L Education Program

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Developed by the USDF Judges’ Committee, this educational training program teaches judges to evaluate the correct training of dressage horses.

Overview of the L Education Program

The L Education Program is designed with several goals in mind:

  1. Provide trainers, instructors, competitors and spectators' insight into the evaluative techniques of judging dressage.
  2. Prepare and evaluate candidates who wish to pursue entry into the USEF 'r' Judge Training Program.
  3. Provide continuing education for licensed judges and L graduates.

This educational training program features selected faculty of experienced, United States Equestrian Federation recognized “S” judges.

The Program is divided into two parts; each part is made up of three sessions:

Part 1 - "A Judge’s Perspective" is open to all USDF Members; this is the educational foundation of the program.

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

Part 2- "Candidate’s Evaluation" is open to Participating Members with three verified scores from USEF-licensed/USDF-recognized competitions. The requirement consists of two scores of 65% or higher at the highest test of Second Level and one score of 62% or higher at Third Level or above. Three scores of 62% or higher at Third Level or above from three different judges or any combination of these requirements would also meet the requirements (see Participant Guide for more information). Part 2 is geared towards those who are interested in graduating from the program to officiate at schooling shows or who plan 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 or in a classroom setting.
  • 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.

If you are interested in organizing a USDF L Education Program please contact our USDF Programs Coordinator at (859) 971-2277 or lprogram@usdf.org

The Organizer Guidelines can be viewed or downloaded on our forms & documents page.

The USDF Executive Board approved a new USDF Safe Sport Initiative. In short, the new initiative adopts the USEF Sport Policy.

As part of this initiative, completion of Safe Sport Training is part of the prerequisite for taking the final exam, and it will be required that all Graduates of the USDF L Education Program and program faculty complete the training module to be listed on the USDF website.

Currently the Safe Sport Training is a annual requirement. Questions concerning the Safe Sport training and reporting can be directed to USEF.

Please select US Equestrian as your organization to be notified that you have completed the course, and send a copy of the certificate you receive upon completion to lprogram@usdf.org. If you have already completed the training module, please let us know – you don’t have to take it twice!

I appreciate your help and support as USDF moves forward with the new Safe Sport Initiative.

Continuing education for L graduates is very important and the L Program Committee would like to ensure that L Graduates (which includes L Graduates with distinction) stay up to date with current judging criteria. Since L graduates are used to judge schooling shows it is important that they stay current with current judging criteria in order to give proper comments to riders competing at the grass-root level.

L Program Graduates are required to complete eight hours of continuing education per year. Graduates who meet the continuing education requirements, will be listed on the USDF website.

Continuing education that falls into the below categories will meet the requirement and should be reported to lprogram@usdf.org using the L Program Continuing Education Form.

L Graduate CE Explained

The types of continuing education listed below will meet the criteria:

  • USDF Continuing Education for Dressage Judges Program
  • USEF Dressage Judge Education Programs
  • USDF Sport Horse Seminar (for Judge Training)
  • USEA hosted Eventing judge training programs with a focus on dressage, if taught by USEF-approved judge instructors (for dressage) or L faculty)
  • Convention L Education session
  • Convention meetings (meetings related to Judging and Judge education)
  • Auditing or participating in Part 1 of L Education Program
  • Scribing with R or S Dressage judges
  • Scribing for instructors or examiners at L Program (Part 2) or USEF Dressage Judge Training Programs. (Testing programs are not included)