My Experience at the Great Lakes Regional Schooling Show

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Julia McDonald, Kaylin Ziebarth, Suzannah Simon, Whitney Petersen, Anneilse DeVink, and Leana Tank

This article was an honorable mention in the 2018 GMO Newsletter Award in first person experience for GMOs with 75-174 members. It first appeared in the May 2018
All Dressage Association newsletter, All Dressage Association

By Leana Tank

I had the pleasure of competing at Rattlewood Farms this past September 30- October 31 in the first annual Great Lakes Regional Schooling Show Championships. Will Davis, head trainer at Rattlewood farm, created the show as an opportunity for those who participate in their local GMO shows to have their own “Regional Championships,” mirroring the USDF Regional Championships in nearly every way. To qualify, riders needed to receive qualifying scores in the third test of their level in at least two different shows with two different judges. Championship classes are governed by the same rules as USDF shows; tests must be memorized; no whips are allowed in the test; no one else may ride the horse other that the competitor. While attendance at this show was low, only four ADA members represented this year, the experience was wonderful and it is hoped that the show will continue to grow.

Rattlewood Farm is a unique facility, located on more than 200 acres of the rolling hills and tree lined lanes, near Oxford, MI. With a horse trailer, the drive was an easy two hours. The farm was originally established in the 1950s as a facility to develop Olympic dressage horses. It has also housed the US Eventing Team and has been a thoroughbred breeding farm, it retains its’ half mile track and is dotted with numerous small and charming barns. Will was kind enough to tour us in his golf cart, offering views of both dressage rings, an indoor arena, numerous barns, rolling fields, and wooded trails. Forget showing, I was ready to spend my Saturday hacking around the property!

Leana and Sunni

My fjord horse, Sunniva, was very comfortable in her large stall. Stabling was cozy and convenient, and Sunni appreciated the heated water in the wash racks. The welcome packet included treats and a gift certificate to the local tack shop in downtown Oxford, which we made a point to check out! The town of Oxford is very close and quite charming, with many delicious dinner options and fun shopping. We chose to camp in a nearby campground, which worked perfectly as the weather was wonderful all weekend.

The show itself ran quite smoothly, on time and without any issues. The footing in all arenas was very good. The showing arena is located in a small valley between two hills, making it quite a lovely photo opportunity. I greatly enjoyed the chance to show with riders from other GMOs and I generally did not know anyone else in my classes. They also hold a “GMO Head to Head Challenge,” awarding a perpetual trophy to the winning GMO, taking their riders highest score in Intro, Training and First Level and averaging them. Next year the ADA will bring lots of riders and win it!

All in all it was a brilliant show and I plan to return next year, perhaps with a freestyle or pas de deux. It is a perfect venue to showcase something special. This well run show in a lovely venue is the perfect way to cap off a summer of showing.

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