Like her Western Trail set-up, Emma's dressage entry could use some fine tuning.
There's nothing terribly wrong with this entry. In fact, there's a lot to like. Emma's gait and arena placement match the accompanying test exactly. Her body is nice and straight and she's travelling in a frame that is correct for her breed and level of training.
And yet... Except for that fence and dressage marker, there's nothing about this entry that says dressage. Emma looks like she's dressed for a hunter show.
Ok, let's be clear on this point--I know that huntseat tack is legal in the dressage ring. I do not want to suggest otherwise. However, it's just as true that nearly everyone at a dressage show uses dressage tack.
Even at Training Level, dressage tack is pervasive.
Of course, there's a reason for this. As someone who's spent the last seven months taking dressage lessons on a huntseat saddle, I can state with absolute authority that a close contact saddle is not the best choice for dressage. It's acceptable and it's legal, but it's not ideal. Not even close.
Fortunately, I do have a dressage saddle (or two!) in my tack box.
However, Emma has a funny shaped back which makes saddle fitting a challenge. Because of this, I've added a fluffy half pad to her wardrobe. This disguises the fit issues while looking wonderfully dressage-y.
A pretty new bridle completes the ensemble.
Here is Emma's dressage entry as it looks today. Now this says dressage!There's still a bit more to do before I put this in the finished column. Emma needs a bridle number, and honestly, those old dressage letters have seen better days.
I have to say, I'm kind of liking this "Thinking Ahead" stuff. My performance entries have been consistently good in the past. Now I want them to be better. I think I'm on my way.