To the uninitiated, competitors in the 2010 United States Equestrian Drill Championship (Super Ride VIII) may appear to be worlds away from the highly intense international spotlight that will fall upon champions of this fall’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.
– Carmen Herrmann Stiles
Judge, United States Equestrian Drill Championship
Super Ride VIII: The United States Equestrian Drill Championship (USEDC) will be held June 22 – 26 at the Texas Rose Horse Park, near Lindale, Texas. A record number of entries are expected.
Based upon the fundamentals of Dressage and military formations, equestrian drill is a well established tradition in many parts of the world.
The art of riding in formation is deeply meshed in the military, ceremonial and civilian histories of nations on all continents.
With a predominance of stock saddles and colorful western attire, and with the popular choice in theme music clearly skewed towards Country and Western, competitors in the Super Ride event may seem quite unrelated to the continental elegance epitomized by the famous horses and riders of the Spanish Riding School, Le Cadre Noir de Saumur or the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art. To the knowledgeable horse person, however, the skills on display merely represent different branches of the same firmly rooted tree.
Prior to the mechanization of cavalry units and the transfer of U.S. equestrian sports leadership to civilian entities, drill competition was principally a military exercise.
In the 1930’s, drill team competition was a popular feature of horse shows throughout America, including the National Capital Horse Show in Washington, DC and the National Horse Show held at Madison Square Garden in New York. The legendary horseman John Clarke, an officer in the 9th U.S. Cavalry, helped to train and coordinate U.S. Army drill teams that successfully competed against many of the world’s best, including members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, known internationally for their famous ‘Musical Ride’1.
For youth competing in the junior divisions, as well as for adults in the Rodeo Speed, Gaited Horse, Theme and National Championship Open Divisions, the Super Ride offers a unique opportunity to compete on a prestigious stage, in front of well-informed and supportive audiences, without the need for astronomically expensive horses, professional grooms, custom build horse boxes (vans), international air shipments, or major corporate sponsorship.
Each of the teams competing in the Super Ride has compiled countless hours in practice, choreography, music selection, costume design, fund raising and travel.
The City of Lindale is the USEDC host and Title Sponsor.
For more information, visit www.superride.org
Give drill riding a try. Download some equestrian drill team patterns.
Watch a video of the Metropolitan Mounted Police drill team.