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The Dressage Trial

The first phase in a Working Equitation Competition the dressage phase in which a horse and rider perform the test relevant to their level in 20 by 40 meter arena. This test is scored by one or up to five judges. As in traditional dressage each movement is given a score from 0-10, collective marks scored from 0-10, and the final score is calculated and presented as a percentage. A rider may ride in any tack and attire though the horse and rider should wear consistent attire for their chosen style. 

Differences from traditional dressage:

  • Any style of tack allowed. (See rulebook for allowed attire and tack)

  • Tests are scored and written with a working horse in mind. There is more emphasis on balance, handiness, and efficiency.

  • Scores are often slightly lower, because there is a greater emphasis on biomechanics over gait expression.

  • All tests are ridden in a regulation small arena (20mx40m), again emphasizing the value of handiness over expressiveness.

  • There is just one test for each level.

  • Each tests' movements are linked to the skills that will be required for the obstacle phases.

  • There is a new division for gaited horses!

The range:

  • Level 1, Introductory is Walk/Trot

  • Level 2, Novice A is Walk/Trot/Canter

  • Level 2 Novice B is Walk/Trot/Canter, adding half turn on haunches, leg yield, change of lead through the trot. 

  • Level 4, Intermediate A is walk, trot and canter adding collected and medium trot and canter, halt from canter, and simple change of lead through walk.

  • Level 5, Intermediate B is walk, trot, canter, adding half pass, half pirouette, and flying lead changes. Collected and medium walk, trot, and canter are required. 

  • Level 6, Advanced is walk, trot and canter, halt from extended canter, four loop serpentine, full pirouette;  flying changes, all one-handed.

  • Level 7, Master's is a version of a freestyle in which the rider chooses music; all one-handed!

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