L Education Program

Developed by the USDF Judges’ Committee, this educational training program teaches judges to evaluate the correct training of dressage horses.

The L Education Program is designed with several goals in mind:

  1. Provide trainers, instructors, competitors and spectators' insight into the evaluative techniques of judging dressage.
  2. Prepare and evaluate candidates who wish to pursue entry into the USEF 'r' Judge Training Program.
  3. Provide continuing education for licensed judges and L graduates.

This educational training program features selected faculty of experienced, United States Equestrian Federation recognized “S” judges.

The Program is divided into two parts; each part is made up of three sessions:

Part 1- “A Judge’s Perspective” is open to all USDF Members; this is the educational foundation of the program.

  • Session A is an introduction to judging and biomechanics. View Video
  • Session B is about judging criteria for gaits & paces, movements & figures. View Video
  • Session C is about collective marks, equitation, rider biomechanics and basics. View Video

Part 2- “Candidate’s Evaluation” is open to Participating Members with three verified scores from USEF-licensed/USDF-recognized competitions. The requirement consists of two scores of 65% or higher at the highest test of Second Level and one score of 62% or higher at Third Level or above. Three scores of 62% or higher at Third Level or above from three different judges or any combination of these requirements would also meet the requirements (see Participant Guide for more information). Part 2 is geared towards those who are interested in graduating from the program to officiate at schooling shows or who plan to apply for the USEF’s ‘r’ Judge Training Program.

  • Session D1 involves practice judging full tests in each of the levels at a recognized competition.
  • Session D2 is similar to the D1 Session but with more emphasis on the testing situation and prepares candidates for the final exam.
  • Final Exam is comprised of both a written and practical exam. The written exam is all True/False and multiple choice, while the practical exam is a combination of judging full tests and some oral judging as well.

If you are interested in organizing a USDF L Education Program please contact our USDF Programs Coordinator at (859) 971-2277 or lprogram@usdf.org

The Organizer Guidelines can be viewed or downloaded on our forms & documents page.

USDF Executive Board meeting board approved a new USDF Safe Sport Initiative. In short, the new initiative adopts the USEF Sport Policy.

As part of this initiative, there will be a tiered approach to the implementation for all Graduates of the USDF L Education Program:

  • In 2017, it will be encouraged and recommended for all Graduates of the USDF L Education Program and program faculty to become familiar with the Safe Sport Handbook and to complete the Safe Sport Training module that is approved by USEF.
  • In 2018, completion of the training module will become part of the prerequisite for taking the final exam, and it will be required that all Graduates of the USDF L Education Program and program faculty complete the training module to be listed on the USDF website.

Currently the module will need to be retaken every two years to stay in line with the current standard.

This training module is open to ANYONE and takes about two hours to complete – there are quizzes along the way that must be completed to be given credit for completion. Please select USA Equestrian as your organization to be notified that you have completed the course, and send m a copy of the certificate you receive upon completion to lprogram@usdf.org. If you have already completed the training module, please let us know – you don’t have to take it twice!

I appreciate your help and support as USDF moves forward with the new Safe Sport Initiative.

Continuing education for L graduates is very important and the L Program Committee would like to ensure that L Graduates (which includes L Graduates with distinction) stay up to date with current judging criteria. Since L graduates are used to judge schooling shows it is important that they stay current with current judging criteria in order to give proper comments to riders competing at the grass-root level.

In December of 2016 the committee voted to require L Graduates to complete eight hours of Judge specific continuing education per year. The USDF Executive Board approved the proposal, which will go into effect starting in 2017. Graduates who meet the continuing education requirements, will be listed on the USDF website.

Any continuing education that falls into the below category and was completed after January 1, 2017 should be reported to lprogram@usdf.org using the L Program Continuing Education Form. For scribing, please use the USDF Scribing Form.

The types of continuing education listed below will meet the criteria:

  • USEA hosted Eventing judge training programs with a focus on dressage, if taught by USEF-approved judge instructors (for dressage) or L faculty)
  • Scribing with R or S judges as required in the L Program
  • USDF CE program
  • USEF Judges Program
  • Convention L Education sessions
  • Convention meetings (L Open Meeting, Judge Closed and Open, and Freestyle Open Meeting)
  • Auditing or participating in Part 1 of L program