Even if it were in English, it'd still be gibberish to my dad.

My dad, a retired vet, knows all the rules for hockey, football, salmon fishing, and riding cutting horses. Dressage, my passion, is a interest void for him, like watching paint dry.

In his years of veterinary practice and supportive dad, he has seen a lot of bad “dressage” riding and frustrated horses, so it’s not been a gripping topic for him.

As my education has increased and I have had the opportunity to come to Europe and learn from such accomplished trainers and competitors (and he realizes I’m not growing out of this horsey phase), my dad has picked up his level of interest.

As we discussed my competition results, he asked a lot of questions about the scoring; why was it a 6 and not a 7? What did the judge say? And so I made a little video, Dressage for Dad, so he can better understand how the tests work, and in turn he can better critique my rides… not sure this is such a good idea?

I have broken down the movements as they are described and scored in the test; it is not verbatim, but close. Then I have included the score for that movement and any comments from the judges. My translation abilities are limited to what I can remember being told and google for the rest. Any comments of my own I have added in (parenthesis).

Here is a recent Prix St George test on my favorite orange mare, Countess. This test is not particularly good, I made a lot of mistakes by holding the neck to short. However, it’s from the mistakes that I learn, so I hope someone can learn something from this. This is the third video I’ve made for Dad, and it seems to help him.

If you’re really a beginner like Dad, http://www.dressage.net.au/ArenaA.pdf  is a link to see the layout, including the letters, of a large dressage arena, like I rode in. More useful info for dressage beginners can be found at www.usdf.org

Dad, after watching this you are on your way to being a “rail bird”, giving you authority to tell other riders what to do and how to do it better, regardless of their riding accomplishments vs. yours. Your first tip to me should be, “you need to release the contact more,” to which I will respond, “yes, I know,” and hang my head in shame.

Dressage for Dad – Prix St. George Test


(And finally, I know, I’m competing in a top hat. I do ride every single horse, every single day at home in my helmet, but I still choose to compete my older horses in the top hat. One day I’ll wise up, but for now it’s my decision. Please don’t hold Horse Junkies United responsible for me being an idiot. )