Canadian dressage

Silly question but I’m not having much luck with Google.

For an adult amateur, what is the typical show ring progression. From all of my reading I gather in the US you can aspire to medals (bronze, silver, gold) which I assume are the culmination of a number of test scores at that given level.

Is there an equivalent in Canada? If so, how does it work? Like if you’re starting at training/first in the show ring, showing bronze level (which I understand to be schooling shows) do you just methodically work your way up? Is there something to aspire TO, like a medal?

And is the only reason to show silver (which I think is Trillium? I’m in Ontario) to go to larger, nicer shows?

I’ve been dabbling in dressage for 15 years but never with an eye to showing. Now I’ve caught the bug and want to understand it all. I have an AQHA background, so zero experience in either h/j land or dressage shows.

Yes, we do have medals here, as well as other awards:

Rated shows start at bronze (similar to a schooling show, as you say, except that they can use the EC tests). CADORA is an organization that runs regional series that might be of interest. A true schooling show (unsanctioned, ie. unrated by EC) cannot use EC tests. I run a schooling (unsanctioned) series and offer Walk-Trot through First Level divisions, then a Test of Choice class. I use CADORA tests which are free to use (note that CADORA the organization actually uses EC tests as they are sanctioned :slight_smile: ).

Silver and Gold shows will generally offer tests up to higher levels than a schooling or Bronze show. That’s where you’re seeing the shows at bigger facilities such as Angelstone. There is also the Platinum rated level for FEI.

Note that those awards at the link above require scores at Silver, Gold, or Platinum shows.

Bronze isn’t necessarily schooling shows; in Quebec the regional dressage circuits are bronze-level and qualify you for the inter-regional finals in September. There are no silver dressage shows in Quebec to my knowledge.

I know some Canadians who have received their bronze or silver medals through USDF, but I have no idea what the process is to apply for them as a Canadian.

Ah, thank you! I think this is the bit I’ve been looking for:

Achievement Award Medals

  • Bronze Medal = four (4) scores of 65% or more at the Training or First Level

  • Silver Medal = four (4) scores of 62% or more at the Second, Third or Fourth Level

  • Gold Medal = four (4) scores of 62% or more in the Prix St. Georges, Intermediate I, Intermediate II, or Grand Prix; U25 Grand Prix or U25 Intermediate II; or Intermediate A or Intermediate B

So if I understand correctly, and equating it to QH or stock horse terms, there are TRUE schooling shows, which would be the equivalent to a saddle club. In the grand scheme of things is just for fun and experience.

Then there are the bronze level shows, also for fun and experience, but “recognized” by EC.

Then to be considered for the medals I pasted above, you have to show at least at the Silver level. So basically, once you get past first level, if you want to continue achieving medals, you have to show Silver. Which would be, as you say, Angelstone. Are there any other venues in Ontario that offer silver shows?

Solarflare - are all the CADORA shows considered bronze level? Are they the place to start if someone aspires to the show ring?

I’m in Ottawa, where there are (at least in a non-COVID year) quite a few silver/gold shows outside the big venues:

You can also go on the EC website to find all the rated shows: (use the advanced search function to filter according to discipline/level/province.)

There might be some at Caledon Equestrian Park, which Angelstone bought out this year. I didn’t see much info on the Angelstone site though. The best place to check is the EC site under Events. Try this (I put the filter on for Dressage at Silver level in Ontario). If it doesn’t work directly, click on “Advanced Search” at the top right and you can filter.

Some are, and some are Silver and even Gold. Best to check with each regional CADORA - they’re listed here under “Local Dressage Groups”:

Gold, Silver and Bronze are different levels of Equine Canada recognized shows, in descending level of entry fee cost. I understand that Gold accrues national points, Silver accrues provincial points, and Bronze does not accrue points toward a year end award . All are recognized and the results (eventually) go up on Equine Canada’s online database, where you can also find all the recognized shows being offered across the country.

