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“L” Education Program FAQs

  1. What is the “L” Program?
  2. What if I do not want to become a licensed judge, may I still participate in the program?
  3. How do I find out about upcoming programs?
  4. Am I able be a silent to auditor at an “L” Program?
  5. If I wish to be a silent auditor, must I attend the sessions in order?
  6. What are the A, B, C, D1, and D2 sessions? What subjects are covered in each?
  7. What is the difference between being a “participant” and being a “silent auditor”?
  8. Are USDF University credits available for silent auditing the “L” Program?
  9. Are USDF University credits available for participating in the “L” Program?
  10. What are the requirements in becoming a participant?
  11. How do I apply to become a participant in the program?
  12. What are the costs involved in participating in this program?
  13. If I graduate from the “L” Program will I be a judge?
  14. Who can organize an “L” Program?
  15. If I am an organizer of the “L” Program, may I also participate in the program?
  16. How does a facility become a host site for this program?
  17. Who do I contact if I have any questions about the “L” Program?

What is the “L” Program?

The “L” program offers a comprehensive curriculum created to teach participants and auditors how to evaluate dressage performance at Training through Second Level.

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What if I do not want to become a licensed judge, may I still participate in the program?

Yes, the “L” Program is not just for those who want to become licensed dressage judges. The program’s intent is to give competitors, trainers, and instructors a broader insight into the evaluative techniques of judging dressage, qualify individuals to officiate at schooling shows, serve as continuing education for licensed judges, and to serve as a prerequisites for entering into the United States Equestrian Federation ‘r’ Judges Training Program.

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How do I find out about upcoming programs?

There are several ways to learn about upcoming programs, including:

  1. Online at the USDF Education & Program Calendar
  2. Go to the Tune in to the “L” Program a blog administered by the program liaison.
  3. Contact the “L” Program liaison at lprogram@usdf.org or 859/971-2277.

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Am I able be a silent to auditor at an “L” Program?

Yes, Sessions A, B and C are open to silent auditors. Each GMO or USDF-approved organization that hosts an "L" Program provides their program and fee structure details for silent auditors.

Sessions D1, D2 and the Final Exam, however, are not open to silent auditors. Since these sessions are held at a USDF/USEF recognized competition, more stringent restrictions are enacted.

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If I wish to audit, must I attend the sessions in order?

No, you can attend them out of order as an silent auditor.

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What are the A, B, C, D1, and D2 sessions? What subjects are covered in each?

Session A, B and C comprise Part 1of the “L” Program, also called ‘A Judge’s Perspective.’ This is the educational foundation of the program.

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

Part 2; ‘Candidate’s Evaluation’ includes Sessions D1, D2 and the Final Exam. This part of the program is geared towards those who are interested in graduating from the program to officiate at schooling shows or who plan to continue onward 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.

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What is the difference between being a “participant” and being a “silent auditor”?

Participants have met the prerequisites for the program and plan on officiating at schooling shows or who would like to become a USEF licensed judge.

Auditors are silent and are those who do not plan on judging, but who want more information about evaluating dressage performance.

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Are USDF University credits available for silent auditing the “L” Program?

Yes, University Credits are available to all silent auditors for Sessions A, B and C of the "L" Program. To be eligible to receive credit, you must be a current USDF Participating, Group, or Education member and pay a $5 processing fee. Silent auditors will receive two (2) credits for attending both days of the program.

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Are USDF University credits available for participating in the “L” Program?

Yes, University credits are automatic for program participants in Sessions A, B and C. Each participant will receive four (4) credits for each Session A through C.

Sessions D1, D2 and the Final Exam are not eligible for University credits.

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What are the requirements in becoming a participant?

Part 1:

  1. Membership: You must be a current USDF member (Group, Participating, Education or Youth)

Part 2:

  1. Membership: You must be a current USDF Participating Member
  2. Competition Score Requirement: Scores must be earned prior to entering the Part 2 You must have three scores of 60% or higher at Second Level or above from three different USEF-licensed judges. Only scores from USDF/USEF recognized competitions will count. Scores for Freestyle and Young Horse tests are not eligible as one of the three scores

*Scores do not have to be acquired within a specific time frame but you must be able to provide score verification.

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How do I apply to become a participant in the program?

First, you need to check out the current USDF Educational & Programs calendar. Look for a program that you would be able to attend, starting with Session A, and contact the organizer. The organizer will be able to let you know if there are spots available, fees and any logistical information about the program. The organizer will also provide a participant application for you to fill out, attach your score verifications, and remit back to them with payment for the program.

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What are the costs involved in participating in this program?

Each program may vary in their fee structure for participants and silent auditors. The hosting organization is financially responsible for the profit or loss of the program and set up their individual fee structure. You need to contact the organizer of the program you are interested in participating in to find out their fee structure. On average, the cost for the entire program ranges from $2000 -$2500, not including transportation or lodging expenses.

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If I graduate from the “L” Program will I be a judge?

No, you will be a graduate from the USDF “L” Program, also known as an “L graduate”. The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), as the national governing body of equestrian sports, licenses all judges. USDF only administers the “L” Program, which, if completed with the required scores, will allow you to apply to USEF for the ‘r’ Judges Training Program to become a licensed judge. Those who pass the “L” program final exam are known as “L Graduates”, not as L Judges.

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Who can organize an “L” Program?

A program can be initiated and hosted only by a USDF Group Member Organization (GMO), or other USDF-approved organizations.

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If I am an organizer of the “L” Program, may I also participate in the program?

No, organizers cannot participate in the program. Organizing an “L” Program, on-site, is a full time job and to try to juggle both would detract from excelling at either task, that of an organizer and participant.

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How does a facility become a host site for this program?

The “L” Program includes a combination of lecture, demonstration rides, and practice judging at recognized competitions.

The lecture component requires a climate controlled room large enough to accommodate participants and auditors is needed. Also, there needs to be the capabilities to view audiovisual material.

The demonstration of horse/rider combinations requires an indoor (preferred) or covered arena, to be able to be out of the elements, and enough space for candidates to sit on the side of the arena.

The practice judging portion of the program requires USDF/USEF recognized competitions with at least two competition rings and two official judges. USDF must approve the competitions where D2 sessions and the Final Exam are held in order to guarantee the number of classes and rides, as well as the quality of rides for these sessions.

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Who do I contact if I have any questions about the “L” Program?

If you have questions concerning the USDF “L” Program, please contact the “L” Program liaison at 859/971-2277 or lprogram@usdf.org