Tell me about your schooling shows!

Tell me about your schooling shows!

Bridle Creek

Coordinating schooling shows is most of what I do as a board member of Green County Dressage; I’m always curious to know how other organizations manage their shows and get perspectives from riders, volunteers, and other organizers. So, blogland, tell me about schooling shows you’re part of in any capacity!

  • Do your shows have a limit on how many entries they accept?
  • Do your shows charge an office fee? How much is it?
  • What time do your shows start?
  • Dressage people, are your lower level tests (e.g. Intro, Training, Western Dressage Intro & Basic) ridden in the small (20 x 40) ring or the large (20 x 60) ring?
  • If you volunteer, what’s your favorite thing to do?
  • Is online entry offered? Can you email your entries to the show secretary?
  • What’s your #1 pet peeve at schooling shows?

Don’t feel like you have to answer every single question, or that you have to be a dressage rider (or an English rider) to participate! Some things are universal (has any horse show ever run on time?)!



19 thoughts on “Tell me about your schooling shows!”

  • Do your shows have a limit on how many entries they accept?
    If there is, it’s usually based on stabling

    Do your shows charge an office fee? How much is it?
    Yes, somewhere in the range of $20-25

    What time do your shows start?
    9am is usual

    Dressage people, are your lower level tests (e.g. Intro, Training, Western Dressage Intro & Basic) ridden in the small (20 x 40) ring or the large (20 x 60) ring?
    I’ve been to some schooling shows that only offer up to Training level and everything has been in a 20x40m ring. If they have a bigger ring, usually all test are ridden in the same ring (so 20x60m for all)

    If you volunteer, what’s your favorite thing to do?
    Scribing (but of course I can’t do this for the same shows I compete in)

    Is online entry offered? Can you email your entries to the show secretary?
    Being able to email scanned entries is pretty standard, and Interac e-transfer of show fees (this might just be a Canadian thing though, but it’s an awesome system). I’ve only had the option to do a true online entry for one show series.

    What’s your #1 pet peeve at schooling shows?
    I’ve been to a few schooling shows where the show is run indoors, but the warmup is outdoors. That’s fine by itself, but it’s really annoying when the people outside have no clue as to whether the show is running on time or not inside. Having a volunteer update the riders warming up even every half hour would be awesome.

    Bonus: has any horse show ever run on time?
    I’ve actually been to a number of dressage shows that have run up to half an hour ahead of schedule!

    • The outdoor warm-up/indoor show can certainly get confusing for everyone! It’s the case at many of the venues my club uses- I know I try to keep people abreast of the time/order of go, but it’s really easy to off track.

  • Yay a survey! We don’t have a lot of schooling shows around, I’ve been pretty much a regular at three of the series’ (one is now not happening anymore, boo) in the area over the last 5-10 years and have some strong opinions about them. That being said, I don’t think this area is quite known for it’s expertly run schooling shows…

    Do your shows have a limit on how many entries they accept? Yes, usually they work to fill the day, most schooling shows don’t get filled up so entries have never been a problem for us.
    •Do your shows charge an office fee? How much is it? It depends on the show, I want to say that it’s usually $25 but I don’t remember exactly.
    •What time do your shows start? Usually no earlier than 8am, if they have less rides, a lot of shows choose to start around 9-9:30 just to give people the time to warm up.
    •Dressage people, are your lower level tests (e.g. Intro, Training, Western Dressage Intro & Basic) ridden in the small (20 x 40) ring or the large (20 x 60) ring? All of the shows I’ve been to are in the large rings, unless it’s specifically a combined test.
    •If you volunteer, what’s your favorite thing to do? Most of the shows in the area are put on by private barns so never ask for volunteers. I’d love to scribe though 🙂
    •Is online entry offered? Can you email your entries to the show secretary? One of the shows in the area offers online entries, which is amazing. The others are snail mail.
    •What’s your #1 pet peeve at schooling shows? Judging not being up to par. I know I shouldn’t complain because it’s not like there are a plethora of S judges that want to judge these things, but the L graduates are sometimes just so useless. Ugh one has their trainer (not a judge) judge the shows and it’s so painfully biased… we try to avoid that one.

    • Shows *not* filling up was a problem for my GMO last year, but we have the opposite problem this year! Each schooling show has had 85+ rides! I don’t know why. We can reasonably accommodate about 70 rides; otherwise our judges never want to come back.

      Everyone seems to love scribing- it’s always the first volunteer job to go!

