breathing deeply, taking air all the way into your lungs; shallow breathing can cause you to hunch your shoulders and channel anxiety to your horse.
    • Staying hydrated. While this goes without saying in the summer months, hydration is just as important in cooler weather, as well.
    • Getting some sleep. While this can seem impossible sometimes, rest helps calm nerves and allows you to focus to the best of your ability during the show.
    • Visualizing your success. We’ve all been taught to ride our test, cross-county track and showjumping round in our heads while talking with our coaches. But don’t let the visualization stop there! Repeatedly seeing yourself completing each phase well helps calm nerves about the unexpected and give you a plan on how to deal with issues if things go awry.

    Narrow Your Focus


    One very important thing to remember when horse showing is that the key at each show is progress. Progress in one thing, not all the things at once (wouldn’t that be nice!). While this can be incredibly hard to remember in the heat of the moment, think long and hard (and have a chat with your trainer) about what you want to accomplish in each phase. Focusing on one or two key things instead of a generalized “I want to do the best I can!” can help alleviate some of the anxiety associated with competition.

    Whatever you do, unless your horse is being extremely fractious or you’re literally completely incapacitated with fear, don’t scratch. Just like reinforcing a negative behavior in a horse, scratching allows you the out your brain is looking for if it’s overly anxious. Avoiding the issue won’t make it go away—you truly only get better at managing nerves by going in the ring.

    Ways to Manage Show Day Stress

    Some riders prefer to spend time with their horses before competition, grooming and braiding, performing routine, monotonous tasks to take the edge off their nerves. Others give themselves a pep talk, focusing on the positive. Though many times this has to be a conscious effort, saying to yourself “I am calm” instead of “I will NOT get nervous” can lead to a much more productive warmup and ride.

    MSEDA member Kristen Brennan says she manages show nerves with wine and Brooke Schafer seconds that with bourbon. Ellen Thompson jokingly says yelling at your mom helps with anxiety management, as well.


    Jacqui Cruz goes through her show day like a groom, which helps trick her mind into a state of preparedness. “I get there probably way too early to feed and clean, lunge if necessary, bathe my horse or at least the legs if needed after lunging, and then go get a coffee and breakfast. It's weird, but it works!” she says.

    Amelia Jean Foster says that when she is anxious, she will “obsessively pick my stalls. I repeat my test/course incessantly. I clean tack. I drink a lot of water (if I can’t eat, I may as well keep myself hydrated) and coffee. I walk back and forth from the stalls to the ring. I check if rings are running on time,” she says. “I’ve long given up trying to eliminate the nerves, but instead channel the activities into a pattern to keep myself busy and focused on the upcoming task.”

    So what else can you do to help battle show-day nerves? Work to pinpoint exactly what it is that is making you anxious. Is it the fear of forgetting a test? Falling? Looking “bad” in front of your friends? Being able to directly address where your anxiety is stemming from will help you find ways to work around the issue. And don’t be afraid to think outside the box. A few minutes listening to a meditation app or blasting your favorite upbeat song may be just want you need to quell your competition nerves!

  • 09/05/2018 1:13 PM | Anonymous

    While there is no such thing as “too much” of some vitamins and minerals (meaning the horse excretes out what he doesn’t need), selenium is not one of them: even a little more than needed can be toxic to horses.

    By Sarah E. Coleman

    An essential trace mineral important for respiratory, immune system, muscle and thyroid health in horses, selenium has a narrow margin of safety, meaning more isn’t always better. The FDA recommends that an average, 1,000-pound horse receive just 3 mg of selenium per day. Horses can get selenium from the grass, hay and commercial feed they ingest.

    While it’s easy to see the amount of selenium in commercial feeds and supplements that have clearly labeled tags, what your horse ingests from grass and hay can be more difficult to determine. Many areas of the country have soils that are selenium deficient, meaning that the crops grown on them are also low in selenium, so supplementation to be sure a horse is getting the adequate amount may be needed. The majority of horses in the United States don’t get enough selenium from forage along.

    However, the converse can also be true: There are also areas of the country where selenium content in soil (and therefore hay) is quite high. Specific types of plants grown on this soil retain amounts of selenium that are toxic to horses. Thankfully, given adequate pasture, the majority of horses will avoid eating these plants. The amount of selenium in an area depends on what type of rock formed the soil.

    So how can you know how much selenium your horse is eating? You can get your pastures analyzed for selenium content by a county extension agent. Once you know if your soils are high in selenium or deficient in selenium, as well as how much selenium he is receiving from a commercial feed (if he eats one at the recommended feeding rate), you can determine if you need to supplement his selenium intake or not.

