Tuesday, February 23, 2016

What a European dressage show is like

I mentioned in my post yesterday that after buying far too much at two amazing tack shops, Tanja took us to a show to watch the PSG rides. But this particular venue was quite special - not only was it just outside of Vienna, but there's a huge Rider's Lounge where you can order REAL food (nothing like American horse show food, yuck) while watching everyone ride.

But first, a tour of the grounds:

One of the permanent barns

Outdoor dressage arena

Inside one of the temporary barns

And you think the rigs with LQs are nice in the US... !!!!

So much matching (no, I didn't buy it, sheesh!) 

Indoor show arena


Turnout

After a tour of the grounds, we headed in to the Rider's Lounge for lunch and found a spot to watch the warmup.

I need this at EVERY show. Schnitzel for lunch with a view of the ponies. WHY can't American horse shows be like this?!?!? WE ARE MISSING OUT, GUYS!!!

Warmup was... interesting. I don't often have a chance to watch upper-level horses go at the shows I attend, but I was surprised be a few things here. First, tophats! Most venues in the US require a helmet when mounted. Here, they don't care, and most riders were wearing the classic tophats. Second, not as much bling. Seriously, I see more bling on the AAs at First Level than I did here. I guess they spend all their money on the horses?

And of course, the frame that the horses were working in caught my attention.

This is a PSG horse warming up

Two more PSG horses in warmup

I'm not singling out these horses - I have no idea who they are, or who their riders are, and I've tried to remove identifying information. I just found it very, very interesting that while I've never seen horses warmed up this long/deep/round/rollkur/whatever you want to call it while the US, it's common here. They do ride the horses "up" for tests, however.

And speaking of the tests, watching these folks ride gave me some confidence. I have this image in my head of all upper-level riders being like Charlotte on Valegro, but the PSG riders have some of the same problems that I do, albeit on a grander scale. Most of them completely biffed the 10 meter circles. Halts were not square. Half passes were sometimes more like diagonal lines. One poor rider had a desperate time getting her horse back from extended canter. One horse had a pacey walk, and others were tense and jiggy and screamed for their buddies. My circles may be 20 meters and maybe I'm doing leg yield instead of half pass, but everybody seems to have issues, even when you're at PSG on a fancy warmblood. 

Watching rides while eating an Apfelstrudel for dessert is a whole new level of epic.

Awards ceremony

All in all, a most excellent day. Thank you again, Tanja! I can't wait until my next visit (although my bank account needs some time to recover from the tack shopping).

Enter at A! (Photo courtesy of DressageHafl)

34 comments:

  1. Interesting to see all the differences!

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  2. Jesus. Christ. TAKE ME WITH YOU! I fit in a suitcase und ich brauche zwei apfelstrudel! Bitte!?

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    1. Then I would have to take two suitcases, and do you know how much they charge you to check a second bag??!?!

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    2. Oh come on Jen, if there is space for dress boots, there is space for Austen...Good God, Austen, you speak German as well? :D

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  3. Yes, that food. Mmmmmmmm. That looks like a really cool trip!

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    1. We clearly need to change things up over here. I think we're doing it wrong.

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  4. Schnitzel plus PSG?!? That totally needs to become a thing in North America!

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  5. SCHNITZELS!! Those need to be more of a thing in the US in general, not just at dressage shows!

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    1. I think I may have overloaded on schnitzels...

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  6. Schnitzel at a show would be a VAST improvement over greasy cheeseburgers!

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    1. I wonder if the schnitzel is the German equivalent of a greasy cheeseburger?

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    2. ROTFLMAO

      In some places, yes! (But never eaten with plastic forks.)

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    3. Lytha, oh heavens no. There's nothing plastic anywhere that I could see. But it's SO NICE to have food served on real plates with real silverware, even if it's the equivalent of a greasy cheeseburger.

      Now you've gone and spoiled my fun with schnitzels = greasy cheeseburgers. Darnit.

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  7. Replies
    1. YAYAYAY and you all can come to a show with Hafl and me :D

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  8. It was indeed so much fun! and yes, there is Schnitzel at EVERY show! EVERY SHOW! :D but there are NO burgers ever....

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  9. Man, I need to move to Europe. Seriously, real food at a horse show? Not fair.

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  10. I can only think of two horse shows I've been to that don't have shitty food, and one is WEF.

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    1. Obviously we need better food here...

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  11. Well I know where I want to vacation

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  12. I attended Germany's biggest horse fair last year (Equitana) and was shocked to see all the Rollkur. I guess I was under the impression that Germans are against it. From everything I read, they are, but in reality, it's what everyone seems to do - everyone except the Legerete people.

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    1. While I didn't see the nose-cranked-to-chest that I've come to equate with "rollkur," every horse was definitely ridden low, round, and deep. So... I dunno. It's very different from how warmups are done here, at least in the national classes that I've seen. FEI classes may be different, it's definitely many levels up from what I ride!

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  13. Totally fascinating, jenj, thank you for sharing!!!!! On a related note, I was at a USDF show a few years ago, and I remember it was the first time I recognized that just because you're an upper level rider, it does not mean you are a great rider. I saw lots of struggling riders. I wasn't happy for them, but it made me realize that there is no magical "There." Dressage is hard for all of us - Intro or Grand Prix rider. :0)

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    1. It's so true! If you're out there killing it, it's probably time to move up lol.

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