The process of showing Dressage is a multi stage process. Riding in the equivalent of our recognized shows, riders must have all memberships to the USDF, USEF and the local state NGO. Riders also need a horse license number for your horse, USDF and USEF membership numbers for your coach or trainer and the owner of the horse. If you ride your own horse as an adult amateur, then your own membership numbers will be used on the entry forms.
I chose the shows I wanted to compete in, based on the time frame I had planned to travel to California, and the time my coach was available. The internet has made it so easy to access show schedules, download entries, and even now there are fee for service on-line entry sites for recognized shows in all disciplines in the US.
Planning and teamwork are a big part of showing success this far from home. Plan well ahead to find a “base camp” for you and your horse. I recommend you or your coach, visit the area you plan to show in, before you decide to proceed. Meet people involved with the sport through trainer contacts, friends or the internet. Make arrangements with the facility you decide to board at. Most horse facilities in the US require copies of your equine insurance records and require signed boarding agreements. You will probably need to leave a damage deposit equivalent to ine month’s boarding fee and pay for a month in advance. Pay attention to what the boarding facility offers for their fee. Many facilities provide hay only and you buy your own feed. Feeding supplements, blanketing and turnout may be an extra charge. Barn help may be willing to do this for you, but expect to be paid directly for this service.
Once you have a place to ride and train settled upon, then decide on how to transport your horse. Choices include professional transport or trailering yourself. You need to decide which option you are most comfortable with and which suits your show plans better. If you show in Southern California during the season, there are several excellent transport companies making the run to and from Calgary on a regular basis. Going to recognized shows does not seem to be a problem either, as horse transport here is a big business. The issue comes when you ship your horse and can’t be there to unload it and make sure things are alright. This is when you have to rely on team members or a staffer to help out. If you trailer your own horse this problem goes away.
This gets you to your training destination and the beginning of your journey is yet to come.