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USEF Rule Change Proposals

As part of our ongoing effort to educate members, USDF is dedicated to making this rule page a resource for information on new rules, the rule proposal process, approval process, and other helpful information regarding rules affecting dressage.

All USDF members are encouraged to review active rule change proposals below and provide feedback in the form provided. Feedback will be considered by the USEF Dressage Committee during the USEF Rule Change Forum being held on Thursday December 1st, during the Adequan/USDF Annual Convention. Members are also encouraged to contact your PM or GM Delegates and encourage them to attend any relevant meetings, or forums, that are held during the convention.

For a complete list of USEF active rule change proposals, click here. Questions regarding USEF rules can be directed here.

Below is a list of active rule change proposals that have been approved by the USEF Dressage Committee, and will be submitted to the USEF Board of Directors for approval. Click on the rule number for details of the rule change and add your comments and feedback to the USEF Dressage Committee below:

Tracking #Rule ReferenceDescription
303-16DR 111.3Lateral Movements
304-16DR 119.8FEI Tests for Children
305-16DR 120.1FEI Tests for Children
307-16DR 121.1Saddlery and Equipment
116-16DR 121.2Crescent Noseband
306-16DR 121.2FEI Tests for Children
115-16DR 121.4Crescent Noseband
308-16DR 121.7Identification Tag
309-16DR 121.9Nose Net
310-16DR 122.5FEI Para-Equestrian Tests
257-16DR 125.7Technical Delegate
311-16DR 126Judges
312-16DR 126.3Dressage Levels Chart
314-16DR 129.6Musical Freestyle
313-16DR 128.2National Championships - Children
315-16DR 129.9Musical Freestyle
318-16DR 135.17Pony Measurement
316-16DR 202.2Guest Cards
317-16DR 203.17Stallion
344-16GR 109.5Commencement and Completion of Classes
092-16GR 126.2Definition of Horse
404-16GR 201Farm Membership
216-16GR 202Membership
037-16GR 308Mileage
038-16GR 308Mileage
039-16GR 308Mileage
040-16GR 308Mileage
367-16GR 308.12Mileage
364-16GR 309Dues, Fees and Insurance
117-16GR 309.2Privacy
365-16GR 310.1Cancellation of Competitions
335-16GR 407Academy Classes
390-16GR 407.1FEI Drug Testing Fee
214-16GR 808.2Championships
210-16GR 812Retirement Ceremony
366-16GR 829.1Length of Competition
351-16GR 829.3Length of Competition Paso Fino
234-16GR 831Delay of Class
348-16GR 839Cruelty
349-16GR 843Horse Collapse
347-16GR 844Horse Fatality
381-16GR 845Safety Preparedness
093-16GR 850Tails
368-16GR 915.1Limiting Entries
369-16GR 915.2Limiting Entries
388-16GR 1001.1Licensed Officials Committee
375-16GR 1009Recorded Judge
377-16GR 1010Special Judge
069-16GR 1011Guest Judge
338-16GR 1011Guest Cards
378-16GR 1011Guest Judge
360-16GR 1011.7Guest Judge
345-16GR 1011.10Guest Cards
374-16GR 1011.16Guest Judges Eventing
339-16GR 1012Learner - Apprentice
340-16GR 1015Steward
379-16GR 1016Special Steward
401-16GR 1032Para-Equestrian Classifiers
341-16GR 1033.10Judges' Cards
085-16GR 1037.1Conflict of Interest - Judges
021-16GR 1038Stewards/Tds
371-16GR 1049.3Dressage Judges
372-16GR 1050.3Dressage Sport Horse Breeding Judges
373-16GR 1051Dtd
212-16GR 1120Awards
346-16GR 1202.1Competition Manager
362-16GR 1210.7Competition Management
036-16GR 1211Qualified Medical Personnel
363-16GR 1212.2Prize Lists
091-16GR 1306.3Professional/Amateur
079-16GR 1306.3Amateur Rule
354-16GR 1307Amateur Status
090-16GR 1004Western Dressage
047-16GR 1134.5Morgan Horse Division
355-16GR 1124.4Arabian and Half/Anglo Arabian Divisions

Member Feedback

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303-16 DR 111.3 Lateral Movements

