So I decided to do what Janet Foy told us to do at the RDHMW and read the USEF Rule Book! Ok so the dressage section is 96 pages! It often refers back to the General Rules so I read those too! But I learned a great many things. So thanks Janet for your advice.
I will admit that at times my eyes glazed over and I had to put down the seemingly endless lines of words strung together like patio lights. I got blinded by the details at times and had to put it away and come back later because there were many gems hidden in among the rules. I mean what can better give us an idea of the goals, the motivation and the thinking of an organization but what its rules are?
I also admit I spent a few days on the USEF website. I opened every link and read every line. I have to say that although there is lots of information the site is difficult to find if you don’t know what you are looking for. If you are a teenager who just wants to see what is out there and get some motivation or information it is hard. This website is definitely geared toward people in the know. However, given that if you want to find it and are willing to spend hours in front of the computer screen reading everything; you will find it.
Before I get to any of the specific details I found. I want to start with DR rule 101 which is about the purpose of Dressage as a sport! I love the way it describes what the goal of our equine partnerships are all about.
DR 101 (excerpts) The purpose of dressage is to develop the horse into a ‘happy athlete.’ This is demonstrated by freedom and regularity of gaits; harmony, lightness and ease of movement; lightness of the forehand and engagement of the hindquarters originating from a lively impulsion; acceptance of the bit with submission and thoroughness without any tension or resistance. This all results in an image of the horse doing, of ITS OWN ACCORD (my emphasis), what is required. Confident and attentive and submitting generously to the control of the rider….the horse responds to the slightest indication of the rider and thereby gives life and spirit to all the rest of its body. By virtue of a lively impulsion and the suppleness of the joints, free from the paralyzing effects of resistance, the horse obeys willingly and without hesitation and responds to the various aids calmly and with precision, displaying a natural and harmonious balance both physically and mentally.
I LOVE THAT description. It sounds like live art in motion. It sounds like effortless poetry.
One interesting thing I found in the rule changes from the convention was related to sponsorships. We now have three places according to 120.15 and 120.1 DR. and GR 1306 to place individual sponsorships and logos. We have the 200 cm 2 on both sides of the ‘saddle cloth’. We have 80 cm2 on either side of the jacket or top garments at the height of the breast pocket. We also can have logos appear on headgear although size doesn’t seem to be mentioned. This is in the paragraph with the breast pocket so I would assume it is the same 80cm2 but I may have to check on that!