How do US & UK dressage levels relate?

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27 Sep 2009 21:45
Does any one know how UK dressage levels relate to US dressage tests?
Fiona Price, Horse Hero Founder
27 Sep 2009 22:20

I have consulted with one of Horse Hero's dressage experts and can answer this:

Re UK dressage levels, affiliated dressage is governed by British Dressage ( which is similar in set-up to the USDF.

The various levels in increasing order of difficulty are (new movements introduced at that level shown in brackets):

Intro – (walk & trot tests)
Prelim – (working trot & canter)
Novice – (medium walk, trot & canter, counter canter ,rein back)
Elementary – (leg yield, collected trot & canter, simple changes)
Medium – (shoulder-in, half pass, extended & collected walk, extended trot & canter, travers, half walk pirouettes,
Advanced Medium – (flying change)
Advanced (4 times changes)
Prix St Georges
Intermediare I
Intermediare II
Grand Prix

A little bit about how our classes are divided: We don’t split classes by amateur/professional status, instead we have a system of horse & rider ranking. Horses accumulate points as they do well in competition & once they reach a certain level are upgraded & are no longer allowed to compete at a level. This stops a Prix-St-George horse from being able to contend an elementary class.

Riders are given a group level, entitling them to compete in the Open or Restricted section at a particular class level. Once a rider has experience in the level above, they must compete in the Open section of lower levels.

To compare, the US system (explained in Lauren Sprieser's blog):

Intro - walk/trot
Training Level - walk, trot, canter
First Level - walk, trot, canter, lengthening trot & canter, leg yield, beginning of counter canter
Second Level - collected trot & canter, medium trot & canter, shoulder in, travers, renvers, rein-back, simple changes, turn on haunches, counter canter
Third Level - collected, medium, and extended gaits, half-pass, flying changes, plus the stuff from Second Level
Fourth Level - basically same stuff as Third Level but higher degree of difficulty. Flying changes every 4th stride, canter half-pirouette.

27 Sep 2009 22:34
Thanks Fiona, that's really useful.
28 Sep 2009 11:37
Great explanation Fiona, could you keep this post up at the top or in a blog if possible, i think you use sticky stuff (an IT term adapted to laymans language)
Fiona Price, Horse Hero Founder
28 Sep 2009 17:17
Thanks for that. It will stay at the top of the thread when you click on the title on the listing page unless you click on the name of the last person who posted, in which case posts appear in the order of most recent first! We designed the forum so you could choose how you wanted to view a thread.
30 Sep 2009 12:01
I am so glad this is posted. It has been SO helpful. I am a USA student in the UK and am trying to enter a show and had no idea at what level my horse and I could compete. My online searches for the past week have yeilded no information on what exactly each UK level was like in comparison to the USA levels and of course there are no tests posted on line to view. THANK YOU!!!!


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