I have no dispute with the aim of the rule, but there are two problems with this definition. First, nowhere in the rules does the USEF appear to define the direction of horse's bend; in other words, it doesn't tell us what constitutes a "right bend" and what constitutes a "left bend." The answer may be well known to dressage experts, but it is not intuitively obvious. After all, when we bend the horse "right," we place most of its body to the left of a (straight) line connecting the horse's poll to its dock. The bend is "to the right" only because the horse would circle to the right if it moved forward in that bend. This lack of clarity means the proposed rule could seriously mislead riders who do not have experienced trainers, because a key part of the definition involves the statement that "[t]he horse is slightly bent toward the direction of movement. . . ." To an average person, the horse in renvers would actually appear to be bent -- "bulging" -- away from the direction of movement. In an ideal world, the USEF would formally define a horse's bend, and the word "bent" would be hyperlinked to that definition. Of course, the proposed rule specifies that the horse's "head [is] facing toward the short side. . . ." This might seem to dictate the direction of bend, and in a sense it does, except that it raises a second concern: Why assume a renvers would be performed only along the long side of the arena? Why not the short side? Why not the diagonal? (I won't even mention a circle.) A really creative freestyle might include such a renvers, but it would technically no longer be a renvers under the proposed USEF rule because the horse's head would no longer be facing the short side. I concede that some of confusion is arguably addressed by the rule book's drawing of a renvers. Someone thrown off by the wording, however, might wonder which to believe -- the illustration, or their own mistaken but understandable reading of the language. I take most of my comments back, of course, if the USEF does define the direction of a horse's bend, and I simply missed it. I did search the rule book online before writing this, however. I hope this helps! Good luck!


307-16 DR 121.1 Saddlery and Equipment

I have two questions about the proposed rule. First, am I correct that the statement "competition award pads and stable name pads are permitted" applies to amateurs? It would seem to, since it follows a sentence about amateurs. Still, that sentence about amateurs states that "amateurs may not have a business or product name/logo unless they own the business." This sentence would seem to imply that if a barn boards horses for money, an amateur cannot have a saddle pad with the barn’s name unless the amateur owns the barn. If the answer to my first question above is "yes," the two sentences seem to be in conflict, and a clarification would help. Perhaps you could change the beginning of that second sentence to this: “Nevertheless, both amateurs and professionals may use competition award pads and stable name pads in the competition ring and during awards ceremonies.” If the answer to my question above is "no," however, then it might make sense to specify in the second sentence -- i.e., the one about "competition award pads and stable names" -- that the rule applies only to professional riders: “Professional riders may also have competition award pads and stable name pads.” If the answer to my question is “yes as long as the amateur owns the barn or the amateur’s horse stays at a barn that charges no board,” that would be worth clarifying, too. My second question relates to my first: Would barn names include a training business that does not necessarily reside at a single barn -- "Smith's Ultimate Dressage," for instance? If Smith is my trainer, it would seem just as appropriate for me to have my trainer's logo as it would be to have my barn logo ("Green Acres Farm"). It would allow my fellow students and me to use pads with the same logo, thereby showing our support for each other and our appreciation for our trainer. If the answer to this second question is “yes,” it could help to be explicit, saying something like, “Competition award pads, stable name pads, and trainer’s business-name pads are permitted.” If the answer is “no,” I, for one, would argue for changing it.


115-16 DR 121.4 Crescent Noseband

Completely support this rule change. Even suggest to consider nosebands as an optional piece of equipment.

Completely support proposed rule change.


092-16 GR 126.2 Definition of Horse

Completely support this rule change.


348-16 GR 839 Cruelty

Although I think most changes to this rule are good, I am concerned about the deletion of # 4 (Show Committees are encouraged to contact the American Humane Association, 1400 16th Street NW, Suite 360, Washington DC 20036, which will provide experienced humane inspectors to work with them in eliminating cruel practices.) as I feel the AHA is much more knowledgeable about and better prepared to deal with cruelty situations.

Completely support this rule change.

I believe AHA would be better suited to ascertain what is considered cruelty.


349-16 GR 843 Horse Collapse

Completely support this rule change.


347-16 GR 844 Horse Fatality

Completely support this rule change.


093-16 GR 850 Tails

Completely support.


091-16 GR 1306.3 Professional/Amateur

This is an important change in the right direction to help sort the confusion between pro/ammy status.

I support rule change 091-16 GR 1306.3. It is important as a competitor to allow someone I charge with the care of my horse to lunge at no penalty them.


079-16 GR 1306.3 Amateur Rule

Important change to help clarify differences between pro/ammy status.

