USDF Youth/Young Adult Quick Reference Guide

Program List Overview

Program Name/Link Age Ranges Membership Requirements Jurisdiction Contact
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
USDF Jr/YR Clinic Series Ages 14-21, ages 12-25 in FEI Pony/Children/Junior/Young Rider, and U25 if space allows USDF PM; USEF Active Competing USDF USDF Youth Liaison jryrclinics@usdf.org
Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program Ages 25 and Under USDF PM; USEF Active Competing USEF USEF Director of Dressage Programs - Kristen Brett kbrett@usef.org
USDF Youth/Young Adult Dressage Sport Horse Breeders Seminar Ages 14-27 Participants must be USDF PM or GM; auditors can also be EM or non-members USDF USDF Sport Horse Liaison sporthorse@usdf.org
USDF/USEF Young Rider Graduate Program Ages 20-28 USDF PM or GM USDF/USEF USDF Youth Liaison youth@usdf.org
US Equestrian Interscholastic Athlete Program Grades 5-12 USEF Active Competing or Fan USEF equestrianathlete@usef.org
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
USDF Youth Dressage Rider Recognition Pin Program Grades 6-12 USDF PM or GM USDF USDF Youth Liaison youth@usdf.org
USDF Youth Volunteer of the Year Ages 21 and Under USDF PM or GM USDF USDF Youth Liaison youth@usdf.org
USDF Youth Shining Star Award Program Ages 21 and Under Membership not needed; but eligible for Ravel Education Grant if USDF PM USDF USDF Youth Liaison youth@usdf.org
USDF Nomination for USEF Youth Sportsman's Award Ages 17 and Under USDF PM; USEF Active Competing USEF USDF Youth Liaison youth@usdf.org
USDF Arts Contest Ages 21 and Under USDF PM or GM USDF artcontest@usdf.org
Unites States Pony Club (USPC)/USDF Dressage Recognition Awards All ages USDF PM or GM USPC/USDF activities@ponyclub.org
Other awards available: Dressage Seat Equitation Award, Rider Awards, Performance Certificates, Year End Awards, and All-Breeds Awards Depends on specific award Depends on specific award USDF allbreeds@usdf.org riderawards@usdf.org awards@usdf.org
SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS
USDF Youth Convention Scholarship Program Ages 21 and Under USDF PM USDF USDF Youth Liaison youth@usdf.org
Ravel Education Grants Available to Shining Star Recipients USDF PM USDF USDF Youth Liaison youth@usdf.org
Other Grants and Funding through The Dressage Foundation Depends on specific grant Depends on specific grant TDF TDF Director of Grants and Programs info@dressagefoundation.org
COMPETITIONS
IDA Quiz Challenge IDA Team Members USDF PM, GM, or Education; IDA Membership USDF/IDA USDF Youth Liaison youth@usdf.org
USEF/USDF Dressage Seat Medal Program (DSM) Ages 18 and Under To earn a qualifying score: USDF PM or GM; Semi-Finals and Finals: USDF PM and USEF Active Competing USEF for Finals; USDF for Semi-Finals and Qualifying USDF Youth Liaison youth@usdf.org
FEI North American Youth Championships (NAYC) Ages 14-21 Rider: USDF PM, USEF Active Competing, FEI Registration Horse: USDF Life, USEF Life, FEI Registration, FEI Passport Owner: USDF PM or BM FEI with support from USEF and USDF Jr/YR Regional Coordinator or nayc@usdf.org
USEF Dressage National Championships (also known as the US Dressage Festival of Champions or FOC) Ages 12-21 Rider: USEF Active Competing Horse: USEF Annual or Life Owner: USEF Active Competing USEF USEF Director of Dressage Programs - Kristen Brett kbrett@usef.org
US Dressage Finals Youth Division new for 2021 Rider: USDF PM and USEF Active Competing Horse: USDF Life and USEF Life or Annual Owner: USDF PM or BM and USEF Active Competing or Farm/Business USDF USDF Competitions Coordinator usdressage@usdf.org
OTHER YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULT OPPORTUNITIES
USEF Youth Programs Varies Varies Varies Varies
GMO Youth Programs Varies USDF GM Membership Varies gmo@usdf.org

