So you had big plans to move up a level this year. Or you were prepared to step into the ring for the first time. Then Covid. All those plans went to shit. All these online horse shows popped up and you thought hmmm, how in the brown dressage tack do these work? I looked into a few and thought I would take Better Dressage Scores for a test (no pun intended but it had to be done) and see how it went. Luckily these last few months I was able to still ride Princess Cisco once or twice a week and it’s my nerves that really hit me in the success area at shows (so I like to think, anyway), so showing and getting judged in my own back yard seemed like an amazing option!!!
I read the instructions, they seemed simple. I could chose from one of many many dressage tests out there, so I thought I would try Intro A and B. Started from the bottom and we’re still here…. I got Mr. Gin and Tiny Jumps to help me set up a dressage ring. We measured, we moved fencing, we measured again, we (I) stuck letters in the ground….we didn’t do to bad! Now it was time to try it. I knew his patience was getting used up after the effort of setting up the ring so I made my warm up pretty quick. We’d had some decent rides recently and I though, what the hay, judge us as we are. I have Mr G&TJ strict instructions were to stand and to make sure he could see all of me in the shot at the same time. He’s got a good grip on dressage and even made a t-shirt for himself that says “Real men watch dressage because every day can’t be cross country day” on the back. I’ll keep him.
So he stood well back from C, held my little iPhone in landscape mode as per the directions and off we went into the ring for two Intro tests. When I got home I followed the simple steps on the website and because I’m a little bit tech savvy and the videos were pretty big, I uploaded my tests to youtube, marked them private, and sent the links in the message box to BDS.
I checked the box to get a paper copy of my dressage test and ribbons (if any) mailed to me and pretty much forgot about the show until I had an email waiting for me one day when I got up!!! RESULTS!!! YAY!!!
If you don’t know this little tidbit about dressage, but some shows don’t have many people in each class. Some levels may only have one person riding a test at that level but that doesn’t mean that person WINS. Ohh-ho-no. Your score will depend on the ribbon you get if you’re the only one competing at that level….in Canada anyway. How does it work where you are?
According to Equestrian Canada rules, if there is only one horse in the competition they will be awarded 1st place if their score is 60% or higher. 2nd for 57-59.9%. 3rd for 54-56.9%, 4th, 51 to 53.9%. No ribbon if they score below 51%. That seems fair to me. You can’t come away with a red if you’re the only one even if your test was shit.
So BDS bases their scoring on similar ideas, you get a 1st for 70% or better, 2nd place for 65-69.99, etc down the line to 6th place. So no matter how many people are entered in your show, riding the same test, you get the ribbon based on your score. How awesome is that!!!!!
I was so excited to read my feed back and see my test scores. Like, really excited! Just as excited as I would be at a real show waiting for my scores!! I opened each test, sent to me as an excel spread sheet. For Intro A, hold onto your top hats, we scored 67.18%!!!! Not too shabby! Better than I expected to be honest. I got an 8 for my enter at working trot and walk at X. Damn. Look at us go. “Overall accurate and steady test. Capable pair. Work on encouraging horse to stretch more through the topline with a softer, more swinging neck.” How bout that? Capable pair, I like that, pretty much describes us. Gets the jobby done, not flash, but passable.
The next one, Intro B scored 65.93%. I thought this was my better of the two tests but still not a bad score! “Attractive pair with good energy and supple bend. Horse tends to come against hand in downward transition. Work on keeping horse more honest in the connection especially in transitions. More through with a better frame overall this test. Nice job!” Thank you thank you, boquets go over there. Attractive!! How cute are we! We were definitely more warmed up now too, and I know Cisco hates walking with connection after she’s trotted so I tried to fuss with the medium walk to keep her from jogging between trot and free walk work.
At the end of the day, I get two 2nd place frillies! And points towards year end prizes. How. Damn. Cool. I couldn’t wait for the next show. Because I’m a little competitive (a lot) when all the results came out I checked the scores of everyone else who did Intro A and B. I would have been 2nd out of 11 for A and 2nd out of 6 for test B! I’m chuffed with that!!
As soon as the entries opened and I had Mr G&TJ with me, I had him record the two Entry-level eventing dressage tests for me. This time I asked him to try to zoom in a bit when I was at the far end. Bless his heart, did he ever. He still kept all of us in the frame, but I’m a tad worried about what the judge will say about our last halt in both tests, he zoomed too much and you can’t see the letters at all for the last halt to comment on accuracy. But goodness, he tried and I’ll still keep him.
So here I sit eagerly awaiting my next results which should be waiting for me when I get up Sunday! And I can’t wait for my next show! Lessons with my super coach Julie are starting up again so I’m excited for her to see our improvement and to improve for the next show.
Little disclaimer here, now that you’ve read my honest opinion of BDS. I decided to sign up to be an affiliate of BDS. That means if you use my link here to enter a show, like click HERE when you’ve got your test recorded and you’re ready ready ready to enter, I’ll get a bit of money back from your entry fee. Imma not gonna keep that. I’m going to donate it to the Ontario Equestrian For The Herd initiative to help school horses during these Covid times. I will continue to give any money I get from use of my link to them as long as they keep the fund open. I didn’t sign up until I had tried out BDS, LOVED it, and then entered my second show.
BDS also donated 10% of entires for each Thoroughbred that enters to an OTTB charity. Isn’t that amazing!!! And because I happened to be so awesome, the amazing Aryelle to runs this awesome program will donate 10% of ALL CANADIAN ENTRIES TO FOR The Herd!!! So enter yo’ self!!! (Update: that was for a few months in 2020)
Have you tried BDS? Do you want help uploading your video or want me to walk you through the entry process? Let me know! Send me an message, drop me a comment and I would be happy to talk you through it! I’m going to do a video over on IG doing a walk through too!
Enter the next Better Dressage Score show through my affiliate link here and I will donate be donating anything I earn to an Canadian equine charity.