First Recognized Dressage Show Summertime Blues, Pinehurst, NC

Finally, took the plunge and went to a “real” dressage show. I was hired to take photos at the dressage shows in Aiken, so Zoey and I packed our bags and headed up to Southern Pines.

We lucked out that the hot weather broke just for us on the weekend, it has been unusually hot, unusually early. The show was held at the Pinehurst Harness Track in Pinehurst, NC.

No, we aren’t riding next to a cathedral. It is the Pinehurst Fair Barn. Zoey looks so cute braided. I finally got my new half chaps to where I can wear them.

Even though we just did two Intro tests each day, I was glad I finally did it. So many things that I would not even have to think about for a driving show had to be organized because everything is so different.


Zoey and me.

Like, how am I going to get on my pony? Three step mounting block – check

Braided or unbraided? Braided (Thanks to Keady) – check

Are half chaps and boots ok? Seems like they are. I finally got nicer half chaps. I didn’t realize when I ordered them that the zipper in the back was going to cause so much issues. I eventually rigged up a system for zipping them so I could get them stretched out enough to not think about them when I am riding. – check

What shirt do I wear? Will it be ok if they waive jackets? – Kind of silly but I really didn’t want to wear a solid white shirt if they waived jackets. Luckily, a trip to the tack store solved this problem. I already had the jacket. -check

Most importantly, I lucked out that not only was the show close to Randy and Keady’s but they had visitors, Maggie and Marius who came as well. Zoey requires an entourage. Marius even took nice pictures of me.

First mistake I made was not taking Zoey over to school at the show the day before. On Saturday, when we went in the ring, she claimed the tent the judges were sitting under was going to eat her somehow.


At least, we had a decent halt at the end of our first test on day one.

Zoey is not normally a spooky pony,  I suspect that this will go away as we both get our confidence at riding shows. As a result, I had a couple of breaks to the walk and late transitions in my tests. I also got penalized for using my voice, which is something I have had a hard time getting used to coming from the driving.

Our second test was much better than the first, but we got the same score: 62%. (It was in a different ring.) I also learned that it is expected that you go  around the ring prior to your test and tell the judge your number. This is not something we do at driving shows.

Sunday we were determined to do better, I told Zoey that the tents wouldn’t eat her. We circled the ring like proper dressage show riders.  I made sure to do a lot of transitions in the warmup so she was listening. The second day, we did Intro Test B first. I actually find this test easier than Intro Test A. Zoey was much more consistent and pay attention to ME. I really need practice riding in an actual arena. The corners seem so tight! I did manage to halt way before X. Aside from that, I felt like we were pretty accurate for both tests. I need to practice maintaining a consistent pace, but Zoey was at least not speeding off with me.

We struggle going right sometimes, but Zoey was good here.

Intro Test A has lots of walking. Zoey is not always the most interested in walking and by the time we walked all the way across the diagonal and up centerline she was kind of over it. But otherwise, everything was an improvement on the day before. We got a 65% on Intro Test B and a 70% on Intro Test A.

Not sure what we will do next. This show was a part of a series that runs throughout the summer, so maybe we will make it back for a couple of the other shows. I think the more Zoey and I go places, the more we will get over our jitters.

More cute Zoey pictures follow! Big thanks to Randy and Keady, Marius and Maggie, for helping me get to the show!

About Meghan

I am a photographer/graphic designer in Aiken, SC. I am owned by a herd of ponies. My dogs/best friends are Poppy and Amigo.