You are free to compete in any of these shows at any time you wish. Some regions or venues only do Gold, some do Gold and Bronze back to back to give a cheaper option, some only do Bronze. In BC no one does Silver shows in any discipline , but I think they are common in Ontario.

Anything that doesn’t explicitly say it’s a recognized EC Gold, Silver or Bronze show is considered a “schooling show.” But these can differ a lot from very professional show series with their own year end high point awards and accredited judges, to backyard barn playdays. Ask your coach or dressage friends for guidance through your local environment.

Canada also has Gold, Silver and Bronze medals similar to USEF and earned the same way through accruing a number of scores at different levels. I feel that in Canada fewer people pursue them and they are mainly an amateur thing. You do need to get your scores for the medals at EC recognized shows. I would think you could do them at Bronze shows since those are legitimate EC shows with recognized judges and recorded verified results. The names of the medals unfortunately overlap with the tiers of recognized show but are unconnected. A Bronze show can have the same range of classes as a Gold show. You can show Training at a Gold show or GP at a Bronze show.

Professional coaches in Canada can test for Equine Canada coach certification, which has a written test, a riding test, and a teaching demonstration. Coaches in Canada are more likely to focus on this than on medals especially as EC certification makes your insurance much cheaper!

If you happen to be in the Collingwood general area there is a group, Escarpment Dressage or a name something similar that runs a silver series of shows.

We have a very lame awards program in Canada, nothing even close to as good as the medal series in the US or the breed awards or off breed awards etc. It’s sad.

BUT, we have a lot of schooling shows.

Bronze/Silver/Gold are all the same, run under EC rules but the judging might get a bit harder with each and each increase in entry fees and “prestige” I guess you could say.

There is a Dressage enthusiast of Ontario group on FB that is worth joining.

yeah, I follow allll the FB pages :smiley: I don’t find them very active, really.

I’m near London so LDA would be where I would go and poking around on their site was pretty informative. I think I have a good grasp on it now.

Mostly I was trying to sort out if it was like showing in the QH world, where sure, anyone can show at an AQHA show, but your horse will stick out like a sore thumb if it’s not “breed show competitive”. So I didn’t want to inadvertently make my dressage show debut at a venue that I had no business being at.

I know my coach will help me sort through all of this when/if the time comes, but you know how it goes. 3 good rides and you start dreaming and scheming.

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Don’t I know it lol

The dressage community is pretty decent overall here. I would start at Bronze if you want to go recognized and go from there, that being said there are tonnes of great schooling shows too.

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The level of competition at any given show depends a lot on the local population. We have one Gold/Bronze show that’s always seriously under enrolled at Gold, like only one or two people per class. I know a low level pro that loves that show because she can bring home first place ribbons at scores of 59 and impress her students.

I know a schooling show that gets 20 entries at First Level and you’d need to be in the 70s to get a ribbon.

I think schooling show judging is probably a little softer than recognized but it isn’t meant to be. They have the same judges and the same tests here.

I would suggest going to a quality schooling show series your first year, and if you are consistently scoring in the 60s, consider your options for either doing a recognized show or going up a level in the schooling series.

Usually schooling shows top out at Second Level but may be able to accomodate a higher Test of Choice, but you’d probably be the only person doing that test.

I’d also suggest attending the recognized shows to watch next year while you are competing in a good schooling series just to see how you feel they compare.

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Thanks Scribbler! I’m very excited about the idea. My plan is to just do what my current horse can do, and then get a younger purpose bred horse and keep climbing the ladder. It’s so fun to dream.

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Just a note that only scores achieved at Silver and Gold rated shows count towards medals in Canada.

Ok good to know! That’s a useful cash grab for EC and it incentivize venues running the more expensive tier of show. In most provinces there are few or no Silver shows so it means you’d need to have all your memberships in place and attend multiple Gold shows per year. I can’t think of a legitimate reason why Bronze shows wouldn’t count other than incentivizing venues and riders to support Gold shows.

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