Division Ages

Per USEF DR119.3, for purposes of competition in the Dressage Division, the age groups are as follows:

  • Junior: Individuals are eligible as Juniors until the end of the calendar year in which they reach the age of 18.
  • Young Rider: Individuals are eligible as Young Riders from the beginning of the calendar year in which they reach the age of 16 until the end of the calendar year in which they reach the age of 21.
  • Adult: Competitors shall compete as Adults from the beginning of the calendar year in which they reach the age of 22. Individuals possessing current amateur certification are only eligible as Adult Amateurs from the beginning of the calendar year in which they reach age 22.

Per USEF DR119.4, for purposes of qualification for and participation in competitions conducted under FEI rules, age groups are as follows:

  • Children: Individuals are eligible to participate in competitions and championships for Children from the beginning of the calendar year in which they reach the age of 12 until the end of the calendar year in which they reach the age of 14.
  • Pony Riders: Individuals are eligible as Pony Riders from the beginning of the calendar year in which they reach the age of 12 until the end of the calendar year in which they reach the age of 16.
  • Juniors: Individuals are eligible as Juniors from the beginning of the calendar year in which they reach the age of 14 until the end of the calendar year in which they reach the age of 18.
  • Seniors: Individuals are eligible as Seniors from the beginning of the calendar year in which they reach the age of 18.
  • Young Riders: Individuals are eligible as Young Riders from the beginning of the calendar year in which they reach the age of 16 until the end of the calendar year in which they reach the age of 21.
  • U25 Division: A person may compete as a U25 Rider from the beginning of the calendar year in which he reaches the age of sixteen (16) until the end of the calendar year in which he reaches the age of twenty-five (25).

Per USEF DR133, for purposes of competing in a USDF Dressage Seat Medal Semi-Final class, the age divisions are as follows:

  • 13 and Under Division: A rider is eligible for the 13 and under Semi-Final class until the end of the calendar year in which he/she reaches the age of 13.
  • 14 through 18 Division: A rider is eligible for the 14 through 18 Semi-Final class from the beginning of the calendar year in which he/she reaches 14 until the end of the calendar year in which he/she reaches the age of 18.
  • Riders who are named Semi-Final Champions and Reserve Champions at age 13 or 18 will be eligible for the next year’s final class in the respective age group in which they qualified.

Program FAQs

What do these commonly used acronyms mean?

  • NAYC: North American Youth Championships
  • FOC: USEF Dressage National Championships also known as the Festival of Champions
  • DSM: Dressage Seat Medal Program
  • FEI: Federation Equestre Internationale
  • TOC: Test of Choice
  • GMO: Group Member Organization

CHAMPIONSHIP PROGRAMS

Where can I find the qualifying requirements/selection procedures for NAYC, USEF Dressage National Championships (FOC), the US Dressage Finals, and the Dressage Seat Medal Finals?

Where do you find the Ranking List for NAYC? Dressage Seat Medal Program? USEF Dressage National Championships?

Which competitions do you have to submit a declaration or application of intent?

  • You must submit an application/declaration of intent for NAYC, USEF Dressage National Championships (FOC), and the US Dressage Finals.

What is a FEI passport and do I need one?

  • A FEI Passport is used as your horse’s identification. It includes information about your horse’s vaccinations, health records, etc. and is required in order to be nominated to an NAYC team. More information about the FEI Passport can be found here: https://www.usef.org/forms-pubs/XyWhXYB4O8s/passport-101.
  • The process to obtain and validate a FEI Passport can be lengthy and it is recommended to apply for your passport in a timely manner.
  • Passports are not required to compete in the Dressage Seat Medal Program or the USEF Dressage National Championships (FOC).

Can you compete in both NAYC and USEF Dressage National Championships? What are the differences?

  • You can certainly compete in both competitions. The FEI North American Youth Championships (NAYC) for Dressage is a unique and prestigious competition which brings together the top Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) Junior and Young Riders, ages 14-21, from throughout North America and neighboring countries. The U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions showcases the top 12 (except under special circumstances) athletes and horses in 14 divisions and is not only limited to the FEI Junior and FEI Young Rider Levels. One of the major differences is that NAYC is a team event, where Festival of Champions is an individual event.

