At all International shows the jog is part of the FEI Vet Check. The purpose of this check is to properly identify your horse and be sure that he is sound enough to compete. When you compete in these competitions your horse has a passport that includes all of his identifying marks and an up-to-date record of your horse’s vaccinations. All horses are required to jog before a panel of judges and veterinarians to prove their soundness and readiness for competition. The jog is usually held the day before the competition starts and sometimes again during the competition.
Don’t worry! At the Youth Dressage Festival you don’t need a passport, but the jog is required as an educational activity for all riders competing Second Level or above. If you do not attend, there is a 5-point penalty.
The jogging area is usually on a specially prepared area where the ground is totally level and firm, sometimes even paved. There will be a path about 100 feet long with room to turn around something like a flower pot at the end away from the judges. American Olympic judge Linda Zang says that she loves the jog, because she can see all of the beautiful muscling of correctly ridden Dressage horses. Now you get to make that “first impression” before you go down the centerline!
Horses should be spotlessly clean. Although they are not required to be braided, braiding does show off the horse better. Avoid any hoof polish that will cover up the natural striations of his hoof wall – part of the “identification” process. The horse wears nothing but a snaffle bridle with bridle numbers, although you might want to put a cooler or fly sheet over him while waiting to keep him warm and/or clean. Don’t let him graze. Take a towel and a damp sponge to the holding area for last minute touchups, particularly of eyes and nostrils and a quick de-dusting of the coat.
The rider must be clean and “crisp.” The thoughtful dedicated rider presents himself with the same care that he puts into his horse. Men sometimes wear jackets, ties, slacks and sometimes a hat. Women often wear long (not tight) skirts or slacks with a blouse and a blazer. You should not have jingly jewelry. Everyone wears running shoes or at least a shoe they can easily and safely run in. A shirt and slacks are fine, but avoid jeans and riding attire, if possible. If you do wear riding clothes, you must not wear spurs. But remember, this is the first impression the judges have, and presenting oneself as someone who takes pride in everything you do is not a bad idea. You also may not carry a whip. The rider must jog his own horse, unless special permission is granted before the jog.
Well before the time of the jog, find out the order of go. It should be published or at least posted on the scoreboard. Normally it is either first-come, first-served, or horses are presented in numerical order. It takes at least two minutes per horse, so plan accordingly. It is very important that the horse not be taken to the jog without some exercise first. He may be ridden or lunged earlier. At the very least he should be hand walked and jogged for 15 minutes, to insure that he is not at all stiff and he remembers his manners. It can also be helpful to watch some riders before you go, to get a feel for the routine
As you leave the area, thank the judges.