Dressage Chapter Rule Changes

USEF Tracking #Rule ReferenceChapter/Subchapter
There are no proposed changes at this time
USEF Tracking #Rule ReferenceChapter/Subchapter
129-15 DR 135.2 Pony Measurement
398-15 DR 102.1 The Halt
402-15 DR 111.3 Work on Two Tracks and The Lateral Movements - Travers
509-15 DR 116 The Impulsion, The Submission - willing cooperation
510-15 DR 116.2 The Impulsion, The Submission - willing cooperation
511-15 DR 117.7 The Position and Aids of the Rider - willing cooperation
476-15 DR 118.2 Tests for Dressage Competitions - purpose of levels of competition
512-15 DR 118.3 Tests for Dressage Competition - willing cooperation
475-15 DR 119.1 Participation in Dressage Competitions - age of horse
445-15 DR 119.2 Participation in Dressage Competitions - FEI five-year-old tests
253-15 DR 119.11 Participation in Dressage Competitions - compensatory aids
516-15 DR 119.12 participation in dressage competitions
251-15 DR 119.13 Participation in Dressage Competitions - PE classification card
518-15 DR 121 Saddlery and Equipment - bridoons
141-15 DR 121.1 Saddlery and Equipment - saddle pads, logos
167-15 DR 121.1 Saddlery and Equipment - logo on saddle cloth
513-15 DR 121.3 Saddlery and Equipment - curbs
140-15 DR 121.7 Saddlery and Equipment – body tape or bands
514-15 DR 121.7 Saddlery and Equipment - sponsor logos
515-15 DR 121.13 Saddlery and Equipment - saddlery and equipment
250-15 DR 122.1 Execution and Judging of Tests - PE classification card
520-15 DR 122.5 Execution and Judging of Tests - judging tests
438-15 DR 122.7 Execution and Judging of Tests - Judging comments
521-15 DR 122.9 Execution and Judging of Tests -judging tests
522-15 DR 123.4 Scoring, Classification and Prize-Giving - scoreboards
437-15 DR 123.6 Scoring, Classification and Prize-Giving - scoring championship
436-15 DR 124.1 Elimination
139-15 DR 124.3 Elimination - judge must consult with steward/td
133-15 DR 125.5 Competition Licensing and Officials - dressage TDs officiating twice
434-15 DR 125.5 Competition Licensing and Officials - TDs
433-15 DR 125.7 Competition Licensing and Officials
432-15 DR 126.3 Requirements for Dressage Competition Management - TDs for level competitions
132-15 DR 127.4 USEF/USDF Qualifying and Championship Classes - number of tests ridden
431-15 DR 133.2 Dressage Seat Equitation - rider and horse memberships

General Rules that may be of interest to the dressage community are listed here:

USEF Tracking #Rule ReferenceChapter/Subchapter
021-16 GR 1038 Conflict of Interest and Restrictions – Stewards and Technical Delegates
USEF Tracking #Rule ReferenceChapter/Subchapter
474-15 GR 123 Definitions and Governance - Family
261-15 GR 142 Definitions and Governance/Para-Equestrian – FEI classification
388-15 GR 205 Membership/Non-Members – show pass fee
473-15 GR 301 Competition Licensing
008-15 GR 410 Therapeutic Substance Provision
287-15 GR 414.5 Drugs and Medications/ Prohibited Practices - kinesiotape and patches
131-15 GR 512.1 Measurement of Entries/Questioning and Protesting - Dressage measurement protests
143-15 GR 801.4 Conduct of Licensed Competitions/Attire and Equipment - safety vests
127-15 GR 807.2 Conduct of Licensed Competitions/Competition Awards, Honors and Prizes - prize ribbons
136-15 GR 821.1 Conduct of Licensed Competitions/Competition and Class Conditions and Eligibility - opportunity classes
187-15 GR 845.1 Conduct of Licensed Competitions/Welfare of the Horse - vaccinations
291-15 GR 914.3 Competition Prize Lists and Entries/Submission, Acceptance, and Refusal of Entries - horse inspection
166-15 GR 1002.1 Licensed Officials Committee/Applications - licensed officials evaluation
188-15 GR 1009.1 Licensed Officials/Classifications - recorded judge
162-15 GR 1034 Regulations Governing Officials/Stewards and Technical Delegates - steward and td responsibilities
164-15 GR 1038.10 Regulations Governing Officials/Conflict of Interest and Restrictions - steward and td responsibilities
130-15 GR 1034.2 Regulations Governing Officials/Stewards and Technical Delegates - dressage TDs officiate second competition
163-15 GR 1035 Regulations Governing Officials/Special Duties of a Technical Delegates - steward and td responsibilities
043-15 GR 1040.8 License Applications, Enrollment, Promotion and Maintenance/General - license applications
037-15 GR 1040.13 License Applications, Enrollment, Promotion and Maintenance/General - reinstatement of license
036-15 GR 1041.2 License Applications, Enrollment, Promotion and Maintenance - clinic and officiating requirements
042-15 GR 1049.4 License Applications, Enrollment, Promotion and Maintenance - dressage judges
310-15 GR 1102.1 Federation Records and Awards/Horse Identification and Recording - horse recordings
283-15 GR 1211.4 Regulations Governing Officials/Stewards and Technical Delegates - veterinarians contact information
270-15 GR 1211.5 Duties of Competition Management/Appointment of Officials and Employees - infectious disease protocol
267-15 GR 1301.9 Responsibilities/General - safety stirrups
260-15 GR 1310.1 Competition Dispensations - Dispensations
259-15 GR 1311 Competition Dispensations - PE eligibility/classification
256-15 GR 1313.1 Competition Dispensations/Applying for Para-Equestrian Classification
257-15 GR 1313.1 Competition Dispensations/Applying for Para-Equestrian Classification
254-15 GR 1315.1 Competition Dispensation - PE - definition of terms
263-15 GR 1316.6 Return to Competition - accidents involving competitors