Mid-South Eventing & Dressage Association


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  • 11/05/2018 8:08 AM | Admin (Administrator)

    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 | Admin (Administrator)

    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 | Admin (Administrator)

    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 | Admin (Administrator)

    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 | Admin (Administrator)

    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.


    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!”


    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 | Admin (Administrator)

    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 | Admin (Administrator)

    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

  • 07/03/2018 8:38 PM | Admin (Administrator)

    Dressage is an entire game devoted to details. Everything from dress to tack to boots to bonnets is under scrutiny, not to mention the horse himself. Dressage horses are supposed to be obedient, supple, willing, athletic … the list goes on and on.

    So, you’ve trained to the best of your ability, memorized your test and you’re ready to show the world just what you’ve got. Don’t dim your horse’s star power by making a common dressage mistake!

    By Sarah E. Coleman

    Here are some of the most common dressage mistakes as told by Janice Holmes, an eventing trainer and USEF “r” judge in eventing. Janice is MSEDA licensed in eventing, stadium and dressage. Janice collected the following rules, stories and experiences from MSEDA competitors and trainers during recent events.

    Read on to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes!

    Mistake No. 1: Using an illegal bit or piece of equipment.

    Be sure to check with USEF Annex A (which can be found here), says Janice. Listed there are the only legal bits allowed to be used in competition. “Just because your bit was legal last year, it might not be legal this year!” she says. Additionally, just because a bit was legal at a dressage show does not mean it will be legal for eventing, and vice versa.

    Simply put: If your bit doesn’t match the pictures, it’s not legal. The same goes for bridles. It is not the warm-up steward or bit check person’s responsibility to make sure your bit is legal.

    Mistake No. 2: Not being on time. (EV 136.1.c.4)

    You must enter the arena within 45 seconds after the signal, or you will have a 2-point error, notes Janice. After 90 seconds, you may be eliminated. It’s your responsibility to be at your ring at your designated time. “Don’t blame your mom, coach, groom or ring steward [for your being late],” says Janice. “Wear a watch and check it!”

    Mistake No. 3: Not placing both reins in one hand and saluting the judge at the end of your test. EV134.5

    Some riders get so excited by the wonderfulness of surviving the dressage test that they start petting their horse and forget to salute, Janice explains. While this is cute, it’s still a 2-point deduction. “Get to some semblance of a halt and salute,” she recommends. If your horse isn’t perfectly still, go head and salute anyway.

    Mistake No. 4 Entering the area around or in the dressage arena with boots or leg protection used to result in an elimination—now riders received a 2-point deduction. EV136.1.c.1

    When the judge notices you have leg protection on your horse, you will be halted and someone can remove the boots, then you are allowed to continue. “One rider entered with a quarter sheet on on a cold day and tried to remove it herself,” Janice said. “It went flying off like a magic carpet and a handy spectator tackled it before it spooked another horse!” Great save!!

    Mistake No. 5 Don’t enter the arena before the bell (or signal).

    Some competitors are so eager for the test to start that they come in before the signal. This is a 2-poinyt deduction as well. Be sure that you know if your judge has a bell, whistle, car horn, dog squeaky toy or bicycle jingle bell, Janice advises.

    “The judge may be doing the collections for the person ahead of you and may not be watching your stellar center line, so make sure she is looking up! Many judges do a second signal, such as waving, tipping their hat or standing up. You may ask “Is that my signal?’” Janice says. Most judged will nod.

    Mistake No. 6 Leaving the arena before the test is finished. EV136.2.6.5

    All four feet must leave the arena (usually at A) for elimination. If you are quick and pull the horse back in before all four feet get out, the score is only reflected for that movement. If all four feet leave the arena, you should ask permission continue; most judges will grant you permission to finish the test, but you are still eliminated. Then, you must go to the show office and ask permission to continue to the other phases. The usual ruling is “OK to continue, but one stop and you are out,” Janice says.

    *Mistake No. 7 No use of the voice. EV134.7

    * Use of the voice is allowed in Western Dressage, which can catch many by surprise. This will be discussed in a later MSEDA article.
    You will have 2 points deducted per movement when a judge hears your voice. “This means no clucking, chirping, praising, laughing, crying or whining during the test!” says Janice. “We can hear you even in a stiff wind, so be careful not to cluck.”
    “In theory, you can lose 2 points per movement, so in Beginner Novice A, there are 14 movements and if you clucked for the movements or whoa’d for the movements, you could lose 28 points! Yikes!” reminds Janice.

