New Riders Guide 2017-08-24T20:22:43+00:00

Hello and welcome to Dressage and the London Dressage Association. In this document, you will find answers to those questions that all first time riders have.Please note that this document does not replace a close reading of the Equestrian Canada Rule book. Indeed, the rule book and the steward are the final authorities on what is and is not allowed/required!

Equestrian Canada (or EC) is the Governing Sport Body for all Equestrian Sport except horse racing in Canada. They write the rules, certify the judges and select our Olympic Teams. The main focuses are the Gold and Platinum competitions. As of 2008, all competitors over the age of 10 will be required to hold an EC Sport License (Membership) to compete in a sanctioned event. Which one you purchase will depend on what level you are planning on showing. It will all be broken down in a chart a little later.

Equestrian Canada Horse Sport License (Horse Recording)  is required if you are showing at the Silver Level or above. The Horse Recording is used to identify horses in competition, track ownership, and points earned. It is purchased through Equestrian Canada. If your horse already has a passport, you will no longer need the paper version as all horse recordings are electronic now. Renewal of the horse recording can be done on the same form as your Equestrian Canada Sport License. If you are purchasing a new electronic horse recording, the first yearly sticker is included in the purchase price.

Dressage Canada (DC) is the division of EC that deals strictly with Dressage. You may be required to have a DC membership, depending on the level of showing you choose. Holding a DC Membership allows you to gain points towards year-end DC awards. As well, you will receive a copy of the OMNIBUS (test booklet) when you join. Dressage Canada Memberships can be purchased at the same time as your EC Sport License or separately on their website.

Ontario Equestrian Federation (OEF) is our Provincial Governing Body. Membership with the OEF is mandatory for all competitors regardless of division. Your Membership will also include Liability Insurance, a subscription to their magazine and various member benefits. Memberships can be purchase through their website or on the EC Sport License form on the Provincial Organization line. If you have already purchased your OEF, you just need to check the box that it has been purchased separately.

Canadian Dressage Owners and Riders Association (CADORA) is a separate organization devoted to the domestic development of Dressage in Canada. It oversees the bronze and silver dressage circuit, and it organizes and runs the silver year end championships. Also, it sponsors various clinics to promote classical dressage. It has division within its organization based on geographical location. The London Dressage Association is an Associate Club of CADORA Ontario. Membership is voluntary but qualifies you for CADORA year end awards, the receipt of the CADORA newsletter, the chance to participate in CADORA clinics and the CADORA OMNIBUS. CADORA Memberships can be purchased with your LDA Membership.

The London Dressage Association (LDA) is our local club. Membership is voluntary but it qualifies you for our year-end awards, newsletter and clinics. Non-members are required to pay a non-member fee with their entries.

What do I need?

First you will need to decide which level you would like to show.

The LDA is currently offering shows at the Bronze and Silver Equestrian Canada Levels. There are additional Gold and Platinum levels that are designated as National shows and are offered at other venues across the country.

Bronze  is a local club division geared towards newer riders and horses. The classes available are Walk/Trot, Training Level, First Level – Fourth Level, and the corresponding Freestyles where available. LDA members will qualify for year-end awards in the Bronze Division.

Silver  is a Provincial Division that has classes available from Training Level thru to Intermediare 2 or B (at most shows), along with the corresponding Freestyles. In addition to the LDA Year-end awards, there are Provincial Year-end awards as well as a Championship Show. If you are a CADORA-Ontario member, you will qualify for CADORA-Ontario awards at the championships.

Here is the chart breaking down Membership Requirements. Dressage Canada Memberships are only mandatory for those individuals showing at the Gold Level and above.

 Show Level  Mandatory Requirements  Optional Memberships
 Bronze

  1. Equestrain Canada:Bronze Sport License (Juniors under 10 years of age exempt)
  2. OEF Membership
  1. Dressage Canada
  2. CADORA
  3. LDA
  4. CADORA- Ontario
 Silver
  1. Equestrian Canada:Silver Sport License (Juniors under 10 years of age exempt)
  2. OEF Membership
  3. Equestrian Canada:Horse Recording
  4. Dressage Canada
  1. CADORA
  2. LDA
  3. CADORA-Ontario

Note: Amateur Status must be purchased and declared on Equestrian Canada Sport Licenses for those Adults who wish to do so.

What Do I Wear? What Tack is Acceptable?

Don’t worry, you do not need to go out and purchase special Dressage show clothes or new tack to participate!

For the Rider

A dark jacket, lighter coloured breeches, show shirt with a stock tie or choker and gloves in black or white. Long hair should be tied back or in a hair net.

All riders must wear an ASTM/SEI or BSI/BSEN approved helmet at all times.

For Bronze riders, dark coloured riding boots (plain, laced or with zippers), or dark coloured half chaps or half boots zipped over short boots may be worn. For Silver riders, same as for a Bronze rider, except half chaps/boots are forbidden.

In the case of inclement weather, riders may elect to wear a warm or water-proof overcoat and hat cover. In extreme heat or humidity, the judge may permit competitors to ride without jackets. Competitors must wear regulation hat and solid white long or short sleeved shirt.

Spurs must be made of metal. The shank must be either curved or straight pointing directly back from the centre of the spur when on the rider’s boot. The arms of the spur must be smooth. Metal spurs with round hard plastic knobs are allowed (impuls spur).

