Regional Show Requirement for Dressage Dropped by AMHA Board of Directors

I see in the most recent Network that the AMHA Board of Directors decided at their November 2007 meeting to eliminate the requirement that Regional shows offer Dressage classes. Yes, this is old news, but I happen to prefer to read the hard copy.

I think that doing away with the requirement for Dressage classes at Regional shows is an unfortunate, although understandable, state of affairs. It costs the shows a lot of money just to be able to offer a Dressage division, and if there are not enough entries to cover the expenses, the shows lose a lot of money. Think about it. There is the USDF application fee to be an approved Dressage show. Dressage rides are done one at a time, so it takes a ring dedicated to Dressage which means either adding a day to the show or renting additional rings (with good footing) – one for warm-up and one to show in. Dressage requires judges with specialized knowledge and credentials. Therefore, it is unlikely that you can use the same judge who judges the ring classes. Another judge means not only the judge’s fee, but also additional travel and hotel expenses for the show. Dressage judges dictate their observations to a scribe who records the judge’s opinions. The scribe may be a volunteer, if you can find one, but this person needs a chair and table at the very least, and a roof would be nice in case of inclement weather. There is the requirement for a special Dressage arena of a specific size with the letters which must be either purchased (not cheap) or rented. And don’t get me started on setting up a dressage arena. That also requires specialized knowledge and skill and a huge tape measure.

On the other hand, Dressage is one of the things that Morgans are capable of and in my opinion our Regional shows should be a showcase for the versatility of the Morgan breed. AMHA does provide financial support to the Regional shows, using funds earned by the Stallion Service Auction, which could be used to pay for the Dressage division. By providing the funding to offset the losses created by the Dressage division, AMHA would be showing their support for the Morgan Sport horses. That effort is certainly evident in The Morgan Horse magazine. However, AMHA does not dictate to the Regional show committees how the funding is to be used. It is up to the show committees to decide. At what point do AMHA and the Regional show committees cut their losses and say, “We’ve been doing this for a long time without participation in the Dressage division, so it’s time to give up and put the money toward improvements in the other divisions”?

I know that there are lots of Morgan dressage horses, but maybe not out West, where I understand that the suggestion to eliminate the Dressage requirement originated. It appears at this time that it will be up to the Dressage enthusiasts to demonstrate to their Regional show committees that they want and will support a Dressage division.

5 Responses to Regional Show Requirement for Dressage Dropped by AMHA Board of Directors

  1. Black Eye Beth says:

    I agree with your points, especially that it is very unfortunate for the Dressage people and horses out there. I think often times Morgan do very well at open shows against the big warmbloods and it is a shame that these folks have less opportunity showcase their and their horse’s talents to their Morgan colleagues at Morgan shows.

    Unfortunately things are expensive and there is only so much show committees can do. I hope the Dressage people can unite and get more support for the classes at the Morgan shows.

    Thanks for posting this MochaMom. Although it is old news I had not seen it.

  2. Jessica says:

    The expense isn’t just to the show – it is less expensive for dressage riders to attend dressage shows than Morgan Regionals. They don’t have the USEF and AMHA fees to pay. Add to that the sentiment that many riders in the sport divisions have – they’d rather show against other breeds and show what their Morgan can do, than show at a Morgan show where they are relegated to a distant ring or different day and are barely feel like they are part of the show.

  3. Leslie says:

    Not a regional show, but if I remember correctly the Maine Morgan Horse Show used to (at least one year…) have its dressage division open to all breeds. I guess it was sort of like a separate show held on the same grounds, at the same time, and in conjunction with the Morgan show.

    I don’t think they do this anymore, so I’m guessing it didn’t work out. But maybe it could work at some shows in some geographic areas. Invite the Warmblood riders to subsidize the Morgan show. Obviously non-Morgan riders aren’t required to pay the AMHA fees and whatnot. Then the Morgan dressage riders aren’t excluded from their local Morgan community, and it’s good exposure for the breed to have other dressage riders attend our shows.

  4. Morganz says:

    I have heard of this. I think that the regional shows should still have dressage classes. I don’t think its very fair to single one division out. Maybe the dressage riders could pay a little bit more on their entry fees. I am good friends with some dressage riders and the only shows they go to is the morgan regionals. Having other dressage riders with other breeds show at morgan shows I think is rediculous. I think morgan shows should be for morgan horses only. They have other open shows. How does everyone else feel?

  5. Morganz says:

    All my morgan dressage friends always go to the connecticut, vermont, granite, new england and mass, maine and sometimes the grand nationals.

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