General question about regionals...

This year, my horse and I qualified for training, first, and DSE (adult). We’ve qualified for at least training/DSE the past few years but haven’t been able to go, for various reasons, including entering for last year and then having him re-injure himself at the start of September. :frowning: So I’m being cautiously optimistic, and preparing to enter when entries open on Monday.

Basically, though, I’m not 100% sure about what to enter, since I haven’t actually been to regionals before. For training level, we’re getting upper 60s generally, so I know we’re not going to be in the ribbons in our very competitive region, but at least I feel like we can maybe keep working on it and at least have a respectable score if I keep my brain working and put in a correct test. Same for equitation; I’ve started getting in the 70s there, so I’m not aiming to win; in both of those, I just want to get to compete and have fun and see how well I can do. But First-3 has been a tough test for us, and we’ve only done it a few times, and we’re mostly in the 60-65% range there for recognized shows. Even though we eked out the qualifying scores, I don’t know if it would be worth it to pay all the extra money to actually enter the championship class. I’m thinking of maybe just doing a couple of First-3 tests instead with the qualifier, see if we can qualify for next year, and then spend the next year really working on that before next year’s champs.

I could also just do a couple of easier tests to see how we can do in a more intense and competitive environment and to maybe try to get into the ribbons.

So does it seem like it would be a waste of money entering a championship class that you know you’re not going to be anywhere close to the ribbons in, or would it be worth the experience, just for funzies?

Also, if you have a championship class, do most people enter an easier test or do that test/TOC also that day for practice? I’m trying to kind of figure out an overall strategy that will give us enough ring time but not totally drain my horse in a super busy environment…

You qualified so you belong there so go have fun and don’t worry about placing!

I usually just enter the classes I’ve qualified in, but we also have the SWDC championships during Regionals so that’s an extra class for AA and for pony(Training and First only). Unless you need extra classes to relax or settle your horse keep things simple as you can’t carry a whip so you don’t want to overdo what your horse can do.



Ooh, no whips in the championship classes? Good to know… not that I use mine, but carrying it is the only way we get a lengthening, so that’s a good point about saving his energy. :slight_smile:

You also must ride the test from memory.

Yeah, I should probably be able to remember it by then…

I usually have someone read my test the first time, but later ride from memory. However, I usually just ride the test 3 every time so that makes it easier.

Some people go to Regionals with the goal of WINNING, others go just to be a part of it. So - first you have to decide, how bad will you feel if you come in toward the bottom of the class (not saying you WILL, but it is a possibility). My experience (at least in Region 7) is that judges are often tougher at the Regionals/Championship show - many riders end up with their lowest scores of the year, so also be prepared for some sticker shock.

OTOH - there is something to be said for being there, doing that, being a part of it. In Region 7, the show is HUGE, and there is quite a bit of hoopla involved - so it is fun to participate, even knowing you’ll never make the top 3. I had this very discussion with our GMO President a few years ago - he thought everyone’s goal at the Championship show (we run a GMO Championship concurrently with the Regional Championship) was to WIN. I tried to explain that, for the vast majority of us, it was simply to be part of the experience. I know I can never win, I don’t have a big, fancy horse, but it is exciting to qualify, and to participate, and to see how we “stack up” to the best in the region. He just couldn’t understand, his barn went to WIN.

So - if you are looking for a blue ribbon, don’t waste your money, you’ll just be sorely disappointed. But if you are just excited to be a part of it - you qualified, GO FOR IT! Experience it, enjoy, and ride your best…

In my region, those levels (Training and First, AA Division) can be 20, 30, or more horses and riders. One year (before the recession), there were 38 horses in the First Level AA Division. I figured, if I was in the top half, I should be thrilled… Actually made top ten, even more thrilling:D

Remember, as others pointed out - no whips in the show ring; no reader; and your trainer (if you have one) can not ride your horse, only the competitor can ride during the time on the show grounds.


