Student competitions (so's)
SO is the Dutch abbreviation for Student competitions. Every student city has its own student riding association and organizes student competitions at its own riding school. So you ride horses from there, yes you read that right: horses you don't know. You go to another city for a whole weekend and you will compete there at your own level. There is dressage as well as jumping. For dressage the following levels exist: Ba, Bb, La, Lb and M. These levels are comparable to the KNHS competitions. The Ba is an entry level for riders who have never competed before or are just starting to ride. For jumping you have the levels B and L. So there is a suitable level for everyone! During the preliminary round and the semifinal you will compete at your own level. The final is a level higher.
The SOs are organised by a knock-out system. In this case, two or three riders take turns riding the same horse, with the one who performs the best getting on to the next round. So it is about the best rider, in contrast to the regular competitive sport where it is about the best combination. The combination of horse and rider is determined by drawing lots and new horses are present in each round.
By participating in the SOs you can also qualify for the annual Association of Dutch Student Riders Championship (VNSK), the championship for national student riders. By participating in at least two SOs during the academic year, riders can select themselves for this through the VNSK points that they can earn at each SO. So the more you win, the more VNSK points and the more likely you are to be selected. The best three riders per level can start at the VNSK, which is organized at the end of the academic year. You compete at your own level as well as at a higher level.
In addition to the competitions, there is always a theme party on Saturday evening. Sometimes you go into town, but usually the party is in the pub of the riding school, but it's just what the organization has arranged. Around midnight there will be an announcement about who made it to the semi-finals. After that there is always a lot of partying! Sleeping places are always provided, you only need to bring your air mattress and sleeping bag.
Marcroix also participates fanatically in the SOs and also organizes one a year. In the agenda you can see when the next SO's are planned! If you have become curious, please contact us!