How to Become a Dressage Judge

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I've been working this week on putting together a page of the requirements to become a dressage judge for the packet of information that will be included with the Emerging Dressage Athlete Program.? (The first EDAP program is being held next week in Florida.) ?it's been awhile since I reviewed these requirements, which have been significantly bolstered since I got my first license 20 years ago.? I'm often asked: ?How do you become a judge,? and it's not a quick and simple answer.? I've tried to condense the basic stuff onto just one page, but it hasn't been easy.

There are four programs in the U.S.? The first is the ?L? education program run by the USDF, which qualifies a person to judge at schooling shows.? it's six weekends long, and you need to earn 60% at Second Level beforehand.

The USEF has three programs, ?r? to judge through Second Level at USEF shows, ?R? to judge through Fourth Level and ?S? through Grand Prix.? To start out for an ?r,? you need to have completed the ?L? program ?with distinction? and have earned scores of 65% or better at Fourth Level.? By the time you enter an ?S? program, you need scores of 60% at Grand Prix.? The programs include numerous sessions of training and testing plus other requirements of observing and apprentice judging.? it's all difficult, expensive and time-consuming.? After you complete a program, you also have some basic requirements of continuing education, including a national judges forum every three years.

Most judges I know attend several education programs a year to keep their eyes sharp.? During the winter, there are often informal local forums.? In January, I will be attending one in New Jersey, and I'm also organizing one in Connecticut to be held Sunday afternoon during the annual Weekend Education Program run by Dressage4Kids Jan. 21 and 22.? I'm particularly excited about WEP this year because we're going to have a rock star speaker on Saturday, Dr. Hilary Clayton, the leading expert on equine biomechanics in the U.S.