  • These are based on my experience in Indiana. I really haven’t done any dressage schooling shows in the DC area…

    Do your shows have a limit on how many entries they accept?
    – I’m sure they do, but I don’t think they’ve hit it. They are usually willing to take entries till they fill up a day.
    Do your shows charge an office fee? How much is it?
    – Yes. $10-$25. One schooling show didn’t charge an office fee, but that’s pretty rare.
    What time do your shows start?
    – Usually run from 8a- 3 or 5p
    Dressage people, are your lower level tests (e.g. Intro, Training, Western Dressage Intro & Basic) ridden in the small (20 x 40) ring or the large (20 x 60) ring?
    – Small ring. There are usually more of these, so often they would have the small ring set up for most of the day, then switch for the larger ring (if only one ring). or have both rings set to large size, and have one with barriers showing where the small ring goes. These barriers would be removed to do tests in the larger ring. (So you would just move the barriers back to large ring. If that makes sense.)
    If you volunteer, what’s your favorite thing to do?
    – Scribe and warm up steward. I find that runner is a great job for people showing in the show who want to help out some. They can pop in for an hour and leave without any big fuss.
    Is online entry offered? Can you email your entries to the show secretary?
    – Typically entries are all mailed.
    What’s your #1 pet peeve at schooling shows?
    – The judging being easy at lower levels and hard at upper levels.

  • Sorry this is all H/J themed:
    Do your shows have a limit on how many entries they accept? Nope.
    Do your shows charge an office fee? How much is it? No, just class fees.
    What time do your shows start? 8am
    If you volunteer, what’s your favorite thing to do? Run the scores around or work at the gate.
    Is online entry offered? Can you email your entries to the show secretary? No, too complicated for H/J.
    What’s your #1 pet peeve at schooling shows? Trainers bringing 100 small kids who end up all over the place. OR not having a decent space to warm up.

    • The zillions of small children scattered across the show grounds happens constantly at our shows LOL. They try to make themselves useful by running tests, but it never really works out.

      I cannot imagine trying to organize an H/J show. I don’t know if it would be more or less complicated- I mean, you don’t have to give anyone a ride time, but there are SO many classes and SO many riders!

  • we have one popular schooling show venue.
    $25.00 first test, $20.00 each additional test. Usually it is divided up with 4-5 categories . Intro-test of choice. Western Dressage,
    Training level is usually split in two classes. Test of choice, and then 1st and up, test of choice. Ribbons to 5th place with carrots and gift cards to first place. During wet weather, schooling is out side and the tests are ridden under cover in a small ring. Good weather, schooling inside and tests ridden outside in large arena.
    It’s ran well, and always on time, excellent judges, helpful comments. Nice group of people, and if you come alone, you can usually find someone to read for you.
    We also have a recognized venue that offers 2 schooling shows each spring. $25. per test, $50, mandatory stalling. I haven’t been to it, but with it’s local standing, I imagine it’s also ran well.

  • I haven’t been to one in a couple years so my knowledge is not up to date and fuzzy but here goes:

    Do your shows have a limit on how many entries they accept? – Not that I know if
    Do your shows charge an office fee? How much is it? – Not usually, one or 2 here may charge $3-5
    What time do your shows start? – Typically shows start at 8am unless there are a lot of entries and then they might push it back to 7 or 7:30
    If you volunteer, what’s your favorite thing to do? – I like doing check in, tabulating points, handing out ribbons or sitting in the judges box with the judge. Lease favorite is back gate.
    Is online entry offered? Can you email your entries to the show secretary? – Online entry is offered at a lot of the shows that we went to which was super nice.
    What’s your #1 pet peeve at schooling shows? – Lack of amenities aka shade or water when its hot out, not enough bathrooms, no food on site, doesn’t need to be fancy could be 1 guy and a grill. I also really hate when the cost of a schooling show is almost the same as a rated but hasn’t elevated what the show offers.

  • 1. Not that I know of.
    2. $5-15 depending on the show.
    3. Never earlier than 8am or later than 9am.
    4. Depends on the show. I’ve ridden Training in a standard arena before, and I’m skipping a show this year because they only have a small ring which I personally won’t show in at First or above.
    5. Doing my first volunteer stint in a couple weeks!
    6. No and no. I prefer to mail my entries in anyway.
    7. Disorganization. I get things getting a little hectic or running behind, and that doesn’t bother me, but at least have some record of who I am and what I’m showing when I check in. “Oh, you signed up for that test? And double checked that we put you down for it? Hmm…not ringing a bell.” Bitch, please.

  • Most of the schooling shows I’ve been to let you email or fax in entries. And have started around 8-8:30. Office fees vary but I don’t like to see a fee over $15 unless the facility is amazing.

  • Do your shows have a limit on how many entries they accept?
    The dressage shows I’ve gone to do, the hunter schooling show did not.

    Do your shows charge an office fee? How much is it?
    Both do. Dressage show is $2, the hunters $10 (but i think this includes something for insurance??)

