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Teach Me Tuesday

Ok kind dressage bloggers (or bloggers with knowledge of dressage shows) I need your help!

you're our only hope gif

I've shown 4 times in my entire life, all schooling shows and two of those were hunter schooling shows when I was a kid so my mom signed me up. I've started looking into what I need to sign up for a rated show and I may as well be reading a college textbook on a topic I know nothing about.

The Facts:

-We certainly won't be qualifying for anything this year so it's not important if I'm eligible
-I've never been a member of any horse/riding related organizations so I believe I'd be eligible for opportunity classes
-I'm willing to join but if these first couple of shows are complete disasters I'm going to probably re-route to just schooling shows and/or other events I can trailer to so I'd rather not spend a ton of money this year

My Questions (I swear I've read through the rules but I can't understand half the terms and would rather ask for help than spend the next couple of weeks trying to figure this out):

-Would opportunity classes make sense this year? Is there anything I'm missing? How long am I eligible? Is it for a length of time or a number of classes? (Looks like my local shows offer training and First 1 for Opportunity classes)
-Would it make more sense to just join USDF and USEF? If so, joining my local GMO would provide me with a group membership for USDF, would that minimally qualify me to show (if I also joined the USEF) or am I missing something?
-If I join do I also need to sign Katai up? Anything to keep in mind there?
-Anything I'm missing?

I'm really not worried about being eligible for qualifying for awards or championships. First I'm sure it won't happen. Second, if by some miracle I were to qualify for championships I wouldn't go since I'd rather save the money and do more clinics this fall so that we'd have a better shot at not failing at such a big show. I do plan to join everything next year when we'll have a better chance (hopefully lol) of getting decent scores.


  1. I wish I could help but i understand the Canadian rules not the U.S. However, I will say that I wish these organizations wouldn't make it so complicated.

    1. Agreed! I wish you could just be "I want to compete in dressage this year!" and buy one all purpose membership and insurance good for all situations.

    2. Me too! It would be so nice if it were simpler

  2. I'm really curious to see the comments you get on this because the insanely confusing paperwork is what prevents me from showing rated sometimes too! 🤔

  3. I can help with some of these because I'm overinvolved in my dressage GMO, despite having zero desire to show at rated dressage shows, haha!

    Opportunity classes are a great idea! To show in these, you do NOT have to be a USEF/USDF member, your horse does NOT have a USEF/USDF number, and you do NOT have to pay non-member competition fees. As far as I know, you are not limited to how many times you can show in opportunity classes overall- I think you're limited to 2 per show, but you can show exclusively in opportunity classes at ten different shows if you want.

    If you decide you want to do non-opportunity classes or qualify for championships or year end awards, etc., I recommend you check out this Membership Checklist from USDF:

    Feel free to ask your show secretary what kind of memberships are necessary if you have questions about what you need! Show secretaries for rated shows are USUALLY pretty knowledgeable about that kind of thing.

    1. AWESOME!! Thank you so much Stephanie :) This is so helpful and now I'm definitely thinking I'll just do opportunity classes for this show or for this year.

  4. Karen has a great post about what you need and don't need for recognized dressage:

    She also is very friendly about answering really stupid questions (ask me how I know). I don't know anything about the opportunity classes, but as far as membership: joining your local GMO is enough to show recognized. You only need to upgrade to a participating membership if you're gunning for regionals or breed awards. You can still qualify for your medals with a simple group membership that you get from joining the GMO. You do have to join USEF, and Katai will need a number with USDF.

    1. Thank you!! I'll go check this out and ask some questions :) Thanks so much for the information on the group membership, that's certainly all we'll need for USDF and I really want to support my local GMO but can't afford to join three organizations so that's amazing :)


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