As you prepare to create your scenic diorama for model horse live or photo show dressage entries, you'll need dressage arena markers. Dressage patterns refer to specific letters. A small size dressage arena contains eight letter markers which are displayed at evenly measured points around the rectangular-shaped arena. Three letters (X, G and D) are listed on dressage tests but are not depicted on individual markers. Some arenas place these letters on the corresponding markers on the sides of the rings with the center arena letters in smaller print.
Buying Model Horse Dressage Arena Markers
Breyer makes a Dressage Arena kit (#2032) featuring a wooden arena complete with four corners, eight letter markers and twelve rails that you snap together to form a Traditional scale dressage area. For the arena base or footing, use either sand or a dirt-colored model railroad cloth that can be unrolled and tacked onto cardboard or a piece of wood.
Footing for Model Horse Scale Dressage Arena Setups
Many people use corkboards at live model horse shows to mimic the groomed sand arena of a dressage ring. A small locker-sized corkboard can work for Classic or smaller scale model horses. The corkboard is placed flat on the table and the arena rails and dressage letter markers are arranged around the frame to form the classic dressage arena. The cork underfoot is usually even enough so that models don't tip over, and if a model should be so unlucky as to topple over during setup, the soft cork won't scratch the way model railroad footing can mar the model horse's paint job. It's also less messy than sand, which is nearly impossible to transport and setup cleanly at live shows, and may even be frowned upon for its messiness.
Make Breyer Traditional Scale Dressage Arena Markers
To make dressage arena markers for your model horses, first you'll need to print and assemble the Versailles Planter Boxes. You may need to adjust them bigger or smaller, depending on the scale you're working with. The printable dressage pattern and arena markers provided are scaled to Breyer Traditional size horses.
Follow the directions and assemble eight Versaille Planter Boxes.
Print the dressage letter pattern, cut out the letters, and trace the black square eight times onto pieces of cardboard. Paint the cardboard black on both sides. This will help the white letter background stand out better. Glue the squares with the printed letters onto the black cardboard squares, centering the white letters so that there is an equal amount of space on every side. Mount the letters on top of the Versailles Planter boxes and arrange them according to the diagram to make your dressage arena.
You may also want to cut out one long piece of cardboard approximately the size of two of the squares on the pattern. Fold the cardboard in half to make a "V" and place this on top of the planter box. Another option is to use the single cardboard squares but insert a straight pin into the cardboard on the edge, and tuck it into the planter box to have it standing upright.
Keep in mind that three letters are imaginary and aren't printed or mounted in the arena. These are marked in red on the pattern. X is always at the very center of the ring, and all other letters are placed equidistant from the center according to the pattern.
Other Fun Accessories to Add to a Dressage Arena Setup
The Kentucky Horse Park located in Lexington, Kentucky, offered Breyer Traditional scale dioramas depicting events at the World Equestrian Games last fall. Top miniaturists from the model horse world were invited to create scale dioramas. These perfectly detailed scenes offered an amazing glimpse into the talent behind the miniatures.
The miniature dressage scene created for the Kentucky Horse Park included fun extras, such as the judge and her helper seated at a table. A tiny bell was included on the table; judges ring the bell to signal the start of the test. Even a little scorecard was included! If you have extra dolls and a mini scale table, why not add a little judging booth to the scene?
Dressage is a beautiful, artistic sport that harkens back to the Renaissance and a time when the rider's skill meant success or failure in battle. Creating model horse dressage scenes for live and photo shows offers miniature makers and model horse collectors the chance to show off their miniature skills and enter the fascinating world of dressage.