California Riding Magazine • January, 2013

USEF's New
Dressage Rider Tests offers free practice rides & expert feedback.

by Yellow Horse Marketing for

Thanks to, dressage riders now have the opportunity to submit free practice rides of the new USEF Rider Tests. Photo: Jennifer M. Keeler

With the 2013 USEF competition year now officially underway, dressage competitors have an interesting new option for upcoming shows: Rider Tests. And in order to help dressage enthusiasts prepare for this new challenge, the innovative online horse show and clinic website is offering a special opportunity for free practice rides to be evaluated by FEI judge Janet Foy.

Unveiled by the United States Equestrian Federation in September, the new Dressage Rider Tests are available at Training, First and Second Levels, and are intended to help riders measure their progress. 

Judge Janet Foy is a member of the USEF Dressage Committee which developed and approved the new tests, and she believes that they will complement standard dressage tests for all competitors - whether a junior/young rider, adult amateur or open rider. 

"We hope to give all riders a chance to work on their equitation skills in a different format than an equitation class," Foy explains. Scoring for the tests is very different from standard dressage tests: instead of individual movement scores, riders will receive constructive evaluations that they can put to use in improving their abilities as a rider through five overall scores (rider position, correct and effective use of aids, horse's response and performance, accuracy of the exercises, and harmony between rider and horse, plus written commentary). 

"The entire score is based on the rider; there isn't any score for the gaits of the horse," says Janet. "This test is scored on the rider's skills and the horse's training and response to the rider's aids. These tests will allow riders to have more options without having to always move their horses up the levels if they are not ready."

In order to prepare for the new competition year and familiarize themselves with the new tests, riders are invited to submit practice videos to for free scoring and evaluation via real-time voiceover commentary by Janet. In addition, several sample videos featuring her voiceover critique are now posted on the website for riders to view. 

"Since these tests are so new, I know there will be questions from trainers and riders about how to present some of the movements, and with the opportunity to watch sample videos and submit practice rides for evaluation and feedback on, I can't think of a better way to prepare," Janet says. "The goal is to showcase the rider's skills and aids, use of corners, riding accurate figures and correct preparation for the movements.'s free Rider Test clinic is a great way to try these tests for yourself."

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