    What time do your shows start?
    Dressage – 9 AM Hunters – 8 AM

    Dressage people, are your lower level tests (e.g. Intro, Training, Western Dressage Intro & Basic) ridden in the small (20 x 40) ring or the large (20 x 60) ring?
    We’ve ridden in the large ring.

    Is online entry offered? Can you email your entries to the show secretary?
    Neither offers online entry or email entry.

    What’s your #1 pet peeve at schooling shows?
    Running behind on time and no one communicates that said show is running X minutes late. One thing I love about the hunter show I go to is that she sticks to the schedule, you get a call to enter the ring and then a second follow-up. You miss the follow-up and the gate is shut. Be on time next time. She also utilizes separate in/out gates to keep “traffic” flowing in and out of rings to prevent bottlenecks. Class A is exiting the ring as Class B is entering.

  • I haven’t organized many shows myself so idk really all the best practices. Tho I prefer for jr divisions to go later after the adult classes (esp for jumping divisions) just bc the kids seem to take so much longer lol

  • Do your shows have a limit on how many entries they accept?
    Yes, dressage times are booked for an 8 hour working day for the judge…once that time is filled entries are closed! Hunter jumper, eventing and hack shows have all been small enough it’s not an issue.
    Do your shows charge an office fee? How much is it?
    One does. $20. Others do not.
    What time do your shows start?
    First ride is 8:00-8:30
    Dressage people, are your lower level tests (e.g. Intro, Training, Western Dressage Intro & Basic) ridden in the small (20 x 40) ring or the large (20 x 60) ring?
    It depends on the show…all share a single ring, and if the majority of people are riding 20×60 they leave that set up for everyone to save time. Usually, though, if possible we switch the set up at lunch.
    If you volunteer, what’s your favorite thing to do?
    Whipper in is fun, handing out ribbons even more so. Scribing – hit or miss – great learning opportunity but some of our judges not so nice to work with!
    Is online entry offered? Can you email your entries to the show secretary?
    Yes, for the 3 different venues we go to. So much easier if they accept e-transfer payments as well.
    What’s your #1 pet peeve at schooling shows?
    Coaches in the warmup/main arena being loud and obnoxious. I get it’s a schooling show, but please share the warm up with others and refrain from rude critiques (even if they’re ‘your’ students).

  • Do your shows have a limit on how many entries they accept? Unlimited
    Do your shows charge an office fee? How much is it? Not for the local open shows. Dressage shows here-$5
    What time do your shows start? Varies. I prefer afternoon starts. I’d rather be there later at night than have to scurry around early, but I think opinions differ there occasionally.
    Dressage people, are your lower level tests (e.g. Intro, Training, Western Dressage Intro & Basic) ridden in the small (20 x 40) ring or the large (20 x 60) ring? This I don’t know. ha.
    If you volunteer, what’s your favorite thing to do? I’ve worked in show offices. I prefer that to concessions, etc. because you can at least see how things are going.
    Is online entry offered? Can you email your entries to the show secretary? Dressage show, yes. Local shows most people enter on site.
    What’s your #1 pet peeve at schooling shows? Not announcing breaks until the break. I had Copper at the ring ready to rock and roll and they stopped the show for the fire dept to water the ring. It took forever, so we stood there in the heat and waited.

  • Speaking from H/J land:
    Do your shows have a limit on how many entries they accept?
    On the lower end they do. A class won’t run if only one person has signed up.
    Do your shows charge an office fee? How much is it?
    Yep. It’s also the medic fee. It ranges from $20-40.
    What time do your shows start?
    Usually 8am.
    What’s your #1 pet peeve at schooling shows?
    It’s so uncontrollable but bad riding and crazy horses. Or a combination of the two which is truly horrifying!

  • Do your shows have a limit on how many entries they accept?
    Some of them do. It depends upon if they have one ring or two. The ones with two are typically much less restricting than the ones with only one ring.
    Do your shows charge an office fee? How much is it?
    No, but we have a $45 membership fee every year. If you aren’t a member there is a $10 per test extra fee.
    What time do your shows start?
    8am sharp!
    Dressage people, are your lower level tests (e.g. Intro, Training, Western Dressage Intro & Basic) ridden in the small (20 x 40) ring or the large (20 x 60) ring?
    Ridden in the small arena. I have done it a couple of times in the large arena if I was riding the same test twice at a show with two judges. I found it super hard though!
    If you volunteer, what’s your favorite thing to do?
    I haven’t volunteered yet. I typically want to show and go home, though I appreciate those that take the time do volunteer and keep things running smoothly!
    Is online entry offered? Can you email your entries to the show secretary?
    We have to mail ours in, which I hate. I wish there was an online or email option. Snail mail makes me nervous.
    What’s your #1 pet peeve at schooling shows?
    When they space my tests way far apart. There have been a couple of shows where they did the entire training division between my first Intro test and my next Intro test. That really grinds my gears.

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