Dressage Resource Page

Dressage: The art or method of training a horse in obedience and in precision of movement. The sport evolved from ancient military techniques for training horses for battle. A dressage test consists of a series of prescribed movements to be executed in a specified order within an arena. Riders and horses are judged on each movement with a score between 1 and 10, 10 being perfectly executed, and 1 being not executed. At the end of the test, the scores of all the movements are tallied and calculated to determine the percent of the total possible points the pair earned. Their score is presented as a percentage, the pair with the highest percentage wins the class.


Download Dressage Tests – Valid through 11/30/2018


This unique series of tests provides an opportunity for the horse and/or rider new to dressage to demonstrate elementary skills. The tests are designed to encourage correct performance and to prepare the horse for the transition to the USEF tests (Training though Fourth Level).


Objective and standards: To confirm that the horse is supple and moves freely forward in a clear and steady rhythm, accepting contact with the bit.


Objective and standards: To confirm that the horse, in addition to the requirements of Training Level, has developed the thrust to achieve improved balance and throughness and to maintain a more consistent contact with the bit.


Objective and standards: To confirm that the horse, having achieved the thrust required in First Level, now accepts more weight on the hindquarters (collection); moves with an uphill tendency, especially in the medium paces; and is reliably on the bit. A greater degree of straightness, bending, suppleness, throughness, balance and self-carriage is required than at First Level.


Objective and standards:To confirm that the horse, having begun to develop an uphill balance at Second Level, now shows increased engagement, especially in the extended paces. Transitions between collected, medium and extended paces should be well defined and performed with engagement. The horse should be reliably on the bit and show greater straightness, bending, suppleness, throughness, balance and self-carriage than at Second Level.


Objective and standards: To confirm that the horse has developed sufficient suppleness, impulsion and throughness to perform the Fourth Level tests which have a medium degree of difficulty. The horse must remain reliably on the bit, showing a clear uphill balance and lightness that result from improved engagement and weight-carrying by the hindquarters. The movements should be performed with greater straightness, energy and cadence than at Third Level.

It is the responsibility of anyone who enters a show to understand the rules.


USDF – The United States Dressage Federation is the only national membership organization dedicated to dressage, a method of horse training in existence since ancient Greece and an Olympic sport since the inception of the modern Olympics in the late 1800’s.

USEF – The United Stated Equestrian Federation is the governing body for dressage and other equestrian sports. The current rules and regulations are available on their Web site.

GMO – A Group Member Organization is a local or regional club that is affiliated with USDF whose members enjoy certain benefits of joining USDF. TVDCTA is in District 3.

FEI – The Federation Equestre Internationale is the governing body for international dressage competition. They write and update the FEI tests above Fourth Level and govern the World Cup, World Equestrian Games and the Olympics.

CDI – An acronym for Concours Dressage International, a dressage competition recognized by the FEI. As CDI-W, there are World Cup qualifying or World Cup classes at the show, as CDIO there are Olympic qualifying or Olympic classes at the show.