Jul 26, 2020

Know Your Rules: Help, I Learned the Wrong Dressage Test!

By Gretchen Butts - USEA Eventing Licensed Officials Committee , Wayne Quarles , Sue Smithson
USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2020 issue of Eventing USA magazine.

The USEA Eventing Licensed Officials Committee will be writing a series of articles relating to current rules from the USEF Rules For Eventing and how they are interpreted and implemented. The committee feels that transparency is important, and want to keep everyone current on the rules and how officials are expected/required to implement them.

Learn the dressage wrong test? Here is the established protocol:

What happens if you start your dressage test and it is the wrong test? Current USEF eventing dressage test ‘A’s track left and test ‘B’s track right, so the judge knows within the first movement that you probably learned the wrong test. According to the rules, leaving the ring (presumably to re-learn the new test and start again) is elimination, so “another chance” is not an option. Once you enter the ring at A, you have officially started the competition.

The protocol mandated at judges’ continuing education clinics and training programs is the following: ring the bell to stop the rider and confirm what seems apparent – the rider learned the wrong test. Ask if the rider is prepared to ride the correct test. In many instances, event riders know both tests of the level; so they can start over from A with nothing but a 2-point error (under no circumstances should the rider exit the ring).

If the rider is flustered or upset, the judge is allowed to (a) tell them how and where to start over, and (b) tell them the next few movements. Our current tests are short, and generally “mirror images” of left and right movements. In most cases, with help from the judge, the rider can make it to the end with one or two errors. The third error, unfortunately, will result in a TE (technical elimination), but the president of the ground jury can allow the rider to continue to the jumping phases with permission; the rider just won’t get a ribbon. The rider MUST ask for this permission before proceeding to the next phase. If the president is busy judging in another ring, check with the technical delegate (TD) instead.

What about realizing that you learned the wrong test before your published dressage ride time? Can you ask to go later? Part of successful competition is preparation. This includes knowing and studying the correct test for the competition, which is easily done in advance of arrival. If riders are given a second chance to be properly prepared, this gives them a competitive advantage over the others.

As with all judging, consistency and impartiality must be the priority. If someone makes an error and goes off course in either jumping phase, they are penalized according to the rules. They are not permitted to start over.

All of our recognized events are competitions and not schooling opportunities. A fair and level playing field is what everyone expects, and officials work diligently to provide.

Thanks for your good work as officials!

Please send questions or other topics that you would like to see discussed to Nancy Knight at [email protected].

Did you enjoy this article? Want to receive Eventing USA straight to your mailbox? Members receive Eventing USA as part of their USEA Membership or you can purchase individual issues from the USEA Shop.

Apr 14, 2021

IDCTA Sponsored Spring Three-Day Eventing Camp with Elizabeth Harrington and Hannaberry Farm May 6-8, 2021

Learn from upper level three-day eventer, Elizabeth Harrington and former competitive three-day eventer and professional dressage trainer, Denise Hanna.

Apr 14, 2021 Convention

Nunn Finer is Back as the Title Sponsor of the USEA Leaderboard

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce the renewed partnership with Nunn Finer for 2021. Nunn Finer is coming back as the official Title Sponsor of the USEA Leaderboard. Year-end leaderboard winners will be awarded during the 2021 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, taking place on December 9-12 at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque Hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Apr 14, 2021 Interscholastic

A Day in the Life with the USEA Interscholastic Eventing League

The new USEA Interscholastic Eventing League (IEL) is in its first year and this new program has welcomed 83 teams. Recently, the IEL teams participated in an IEL social media video contest by submitting creative videos that represent a day in the life of an IEL team member.

Apr 13, 2021 Volunteers

Volunteerism with Come Again Farm and Lee Ann Zobbe

It is the eventing programs like Lee Ann Zobbe’s program in Area VIII that help keep the sport alive. In addition to teaching students how to ride, Zobbe the manager and coach at Come Again Farm, also teaches her students how to volunteer. Whether her students are 11 years old or 70 years old, volunteering is an integral part of her program located in Sheridan, Indiana.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Outerwear of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA