The South African National Dressage Challenge
The DSA Challenge, which began over 20-years ago, originated as a platform for competitors to compete on a national basis without having to travel out of their province.
Every year two National Panel dressage judges are invited by each province to judge their horses, ponies and riders at the national status competitions.
Beginning in March and ending in June this year there will be seven DSA Challenges across the country namely Gauteng, Mphumalanga, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Northern Cape and North West (combined), Freestate and Kwa Zulu Natal.
By having the same judges at all competitions it means that the judging is consistent across the board, enabling competitors in, for example, the Western Cape, to be judged against others in Gauteng without the huge costs of travelling their horses out of province.
The competition is open to riders of all levels from Prelim to Advanced and includes Pony Riders, Children, Juniors, Adults and Para Equestrian riders.
Last year we had an enormous turn out with over 500 horse taking part nationally. As a maximum of 50 horses a day may be judged by the judges most horse / rider combinations had to qualify in order to compete in the Challenge itself.
After each leg of the Challenges the final scores are collated into a centralised spread sheet and emailed out to the provinces. This creates and maintains the excitement as each Province can see their results in comparison to the other regions; these results are then posted on the DSA website.
To add to the friendly provincial rivalry a team competition runs during the challenge. Each province selects their top scoring riders, per grade, to represent the Province and compete against the other provinces.
In 2018 for the first time the Prelim will be part of the Challenge; it will be exciting for our newcomers to dressage to be part of this growing competition.
During the National SA Dressage Championship, which usually takes place towards the end of the year, Individual and Team DSA Challenge Awards are handed out at the Gala Dinner. A fabulous way to close off a much loved, fun and well supported competition series.