Dressage returns this weekend to the historic Earl Warren Showgrounds, showcasing a display of beauty and precision to the Santa Barbara community — and featuring riders and horses dancing to music!
Hosted by the Santa Barbara County Chapter of the California Dressage Society, the event will take place Saturday and Sunday at the showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real. Enter gate B to park and follow the walkway to the equestrian arenas.
The show — rated by the United States Equestrian Federation, the California Dressage Society and the United States Dressage Federation — will exhibit competitors and their horses riding at all levels from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m Saturday and Sunday.
The highlight of both days will be Musical Freestyles, exhibiting riders and horses dancing to music. The showcase runs Saturday from approximately 3:40-5:30 p.m. and Sunday from 2:15-4:30 p.m. The event is free to the public, and tickets are not required.
Dressage is known as a horse discipline that develops a gradual harmonious physical and mental relationship between horse and rider. It is one of the Olympic sports, and one of its oldest traditions is the Lipizzaner stallions of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. Its beauty is that it can be practiced by any discipline or breed of horse from beginner to Olympic level, according to dressage enthusiasts.
There are 65 competitors at this weekend’s show.
Because dressage is an outdoor activity, COVID-19 has not been as much of a deterrent as other indoor activities, according to the show’s organizers. That being said, however, during 2020-2021, COVID was impactful on participation. Since then, organizers have seen a definite increase in participation.
The Santa Barbara County Chapter of the California Dressage Society was created to bolster interest in the activity.
The chapter’s program is educational and is designed primarily to offer a framework in which individuals can progress with the schooling of themselves and their horses. Activities such as riding clinics, dressage shows and education are directed toward a better general understanding of dressage.
The Earl Warren Showgrounds, the 19th District Agricultural Association, was created in 1955 to house the National Horse Show and remains a cornerstone in enabling the Santa Barbara and surrounding communities to celebrate and experience the area’s agricultural and equestrian history.
The showgrounds also serve as a key location for the care and safekeeping of animals in the event of wildfires and natural disasters. It is the only local facility that can provide space for more than 1,000 large animals.
For more information, visit sbccds.org.