    Special thanks to Janice Holmes for addressing a very serious matter in such a candid, kind way. We are deeply thankful for your insight (and humor!)

    Have a dressage faux paus you want to share? Email it to MSEDA e-news editor Nikki Seto at nikki.w.seto@gmail.com.

  • 06/17/2018 9:32 AM | Admin (Administrator)

    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: June 22-24 at the Kentucky Horse Park

    Event History: The Midsouth Pony Club Horse Trial began as a fundraiser for the Midsouth Pony Club region to help Pony Club members cover the costs of hosting the Eventing Rally.

    Volunteer opportunities before the show, June 19-21:

    • Setting dressage rings (Tuesday morning, June 19)
    • Painting and decorating XC (Tuesday-Thursday, June 19-21)
    • Setting stadium courses (Thursday afternoon, June 21)

    Volunteer opportunities during the show:

    Friday, June 22:

    • Dressage scribe
    • Dressage ring steward
    • Bit check
    • Showjumping timer
    • Showjumping ring steward
    • Showjumping ring crew

    Saturday, June 23:

    • Dressage scribe
    • Dressage bit check
    • Stadium ring crew

    Sunday, June 24:

    • Showjumping ring steward
    • Showjumping in-gate
    • Showjumping ring crew
    • XC warm-up steward

    Volunteer opportunities after the event:

    • Sending in scores
    • Writing thank you notes
    • Creating press releases

    What should volunteers know?

    Midsouth will cover parking at the Kentucky Horse Park if volunteers don't have a pass. Lunch will be provided if a volunteer shift occurs during that time period. This event is MSEDA sanctioned so MSEDA volunteer hours count; additionally, all volunteer hours are logged in the USEA Eventing VIP system.  

    Interested in volunteering or learning more? Contact Erin Woodall at gtowngrits@gmail.com or (502) 316-3565.

  • 06/17/2018 9:15 AM | Admin (Administrator)

    With the onslaught of heat and the rain, weeds have come on in a hurry, in pastures and fields and around barns and homes. Find out which weeds need to be eradicated from your fields immediately and how to control them.

    By Sarah E. Coleman

    While horse people are well-versed in the quality of the concentrates and hay they feed their steeds, the quality of the forage in horses pastures is often overlooked. To make your pasture work the hardest for you, it’s important to correctly identify what types of weeds are growing so you can effectively eradicate them; certain weeds will take specific methods to remove them from a field.

    Thankfully, the majority of weeds found in fields cause little threat to horse health; most weeds are not tasty and in general, and a horse would need to consume a good amount of the weed for it to be toxic. While this means that weed eradication is not an immediate chore to keep horses safe, it is important to maintaining the health of your fields.

    Though it may be tempting to try to control weeds now, when they seem to be growing out of control, you should never apply herbicides to plants that are stressed from heat or drought.

    Some weeds common in horse pastures include:

    Buckhorn Plantain



    Hemp dogbane* (also called Indian hemp)


    Johnson grass*



    Poison hemlock*


    Star of Bethlehem*

    White snakeroot*

    Wild carrot* (also known as Queen Anne’s Lace)

    *Indicates weeds are poisonous and should be removed from pastures as soon as possible.

    Preventing Pasture Weeds

    Some ways to remove and keep weeds at bay on your farm:

    • Mow and weedeat fencerows and not just fields; weeds on the edges will equal weeds in the pastures in short order
    • Avoid overgrazing fields
    • Dig out weeds by the roots; though this can seem overwhelming in large fields, it’s a worthwhile endeavor in smaller paddocks and pastures
    • Mow before weeds go to seed
    • Consider spraying, but you will need to know what plants you are fighting to get the right kind of product. It’s also imperative to make sure the spray is safe for livestock
    • Take soil samples so you know what needs to be done to create the healthiest soil for quality forage

    Visit the Cornell University Department of Animal Science website for a complete list of plants that are poisonous to horses.

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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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