The Central Ontario Region of the Canadian Pony Club will stage its Regional Dressage Finals at Blue Star Farm, east of Newmarket on Mount Albert Road this coming Sunday, October 4, weather permitting (the dressage rings at Blue Star cannot take much more rain without being under water). 15 young riders from five Branches - Durham, Kawartha, Oshawa, Rising Star and Victoria - have qualified to enter these finals. Qualification is based on the results of a Pony Club dressage show, the dressage phase of one of the two regional rallies, and some Pony Club classes included in a September 20 Blue Star dressage show .
In addition to six divisions of conventional dressage, there will also be several dressage-to-music classes in the afternoon - individual freestyles, plus two drill team classes and pas de deux competitions.
Dressage is a system for training horse and rider that has its roots in ancient Greece. Early levels emphasize walk, trot, and canter on a straight line and in circles as the horse learns to carry his weight and that of his rider with safety and elegance. Horses also learn to halt on command with the four feet placed squarely, and to stay immobile for four seconds. Higher levels require the horse to lengthen and shorten strides, to turn on very tight circles, to back up, and to go along the centre of the arena in an S-shaped line called a Serpentine.
Dressage is an Olympic sport, in which Canada's best showing was a team bronze medal in 1988. Three of the four members of that team were Pony Club graduates, and this show may very well feature members of the 2020 or 2024 Canadian Equestrian Team.
Pony Club is an international organization to promote riding and horsemanship skills among young people. In addition to dressage, there is also competition in show jumping, mounted games, rallies (which include dressage, cross-country and stadium jumping, plus stable management competition), tetrathlon (which includes swimming, shooting, cross-country riding, stadium jumping and cross-country running by the riders) as well as academic competition in quiz format.
Blue Star is on the northwest corner of Mount Albert Road and McCowan Road in the village of Holt, one concession west of Highway 48. The show will start at 8:30 and spectators are welcome without charge.
For more details e-mail Bob Inglis, Central Ontario Regional Communications Chair, or call him at 416-493-1223 (office) or 416-491-4230 (home).