Do all USDF recognized shows count as qualifying shows for the NAYC or the USEF Dressage National Championships?

Do Test of Choice (TOC) classes count as qualifying scores for the NAYC or USEF Dressage National Championships?

NAYC SPECIFIC QUESTIONS

My rider is interested in competing in NAYC. Who is our first contact to get started?

My rider received qualifying scores at a CDI, why aren’t they showing up on her online USDF scores?

  • Scores from CDI competitions are not automatically recorded. These scores must be manually submitted by the competitor using the CDI Report Form. Be sure to submit your scores within the time frames mentioned on the form.

Does my rider have to earn all his or her qualifying scores in their home region?

  • Qualifying scores may be earned in any region. Scores may also be earned in other countries after obtaining prior permission from USEF.

What costs are involved with competing in the NAYC?

  • Costs include the costs to participate in the qualifying competitions, hotel stays, travel costs (for the athlete, horse, and coach/trainer), food during your stay, membership and registration fees for the multiple organizations (USDF, USEF, FEI), the FEI Passport cost, etc. For more information on costs, please contact your USDF Jr/YR Regional Coordinator.

What are some fundraising ideas to earn money for NAYC?

  • Your USDF Jr/YR Regional Coordinator can give you great ideas on how to fundraise for your NAYC trip! Used tack sales, bake sales, car washes, horse beauty days (clipping, bathing, mane pulling), you name it!

What is the Certificate of Capability requirement and how do you meet it?

  • The Certificate of Capability is required to qualify for the NAYC. It is earned once all the required scores and minimum averages have been achieved. Two FEI (Junior or Young Rider) Individual test scores and two FEI (Junior or Young Rider) Team test scores must be earned with a minimum overall average of 62%. One FEI (Junior or Young Rider) Freestyle test score at 65% or above must be earned. Once these score requirements have been earned, the athlete will be notified via email that they are now eligible to submit the Certificate of Capability. This certificate certifies that the athlete/horse combination has earned a minimum overall average of 62.000% attributed by a panel of two (2) or more USEF ‘S’ or FEI Judges, in the FEI Team Test and FEI Individual Test at two different designated USEF/NAYC qualifying competitions. In addition, they must earn, at least one (1) score of 65.000% in the FEI Freestyle, which is not computed into the overall average.

What is a Certificate of Domicile?

  • As a part of the application of intent for NAYC, every athlete or parent/guardian if the rider is a minor (under the age of 18) shall complete and submit a Certificate of Domicile. A rider may have only one domicile, which is where the rider has his or her permanent home and where, whenever he or she is absent, intends to return. A minor’s domicile follows that of the parent or guardian who has lawful custody of the minor (unless the minor is emancipated from their parent/guardian).

Once I submit my NAYC Certificate of Capability, can I still earn additional qualifying scores?

  • We recommend submitting the certificate as soon as you earn it, even if you are not done competing in qualifying events.

Can my rider declare and get qualifying scores for both the FEI Junior and FEI Young Rider divisions?

  • The two age divisions overlap, so if your child is between the ages of 16 and 18, they can earn scores in both the FEI Junior and FEI Young Rider divisions. However, a rider will not be able to compete in both divisions at the NAYC competition, so in the event that they qualify for both divisions, they will need to choose which one they would like to compete in. Please note: once a rider rides down centerline in the Young Rider division at NAYC, they will no longer be eligible to compete as a Junior in both NAYC and FOC.

OTHER QUESTIONS

Where do you find the prohibited drug list for horse and riders?

Where can I find resources to help me design a freestyle?

Where can I find a certified coach/instructor for my child?

My rider will turn 18 in July, do they have to complete SafeSport training requirements if they want to compete in recognized shows?

  • All competitors ages 18 and up must complete the SafeSport Training.

Does my horse have to be a certain age to ride in certain tests?

  • There are age requirements to certain test levels. These age requirements can be found at the top of the test sheet.