    You can also pull blood or serum to test your horse’s selenium levels. It’s important to note that the selenium concentrations change rapidly with selenium intake when testing serum, but a whole-blood test can remain elevated for up to 9 months after supplementation has ended.

    A map to the selenium content in soil by county can be found here: https://mrdata.usgs.gov/geochem/doc/averages/se/usa.html

    How Does Selenium Toxicity Present?

    Many of us remember the deaths of 21 polo ponies in 2009 that resulted from an overdose of selenium in the compounded medication they were receiving; while this is an extreme case, there are certain things that can indicate a horse is receiving too much selenium:
    Acute selenium poisoning:

    • Labored breathing
    • Muscle tremors
    • Gait abnormalities
    • Garlic-smelling breath

    Chronic selenium toxicity is more common and can take place over weeks or months. This type of toxicity can result in:

    • Excessive salivation
    • Abdominal pain
    • Paralysis
    • Lameness
    • Blindness
    • Death

    How Can I Tell If My Horse Has a Selenium Deficiency?

    A selenium deficiency can be difficult to determine. Many horses with selenium deficiencies have:

    • Poor hair coat
    • Work intolerance
    • Cardiomyopathy
    • Muscle inflammation

    Selenium deficiency may also cause white muscle disease, cataracts, retained placentas and stunt growth.

    While only necessary in small amounts, selenium is integral to a horse’s health and wellbeing.

  • 09/05/2018 1:08 PM | Anonymous

    In an effort to keep our membership educated and abreast of errors in competition that can be avoided, this issue will focus on showjumping and what can be done to reduce the chances of faults and disqualification that can happen in addition to the more run-of-the-mill time and dropped-rail penalties.

    By Sarah E. Coleman

    There are common mistakes among riders in all disciplines, and show jumping is no exception. While it may seem fairly straightforward (leave all the jumps up and jump the course in the allotted time), errors are still common during this phase, at all heights. Janice Holmes, an eventing trainer and USEF “r” judge in eventing, as well as MSEDA licensed in eventing, stadium and dressage, offers these insights to not gain any additional penalties (as well as stay in the judge’s good graces!):

    1.     Starting before the bell has rung. Be sure to listen for your signal. If two rings are going at the same time, know if you are a tone, bell or whistle. EV154 2.6
    2.     If you slide into an obstacle, listen for the signal. If there is no signal, you can continue and are charged four points for a knockdown. EV153.4
    If there is a signal, you have been charged with a refusal and must wait for the jump to be rebuilt so you can have another go at it. You will be charged 4 points for the refusal and 6 seconds will be added to your time. EV150.6.d
    3.     A jump blows down after the bell has rung, but before the competitor starts. The bell will eb run again and the jump will be reset. If the competitor does not stop, he continues at his own discretion. He may or may not be eliminate. EV152.9
    4.     You have a refusal at the B element of an A/B combination. You must re-jump element A. EV154.2.n
    5.     It is your responsibility to enter the ring when your name/number is called. You may be eliminated if it’s your turn and you don’t follow the directions from the warm-up steward. “My coach is not here,” “I am not ready” and “I didn’t know you were running early are not excuses, you should jump during your division. Posted times for show jumping are fairly accurate, and you should check with the stewards to see if they are running early or late. If you need to go out of order, check with the stewards and the warm-up volunteer BEFORE show jumping starts. With computer scheduling, adequate time is allotted between ride.  EV154.3.a
  • 07/23/2018 9:15 AM | Anonymous

    Western Dressage is gaining traction in the horse world as many riders who traditionally compete in western show pens are venturing into the classical dressage sandbox.

    USEF recognizes the Western Dressage Association of America (WDAA) as the sole affiliate representing the discipline of Western Dressage. A discipline that encourages all-breeds engagement, any horse that can walk, trot and canter can participate (WDAA also has rules for gaited horses, as well!).


    Photo by Lisa Dean Photography

    A core principle of the WDAA is the celebration and stewardship of the American West. Top-tier Western horse trainers have long used classical dressage techniques, but until the formation of WDAA, they have not had a place to showcase their techniques.

    WDAA’s mission statement is to “build an equine community that combines the Western traditions of horse and rider with Classical Dressage.

    • We honor the horse.
    • We value the partnership between horse and rider.
    • We celebrate the legacy of the American West.”

    Nikki Wahl-Seto, MSEDA Newsletter Editor, is a staunch proponent of Western Dressage and has shown in the dressage ring in both a western and a classical dressage saddle. She is excited to see that Western Dressage is growing both as a national discipline and as a MSEDA-supported one. Here is her take on the differences between the two disciplines.

    Equipment

    There are many details that differentiate Western Dressage from Classical Dressage, the first of which is tack and its use. Riders using a curb bit can ride either one-handed or two-handed (riders using a snaffle must ride with 2 hands) said Nikki. Similar to classical dressage, there are legal bits and those that are not permitted in the show ring. For now, western curb bits are permitted in WDAA competition, though there is talk about only allowing snaffles in the lower levels, says Nikki.

