2019 Veronica Holt Dressage Technical Delegate: Carol Spangler
In completing both parts of the Dressage Technical Delegate program requirements; the initial requirement completion phase and the apprenticeship program itself, I really enjoyed learning more about the differences with the open dressage show world, as opposed to the Arabian breed shows, where I have spent years. During the initial phase of completing the requirements to get into the program I enjoyed working with different show managers and show secretaries. It is always good to get another perspective or a different way of doing something you already know. I found several times that I learned some new feature about FoxVillage even though I have used it for years. But there were other times where I was able to show them something that I knew about FV that they didn’t. It was really fun to share back and forth. I made some great new connections with people along the way. Several have asked me to come work some of their shows since then and also sent me to shows they couldn’t do because of last minute date/weather issues.
The other thing that stood out were the different types of dressage classes that were offered that are not at the breed shows, i.e. Young Horse classes, Pony classes, Individual and team classes, these were all brand new to me when I started. The last show I worked at had Dressage Sport Horse Breeding classes, and although these classes are at the breed shows, they are run very differently. So this was great to see.
I attended the USDF/USEF clinics in Salt Lake City and really felt it was beneficial. The fact that they had several tables full of bridles and bits with labels of “Legal” and “Illegal” on them was a huge help. To see them in person and to be able to touch and discern what made them illegal was much better than seeing a picture. Especially with the bridles, as some of them the only difference was the fact that one area was stiff and unbendable which meant it had something illegal inside the leather. Several real-life scenarios were discussed around Yellow cards and charges, when to issue, when to not, when to complete an addendum to your report. This was very helpful! I also really appreciated the laminated Dressage Equipment Lite guide. I have used that already to give to the Bit Checker at a couple of breed shows where I was the C2 Steward or Show Manager and they offered dressage. The other nice thing was to be able to put faces to names of people that I have heard of or seen on the Facebook forum.
During the apprenticeship shows themselves, it was good to experience the different styles and approaches taken by the various Technical Delegates I worked with. I got several helpful hints for measuring the arena, as well as hints on pertinent measurements to keep handy. I even took pictures of the measurements all written on the sides of 300 ft tape measure so I could recreate it. What I really liked is that the Technical Delegates I worked with all had a teaching spirit, graciously being helpful not only to me but in their approach with exhibitors and show management. Their goal was to educate and explain, for all the parties involved to gain understanding.
At the last couple of shows, the TD let me play TD where I was to instruct the Equipment Checker on how to perform the check. This also was helpful as they both gave me pointers on how they do it as I went through it, again just another approach and style to absorb and blend with my own.
At my last show I had dinner with one of the judges on the last night and she ended up really giving me a lot of wonderful information about how USDF is structured, the various committees they have and what they do. She encouraged me to look at their website and look for the minutes of the committees and to get involved. This was an unexpected bonus and it raised my awareness of the functions of the organization.
The entire experience of completing my Technical Delegate requirements was very enjoyable. I love being in the horse show environment and love working horse shows. I have spent years looking up rules and wanting to understand them. To be a TD, I believe it takes not only a person with an even temperament and attention to detail, but also someone who can look at the big picture when situations arise and find the best solution. I find being helpful to show management and exhibitors gives me a sense of accomplishment. I would encourage others to look into becoming a Technical Delegate if they also enjoy this type of environment and approach. There are many people that still think the TD is the show police, but many are trying to change that image which I totally agree with and appreciate.
Thank you again to The Dressage Foundation and the donors for the Veronica Holt Grant, it came at the perfect time and really helped with my last 2 shows out of state.