Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Why I Organize Shows

Final show organizing post for this year:

Despite the comedy of errors, the show I put on was actually a success in the end. It's a lot of work to put on but I find it really rewarding and I'm glad I did it.

Freshly groomed arena ready for action!

There was a range of kinds of riders this year. Some of the people who entered my show last year came back and many of them had much improved rides and scores this time around. It was great to see the growth from year to year especially as I am good friends with a few of them and know how hard they worked (one friend who recently moved 4 hours away even hauled all the way back to participate again!). We also had a few competitors that I've seen at other dressage shows who made our local show part of their summer competition plan and that was a nice way to feel like my show was legitimate and had what normal competitors looked for. However the group that I was most thrilled to see were the newbies. A couple hunter-jumper riders decided to try dressage and entered a few classes, and I also had a couple riders who were competing in their first horse show ever! It seriously gives me so many warm fuzzies to have people who have never ridden in a dressage show before talk about what a good experience it was and how it is making them look at the sport more.

The perfect warmup for a show like this:
not too busy, not too quiet, and right beside the ring

Another thing that was pretty cool was our spectators. As is the usual at dressage shows, the crowd watching was small and mostly included friends and family of the riders, but there were a few exceptions. In the morning just as we were getting started, an RCMP (police) truck pulled up near the show office and a uniformed officer got out. I was worried that there had been some complaint or concern about permits or something so I went up to talk to her. It turns out that the officer had been in the feed store earlier in the week when I had been buying prizes, she overheard me talking about the show to the cashier and decided to come check it out along her rounds. She ended up staying for quite a while and asked a lot of questions about the sport. Then, later in the day, I had two ladies come to me asking for a schedule of ride times. They were both from out of town, one from Calgary and one from Saskatchewan, but they each ride dressage a little, were in town for the weekend, heard about our show and decided to come check it out. Additionally, a full seven people who do some degree of teaching riding lessons in the area (in various disciplines) stopped by throughout the weekend, some had students competing and some didn't but I was told by a few of them that they would encourage more of their students to enter next year.

The fancy new announcer's booth/show office
Those windows gave me a great view of the action as I scored etc.

Leading up to the show I more than once thought I was insane for organizing a horse show two weeks before my wedding, that may still be true but I'm glad I didn't cancel. I am convinced that skipping a year of this new show would have put dressage in the area back a step, but instead by having it we moved the sport ahead another step.

Some of the prizes

Seeing riders have positive experiences and growing dressage in the area - this is why I organize horse shows for the sport I love so much. Onwards and upwards for next year!


  1. I do think you are a little nuts for running a horse show two weeks before your wedding :P But it sounds like it was well worth it :)

  2. Having done my share of organizing over the years I know that you are glossing over the really hard work. I also know that you (and people like you) are a god send to the sport.

  3. I think all us horse people are nuts to the core so your timing on the show before your wedding is only to be expected. ;) It sounds like your show is really important for the area and I'm glad that it turned out so well.

  4. I can totally see how rewarding and worthwhile the organization would be- awesome that you do it!