    “This rule has not taken effect yet as most western horses are trained in a curb bit and this would have limited the number of riders entering into western dressage,” she notes. As the purpose of WDAA is to encourage riders of all backgrounds to enjoy the competition of western dressage, it is unclear if and when this rule will take effect. Additionally, in the majority of western breed and disciplines events, a horse that goes in a snaffle is typically 5 years old and younger.

    Similar to classical dressage, there are a plethora of bits that are both legal and illegal. Legal tack includes spade bits, most English bits, smooth or bosal cavessons, ported curbs, bitless bridles, and curb chains—the list goes on! “In addition to bits, stewards must also check spurs and whips,” said Nikki. “Yes, we can carry whips, though most true western riders see this as a very foreign concept!”

    Attire

    The attire for Western Dressage is quite simple; most schooling shows outline just pants, boots, a long-sleeved, collared shirt (short-sleeved shirts are permitted at the judge’s discretion),  chaps or chinks and a helmet or western hat. “Helmets can be required, but their use is determined by the show and/or the show grounds, so it’s imperative that you check your entry form carefully,” says Nikki. If you have any questions, be sure to check with your steward or show management before the show. It also never hurts to email USEF regarding any rule questions!


    “I have ridden against folks at the Horse Park in a cowboy hat, but most WD riders you will see in a helmet—safety first!” she says. “At big shows you will see the fancy outfits with sparkles and silver [those these don’t tend to come out for the smaller, local shows]." Bling is allowed on the rider, but not on the horse.

    Read more about the WDAA attire and equipment here.

    What Judges Look For

    “In our area, we are riding in front of traditional dressage judges, and we’re lucky enough to have several judges who have put the effort and money into training themselves for Western Dressage,” says Nikki. Currently, WDAA lists two USEF Western Dressage judges in the MSEDA area: Susan Posner (“R”) and Karen Winn (“r”).

    Traditional Dressage and Western Dressage are more alike than they are different, and are based on the same principles. Here are some places where they may differ:

    • The ability to ride with one hand (with curb bits). Rein hold depends on the type of reins used. Roman reins can be used only with a curb bit and may only be ridden with one hand. A rider can ride with two hands with split reins, connected reins or mecate reins (without the popper),
    • Gaits: Although maintaining the same principles (correct beats, steady tempo, suspension in gaits with impulsion, etc.) the trot is called a jog and the canter is called a lope. There is the distinction that these gaits must remain energetic and have the correct footfall (unlike some horses seen in Western Pleasure today). The tempo of these may be a little slower than those of a trot and canter but in gaits must remain pure. Excessive speed or slowness will be penalized.
    • Quiet, gentle voice commands are permitted in all levels of WD.
    • Posting is optional for the working jog through the basic level; posting is optional in all levels for the free jog and lengthening of the jog.
    • Movements: Turn on the forehand is introduced in WD test but not in Traditional Dressage. Also pivoting is allowed in WD as it is a common and useful move for Western stock horses.
    • WD allows gaited horses to compete. Gaited horses are penalized in traditional Dressage as their gaits to not meet the requirements.

    Western Dressage riders can ride Intro, Basic, and First through Fourth level tests. Each test is based in dressage fundamentals and “showcase applications for the Working Western Horse,” the WDAA website states.

    Read about the dressage rules and guidelines here.


    The View from the Judge's Box

    Janice Holmes, an eventing trainer and USEF “r” judge in eventing, as well as MSEDA licensed in eventing, stadium and dressage, notes that there are a few things she wants to be sure WSD riders are aware of.

    • While the use of the voice may be used in Western Dressage that it should not be distracting. “Clucking like a chicken laying an egg or a frantic ‘WHOA!’ may be considered distracting, so please don’t over-do it,” she notes. (WD 125.3)
    • Also of note, you’re allowed to pet your horse! “If you are riding one-handed. a gentle touch is allowed. Tiny scratching on the withers, if riding two-handed, is permitted,” she says (WD 125.4)
    • In the “below the line” marks, there is a separate category for “willing cooperation and harmony,” says Janice (WD 117). “Harmony should be demonstrated by the horse showing attention by his confidence and acceptance of the bit while staying up in the poll and keeping his nose in front of the vertical” which can be difficult to do in a curb bit, she notes. (WD 117.d)
    • A rider who begins a test one-handed must complete it one-handed; a rider who begins a test two-handed must complete the test two-handed. To switch in the middle of a test is actually a cause for elimination (WD 127.0)
    • While polo wraps are permitted (WD 120.6), they should match the horse as much as possible. “Also, decorating the horse with ribbons, flowers or Christmas tinsel is not permitted unless you are doing a freestyle,” Janice notes.
    • Attire can run the gamut. “Long-sleeved shirts are the norm, as are chaps, shotgun chaps, breeches, fringed breeches, split skirts, vests, jackets or sweaters,” she says. This leaves attire open for a lot of individual interpretation! And while bling is a thing, “please don’t blind me!” she says. “I still need to see your number!”

