By Sarah E Coleman
Snowbird Dressage has been a staple in the Bluegrass since 1987. Hosted by Julie Congleton and Judi Tudor, the dynamic duo began to wonder how they could reinvent their ever-popular show series. Thus, Snowbird Team Challenge was born.
Launched this past winter, the Team Challenge offered riders an opportunity to ride as a team in addition to riding for individual awards. “You sign up as a team of three, paying a one-time fee of $30 to register the team. You can mix the levels of the team, meaning you could have one rider at walk/trot, another at training or any combination you want in regards to team members,” explains Julie.
Teams had to compete at three of the five Snowbird Dressage shows, and then points were awarded in accordance with placings, similar to how Mid South awards points in first through fifth place. A “low score” was not dropped, it riders who attended four or five of the shows accumulated more points than those who only rode in three shows. There were 14 teams that competed this year.
Teams must use the same horse and rider combinations, and riders could not change levels; a team test must be declared at the beginning of the series. Though riders can still ride two or three tests (three is the maximum number any horse can participate in), only the declared test counts toward team points.
“The Team Challenge classes really increase our numbers,” says Julie. “We were oversubscribed at all five shows! People were all over it.:
And for good reason! The money used to register the teams was put directly back into prizes for the division, explained Julie. “We gave coolers, groom boxes, neck ribbons and saddlepads.” The hope is that the prizes and ribbons would encourage participation in Team Challenge next year, as well.
“We have such a good, loyal group who come to Snowbird,” Julie explained. It has been exciting to offer them a new class, which has been very well received! Both Julie and Judi look forward to offering Snowbird Team Challenge in the upcoming 2016-2017 show season.
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