Oh, I’m definitely going for the experience and the fun, not the ribbons! :slight_smile:

PMed you!

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Then do it!!! That is one of those things - you and your horse are healthy and sound, you are qualified - do it! And have a blast and report back!

I didn’t want to start a new thread but just refreshing to say I’m going to my first ever US regionals next week and I’m starting to get all kinds of nervous!! I haven’t done any kind of championships since I was a teenager, nearly 20 years ago, and that was tiny little Canada shows. I’ve been showing a lot in the last few years and my general show nerves are pretty good, but this one is making me sweat. Any advice? (I’m trying to tell myself that this time we’re going to have fun, not going to place - I’m doing 6 year regional futurity on a Lusitano and some folks tell me to expect a blood bath with an Iberian, though it’s just Second Level and we can do the tests clean very easily/ my clinician said don’t worry - I don’t think we’re going to embarrass ourselves… I’m also doing the AA Third with my other horse and she’s sticky on one change/ still young and not terribly strong in the canter, so I’ll be happy if we score about where we’ve been all year, which is respectable, and look cute/ have fun - we got a freak almost 69 at 3-3 last show but not holding my breath for that!!) I’m trying the mindset of “just being here with these fairly young horses is an accomplishment!!” Any other advice? I don’t want to spend all this money and then get distressed about the competitiveness or some nonsense…


I have been to two regionals, years apart - training level, and PSG. Have qualified other times but my travel situation is weird due to family issues. In both cases it seemed that the scoring was a smidge tougher than our regular shows. 2 times does not make a scientific study, but just my experience. Go, enjoy, it will be good experience for the young horses. There is a bit of a different vibe also - maybe because the shows end up big. Horses may feel that.


A lot of regionals are also offering an open show that runs concurrent to regionals. So if you’re interested in doing DSE and training regionals , you could theoretically ride first in the open show classes. Also know that you can use your qualifying scores for regionals to qualify for next year.

Must ride from memory and no whips for championships!

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Regionals is like an end of the year party. A chance to be together with friends

Do all the things, eat the food, visit the vendors, ride the classes, experience the event for what it is.

get a score get a ribbon (perhaps)
but do ALL the things

Ride one warm up class on the first day then simply do the championship and Eq class you have qualified for. Leaves time to do all the other things. Try to see if there is some time where you can volunteer some effort, even the most basic helping hands


When I did regionals, I always went with a few goals depending on the judges, size of the class, and region I was in.

Regionals scores for me were generally about 3% lower than the rest of my scores for the year. So I’d have a goal to get “at least X%” in my tests but not expect a great score, then a goal for a specific component of the test to do well on (like I’m going to use my corners really well or have straight centerlines and prompt halts), and then the always present goal of “stay on and stay in the ring.”

Also if you plan to quality at the same level for 2023 regionals, pay the $10 qualifying for your championship classes and even if your placing isn’t great, you should be able to get a qualifying score for next year and have achieved something.

Also Region 5 I think would run a Midwest Championships along with Regionals and have separate MW championship classes, so that was a warmup ride or a fun second chance ride.

This is a good reminder - I remembered about that today, that I need to practice the test a few times with the lazier horse without a whip. I know we CAN do changes / extended canter without her seeing a whip in my hand but ohhh it’s not the same for sure.

I think this might be my first horse show all year where I don’t have to work most of the time as well (I’m the lady sitting on a bale of hay with my laptop between rides, trying to mute my conference calls when my horses are screaming). So that alone will be awesome, to say hi to everyone and enjoy it, as you say! A bunch of the folks I’ve met over the years will be there, so it should be a party. :smiley:

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Another difference is that you will have two judges, one at C and one on the side. Some horses are spooked by the judge on the side, so try to let your horse have a good look at the judges booth on the side during warm up day. Also, if you want to try to bring home a ribbon, enter Test 2 instead of Test 3 on a day you want an extra class. The “top” horses usually only do Test 3.