The Central Ontario Region of the Canadian Pony Club will stage its Regional Dressage Finals at Carousel Farm, east of Newcastle on Highway 2 this coming Sunday, September 26. 15 young riders from six Branches 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 a "last chance" qualifier being held at the same time as the finals. For this year, riders may also qualify by submitting their results from certain non-Pony Club shows.
In addition to six divisions of conventional dressage, there will also be dressage-to-music classes.
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.
Carousel Farm is at 4289 Highway 2. The show is expected to start at 9:00 a.m. and run to about 3:30 p.m. Spectators are welcome without charge, but please note dogs are not allowed.
For more details e-mail Bob Inglis, Central Ontario Regional Communications Chair, or call him at 416-491-4230.