    Fun Facts

    Nikki noted the following interesting facts about Western Dressage:

    • You can always use your voice during a WD test without penalty
    • You may use equine legwear, but it must be white or the same color as your horse
    • Western Dressage shows do not have to be sanctioned, many schooling shows host WD tests
    • Readers are allowed for tests, but make sure they take a look ahead of time, movements come quicker than many traditional tests!
    • Changes of direction came up faster and not always in the most traditional location; more movements are asked for at the lower-levels and tests may not always be symmetrical in what is asked for on each rein
    • The entry-level tests require much more than circles and changes of direction can be more complex with elements/changes of direction coming up faster and in lower levels than we may see in many traditional tests (this is one of the biggest differences Nikki noticed).

    Currently, Western Dressage is sanctioned only by USEF. The organization is focused on growing organically; the first WDAA/USEF sanctioned shows will be near Kentucky this year; the closest WD shows used to be were in Ohio and Tennessee, Nikki notes.

  • 07/23/2018 9:11 AM | Anonymous

    Even if you are not a Kentucky Dressage Association member, it’s well worth your time to have a peek at Impulsion, their very well-done informational e-newsletter. Each issue is chock full of information, including a show and clinic calendar; up-to-date volunteer hours, personal points of view, and more.


    The interviews in particular offer some really great advice; this issue has a wonderful interview with Callie Jones, who explains the USEF/USDF Discover Dressage Emerging Athletes Program, how participants are selected, what the purpose of the program is and what her own personal goals entail.

    A bi-monthly publication, Impulsion covers topics pertinent to dressage riders in Kentucky; it’s a quick and easy way to stay up-to-date on current news and events in the dressage world.

  • 07/23/2018 9:03 AM | Anonymous

    Volunteer opportunities for MSEDA members abound. Each month, we will feature an opportunity for members to obtain volunteer hours and help put on a successful, MSEDA-sanctioned show.


    By Sarah E. Coleman

    Date and Time: Saturday, July 28, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. at Masterson Station Park

    History: Horse Aid Live was established in 2009 to promote humane treatment for all equines, regardless of breed, and to provide support for nonprofit organizations that provide humane treatment and shelter for equines. Horse Aid Live has donated to dozens of recognized 501c3 organizations throughout the United States.

    We are expecting 200+ rides with three dressage rings starting approximately 8 a.m. and run continually until 4 p.m. Showjumping will begin approximately 10:30 a.m. and run until 4 p.m. 

    Classes will be further split as entries warrant. Western Dressage has been split into two divisions because of the continued increase in entries.

    Dressage: Introductory - 4th Level

    Western Dressage: Introductory - 4th Level

    Gaited Dressage: Introductory - 4th Level

    Combined Test: Greenie - Preliminary

    Competitors can compete on the same horse in two consecutive levels. Un-judged schooling jump rounds are offered after each level for rider/horse combinations who are entered in those divisions.

    Sponsors to date include Park Equine Hospital and, Liquor Barn. Sponsorship information for those interested in donating monetary and/or prize donations: http://www.horseaidlive.org/sponsor.html

    Volunteer opportunities before the show:

    Friday, July 27 - 3:30 - 7:30 pm Show Jumping Ring Setup

    Volunteer opportunities during the show:

    Saturday, July 28 - 7:30 am - 4 pm; any amount of time: All day or for a few hours.

    • Score Runners
    • Scribes
    • Ring Stewards
    • Showjumping Ring Crew

    What should volunteers know?

    All volunteers have drinks; anyone volunteering four hours or more are provided lunch from the food truck. Volunteers will need to dress for the weather; ring stewards/crew should bring a chair if they would like to sit.

    Website: www.HorseAidLive.com

    FB: https://www.facebook.com/HorseAidLive/

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/HorseAidLive

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/horseaidlive/

    Contact: Cyndi Greathouse

    cyndi3334@gmail.com  |  (859) 699-3334

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Midsouth Eventing & Dressage Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

MSEDA’s mission is to promote and preserve the sports of Eventing and Dressage in the Mid-South area, by providing leadership and education to its members and the community at large. To further these goals, MSEDA will provide educational opportunities, fair and safe competitions, promote the welfare of the horse and rider and reward the pursuit of excellence from the grass roots to the FEI level.

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