Whips must be at a maximum (including the lash) of 120cm for horses and 100cm for ponies.

Full details can be found in Section E of the Equine Canada 2017 Rule book.

For the Horse

Well fitting English saddle in either black or brown. Dressage, Close Contact, AP, even Jump saddles are OK. They may be leather or synthetic.

Well fitted English bridle with a regular cavesson, dropped noseband, flash, figure 8 or crescent noseband. Reins must be brown or black.

Be careful about your bit—only certain types are allowed in the dressage ring. Generally, a plain snaffle or jointed mouthpieces (French link) are permitted. Dr Bristol and twisted mouthpieces are prohibited. There is a great chart in the 2017 Equine Canada Dressage Rule book showing all permitted bits. If your bit is not listed, it is not permitted.

Your horse should be braided and clean. The type of braid is not important as hunter, button and running braids are all permitted.

Boots or wraps may be worn in Bronze competitions as well as in the warm-up.

Breastplates and girth covers are allowed as are fly veils and nose nets for ‘head shakers’

Ear plugs, blinkers, seat covers, bit guards, bit wraps, balancing reins or side reins are all prohibited.

Running martingales may be used in the warm-up but not in classes.

Horses may be lunged in the lunge ring with side-reins when not mounted.

Use this hyperlink to access the full rules: Dressage Rules are in Section E

How Do I Enter?

Entry forms are available on our website. They are due to the scheduler NO LATER than 6:00pm the Friday 1 week BEFORE the competition. Exact entry deadlines will be published on the website as well. All online entries must have an e-transfer as payment.

You can mail your entry or send it by courier. If you are mailing it, give it lots of time to get there. Don’t mail it on a Wednesday and expect it to arrive before the deadline. Many riders have been disappointed when their entries have arrived late. Mailed entries must be paid by cheque.

If sending your entry by courier, DO NOT request a signature upon delivery.

How Do I Find Out My Ride Time?

Ride times are posted no earlier than the Wednesday before the show. You will see a link to them on our Website when they are posted.

What Do I Do When I Arrive?

We suggest that you arrive a minimum of 1 hr (even earlier if you can) before your first scheduled test. This will give you time to get registered and warmed up before you enter the ring.

Follow the signs that will take you to the Trailer Parking Area

Go to our registration desk beside the arena. You will be handed a competition number. This number must be returned at the end of your classes to receive your tests. A $7.00 charge applies to lost numbers.

Place your competition number on the browband of your bridle. It must be on your horse at all times when on the grounds.

Warming Up

Proceed to the warm-up ring and get yourself and your horse loosened up. There will be a clock there displaying ‘show time’. Check the schedule sheets posted to confirm your ride time and which ring you are in. It is also a good idea to be aware of who is riding before you so that you are not rushed at the last minute.

If you would like to lunge, you must do so in the round pen behind the red barn. Please limit yourself to 20 minutes if others are waiting.

In the ring, be aware of your surroundings and give green horses and beginning riders the right of way. Pass left to left, keep slower work to the inside of the ring and ask your coach to stay outside of the fence.

The announcer will call riders in the order of show. When your number is called for ‘On Deck’, you should get ready to leave the warm-up area and wait in the on deck area outside of the fenced area of the rings.

You do not have to show until your designated time. If the show is ahead of schedule and you are ready, you can show earlier than scheduled.

Show Time!

Wait outside the fenced ring area until the previous rider is exiting the ring.

At this point, you can enter the outer ring area (NOT INSIDE THE RING!) and warm up some more.

It is good courtesy to announce your rider number to the scribe as you pass the judge’s booth. It is also a good idea to ask what the entry signal is, be it a bell or a whistle.

Go all the way around the perimeter, if you can, to familiarize yourself (and your horse) with your surroundings.

Once the bell (or whistle) has rung, signaling you that the judge is ready, you have 45 seconds to enter the ring and begin your test.

A reader is permitted at all shows except Championships. Readers must stand outside of the ring and typically stand at ‘E’ or ‘B’. Readers are not provided and must be arranged by you.

You can not change the fences in the ring. If the gate is open, it must remain open for all riders. If it is to be closed, a volunteer will be posted.

Following your class, immediately exit the ring area.

All Competitors: You must proceed directly to the Steward for  Tack Check. No one is allowed to remove anything from you or your horse prior to the tack check under penalty of elimination.

Results will be posted on the board beside the Registration area as they are available. Please do not bring horses to the scoring area as it can get quite congested.

At the end of your day, take your number back to the Registration Desk and pick up your tests, passport and any ribbons you have won.

Competition Etiquette

Here are some basic unwritten rules at a Dressage Competition.

Scratches  If you must scratch from a class or the competition, please call the show coordinator or tell a fellow competitor or volunteer to notify the secretary at the show. When the show is not notified, many volunteers will be looking for you. You may be refunded your entry fees (less the $10 administration fee). For your refund, the show coordinator must be notified by the Friday before the competition and a vet note must be submitted to the Treasurer  within 10 days of the competition.

Retiring from the ring  If your horse is misbehaving or comes up lame in the ring forcing you to retire, stop, face the judge and salute; then proceed to leave the ring.

People Areas  Walk your horse through these areas. There are a lot of non-horse people and children in these areas. If your horse makes a mess, please clean up after him/her.

We hope this answers most of your questions about our shows and that you will come out and have some fun.