TTE teamed up with Robyn Fisher, an FEI judge, trainer, and 5 star eventing rider, to get you everything you need to know about dressage apparel and competitions! We asked a series of questions about what to wear and how to perform best. Read on for some serious insider info!
1. How did you get into dressage judging?
In 2011 I saw that the USEA was offering a program through USEF for riders that had competed through the 5 star level in Eventing to become associate judges. That means we could judge through the training level in Eventing. I went to the first training program and was hooked. It was educational, fascinating, and addicting. I decided I wanted to be a judge at the highest level I could. Every year I learn more and more; there hasn't been a single day I've regretted my decision.
2. What is something that makes a horse and rider combo stand out to you?
Strong fundamentals, a rider that has mastered the basics, a happy horse, and confidence between the pair. I don't like seeing anything that looks forced.
3. What is your favorite outfit to wear into the show ring?
4. USDF recently opened restrictions so now riders can wear lots of different colors, how often do you see those stand-out looks in the ring?
For the most part people are still keeping it classic.
5. From a judges perspective, what do you think of the loosened attire rules? What impression would you get immediately from someone wearing a more “out there” outfit?
I think that riders need to feel confident in what they're wearing and how they look. If they feel like they can ride better with a crazy outfit, then more power to them. I wouldn't suggest drawing attention to yourself with a wild outfit if it will distract from the quality of the performance (or draw attention to mistakes).
6. What are your thoughts on improving affordability and accessibility in the equestrian world?
That's a very good question. I was lucky to have help in high school from my trainer so I was able to have more access to horses and showing . I try to give that back to other riders that are in the same situation as me. I think what The Tried Equestrian offers is already a huge start to making tack and apparel more affordable.
7. Do you have any tips for preparing for shows (mental, physical, appearance)?
Stay present, know your test, so at the show you can focus on the riding and not remembering the test.
Take some time before you get on to get in a quiet head space. Spend time with your horse. And it's only a horse show, so enjoy it. We all have good and bad days, do the best you can do and enjoy every gifted second with your horse.
8. Do you have any words of encouragement for riders who want to compete in dressage?
Don't wait for the right or perfect time. Just go do it and enjoy the process. We all have good and bad days, even the top riders in any discipline. remember what Jalen Hurts said after losing the Super Bowl, "when you're not winning your learning." I couldn't agree more with this statement especially with riding.