Jan 19, 2018

Decoding the 2018 Dressage Tests

USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Every few years the USEF releases new dressage tests for eventing and 2018 marked the year in the cycle for new tests. FEI 4* Eventing Judge, Marilyn Payne, led the committee charged with designing the 2018 tests, shares some of the insight of why certain movements were incorporated into the new tests. All the new dressage tests can be viewed here.

Each level of competition has two test options: A and B. All A tests track left and all B tests track right.

Beginner Novice A: In movement #1 you enter at A at a working trot, continue to X and then go diagonally to M, and continue around the arena till E. In this way the green horses and riders never have to look the SCARY JUDGE in the eye! In movement # 13 (to end the test), you proceed past A and go diagonally from K to X and the turn down the centerline. This makes a much easier, more balanced turn for green horses.

Beginner Novice B: Movement # 1 has an identical start, but you now continue from X to H to C. For movement #3 and #8, ask for the canter depart on a circle in the center of the ring as you approach the rail. The helps prepare the horse for a balanced, calm transition.

Novice A: Movement #3 asks for a serpentine of two loops which encourages a smooth, flowing change of direction.

Novice B: Movement #7 asks for a stretch circle in the trot. Now riders can get extra points for correct training!

Training A: Movement #2 has an interesting change of direction with a 10-meter half circle left, followed by a 10-meter circle right. There is also a lengthening of the canter on a circle, the transition back is a separate, but it occurs while you are still on the circle. This helps the riders balance the horse before going straight on the long side.

Training B: Movements #2 and #3 have flowing 10-meter teardrop figures as well as similar lengthenings in canter as Test A.

Modified: There are now two Modified tests – A is in a small arena and B is in a large arena. This allows for a zig zag leg yield and other interesting movements.

Preliminary: All trot work may be rising or sitting. They also both have some interesting ideas, particularly in Preliminary B there is a counter-canter loop that now goes to X since it is in the large arena.

Intermediate A: Medium trot can now be performed rising or sitting.

Intermediate B: Now has a full three-loop serpentine and half-passes.

Advanced: A has little change from the previous years’ test, while B is more difficult and is a good preparation for the four-star tests.

Want to get some additional insight into the test-writing process and the new 2018 dressage tests? Watch Marilyn Payne's session on the new dressage tests from the 2017 USEA Annual Meeting and Convention!

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