Instructors and Dressage Officials FAQs
- Who will I find listed as a Dressage Official?
- What should I look for in a dressage instructor or trainer?
- Does USDF provide a list of recommended dressage instructors or trainers in my area?
- What do the various categories of Certified Instructor/Trainer Certification mean?
- What is a Recognized Teacher?
- What is an Associate Instructor?
- I need a judge for my schooling show. Who does USDF recommend?
- I would like to host a USEF-licensed/USDF-recognized competition. Where can I find licensed officials?
- What types of licensed officials are required? Where can I find them listed?
- How do I become a USDF Certified Instructor/Trainer? Where should I begin?
- How do I become a L Graduate or a L Graduate with Distinction?
- How do I become a USEF- licensed judge?
- How do I become a Technical Delegate?
- How do I become a USEF licensed sport horse judge?
When searching the list of Dressage Officials you will find USDF Certified Instructor/Trainers, USDF L Graduates and USEF and FEI Competition Officials.
Riders may have different priorities when it comes to choosing an instructor/trainer. Whenever possible arrange to watch a potential instructor/trainer teach and or ride before you decide if it is a good match for you. USDF’s Certification Program is designed to educate dressage instructors to teach the classical concepts of dressage. This may be a good place to start. For more helpful hints to help you make your selection, click here.
The link below provides a list of Instructors/Trainers who are certified through USDF.
Search current USDF Members who are USDF Certified instructors/Trainers
The USDF Instructor Certification Program offers certification in three categories:
- Certified Instructor/Trainer; Training through First Level
- Certified Instructor/Trainer; Second Level
- Certified Instructor/Trainer; Third through Fourth Level
A Recognized Teacher is an instructor who has been certified by USDF in the areas of Teaching, Lungeing of the Horse, Lungeing of the Rider and have taken a written and verbal exam. Recognized Teachers have achieved this level of certification by achieving a score of 80% or higher in each area of the certification exam.
Associate Instructors are recognized for their participation and completion in USDF Instructor/Trainer Workshops and their commitment to furthering their education. Each Associate Instructors is a current USDF Participating Member, submits 16 hours of continuing education hours annually, has completed a course in First-aid and signs our programs code of conduct annually. These program participants have not been tested for final certification.
L Graduates and Graduates with Distinction, while not licensed judges, have successfully completed the USDF L Education Program (L Program) and are qualified to officiate at schooling or non-licensed competitions. L Graduates with Distinction are eligible to apply for the USEF ‘r’ Judges Training Program to become a licensed Judge.
More information on the USDF L Education Program
Search Current USDF Members who are L Graduates or L Graduates with Distinction
I would like to host a USEF-licensed/USDF-recognized competition. Where can I find licensed officials?
All dressage officials – judges and technical delegates – are licensed through United States Equestrian Federation, the national governing body. Only licensed officials in good standing may officiate at USEF licensed / USDF recognized competitions. The most current and complete list of USEF Licensed Officials can be found on the USEF Website. You must be a current USEF member and logged in to complete the search for licensed officials.
USEF Licensed Technical Delegates are licensed by the USEF Licensed Officials Committee as Registered (R) or recorded (r). A Technical Delegate must be selected from the current roster of Dressage Technical Delegates to officiate at all Dressage competitions and Regular and Local Competitions offering “open” Dressage classes. For more information refer to the USEF rule book available at www.usef.org
- A Registered (R) Dressage Technical Delegate must officiate at Level 4 and Level 5 Dressage Competitions.
- A Recorded (r) Dressage Technical Delegate may officiate as the assistant to the Registered Technical Delegate(s) at Level 4 and Level 5 Dressage Competitions, and may officiate alone at Levels 1-3 Dressage Competitions.
USEF Licensed Dressage Judges compose the Ground Jury and must be selected from the current roster of Recognized Dressage judges. For more information refer to the USEF Rule Book available at USEF Web site
- Senior (S) Dressage Judges may officiate in all dressage classes at USEF licensed /USDF-recognized competitions.
- Registered(R) Dressage Judges may officiate at USEF licensed /USDF-recognized competitions in classes at Fourth Level and below except for FEI Junior Tests, FEI Pony Tests, FEI Dressage Tests for 4,5 and 6- year-old horses and USEF Dressage Test for 4-year-old horses.
- Recorded (r) Dressage Judges may officiate at USEF licensed /USDF-recognized competitions at Second Level and below and may not officiate at the Third Level and above. Recorded Judges may not officiate in FEI or USEF Tests for 4 and 5 year-old horses or in FEI Pony Tests.
- Sport Horse Breeding Judges may officiate in Sport Horse Breeding Classes at USEF Licensed /USDF-recognized competitions
FEI Judges are required at all International (FEI) Dressage competitions and may officiate at USEF licensed/USDF-recognized competitions. Depending on the type of Competition, the requirements for number and selections of the Ground Jury (judges) will vary. More information can be found in the FEI Rules for Dressage event available on the FEI Web site
Current Classifications of FEI Judges:
- Candidate International Judge = FEI (C)
- International Judge = FEI (I)
- Official International Judge = FEI (O)
You may also find the most up to date list of FEI judges on the FEI Web site
If you are interested in becoming certified, it is suggested you first review the reading list and find a workshop series to attend. While attendance in a workshop series is not required, it is strongly recommend. It is also recommended you attend a pre-certification prior to taking the final exam. In addition to the recommended reading list, you should also review the Candidate Guidelines prior to the final exam. These guidelines contain useful information when preparing for the final exam.
After successful completion of the USDF "L" Education Program, including Part 1: 'Judges' Perspective' & Part 2: 'Candidate Evaluation,' a person is known as an "L" Graduate or "L" Graduate with Distinction.
To become a USEF-licensed dressage technical delegate (TD), you must attend a USDF apprentice TD clinic and complete certain requirements of the USEF.