My First Dressage Show Experience

We  love including guests on VR, and Toni was gracious enough to let us in on her first dressage show experience!  How does your first show compare?


My First Dressage Show Experience

Hi all! I’m an “ammie” dressage rider although I’ve been riding most of my life.  A few weeks ago I entered my first dressage show. It was also the first for my OTTB, Jacey.  As the show got closer, my anxiety grew.


Would we be prepared?  Would he be presentable?  Would I forget the test? The questions were overwhelming for me.   I decided that the most important aspect to me was that we were having fun and that I was able to get this first one under my belt.  In the weeks before, I had a few extra lessons which really helped both of us calm down and focus.


Two days before the show I started loading my trailer…maybe a little early but I wanted to be ready!  Thanks to Velvet Rider, I had an excellent checklist that helped tremendously.  My show clothes had been packed and ready for several days.  At this point, I was very nervous and excited all at the same time.  It was almost here!!


The day before I gave Jacey the bare minimum bath due to weather.  I polished his hooves.  I tried to tame the super short mane I had given him the week before.  I have no excuse I messed it up.  Oops!  It was very embarrassing.  But we made it 🙂

Loaded all the final things like tack, hay, food, cameras, chairs, etc.   I checked trailer tires and gas in the truck probably 10 times.  Got all my paperwork together and tried to get into bed early.


Show day!!!   Alarm went off at 3:30 am (eek!) and I was up and running.  We were on the road to the show by 5:30.  We got to the show barn around 6:15 am–just enough time for me to unload and then mount to warm up.  Or so I thought.  Jacey had a different idea!  When we unloaded him, he acted as if we unloaded him at the track on race day.  It took 15 minutes at the mounting block before I was able to get on.  I have to say ALL of my anxiety was now completely gone except one thought….please don’t fall off! 🙂


Fortunately I stayed on and rode my first test.  We made it.  And by the second test he was much closer to his normal self and we did much better.   The best part was I had fun and the scores did not matter to me although they turned out very respectable for our first show.  Jacey took care of me even with his hyper attitude…he knew I needed distraction and he gave it to me.   Then he rode with me on the second test.



All in all I had a blast!  Be prepared and use the checklist for sure.  And definitely have a group of friends or family there to help take picturess or video!


Thanks for having me!  Happy Riding!

Toni B.


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