Western Dressage Rules and Tests


The mission of Western Dressage is to provide a training and horsemanship model that optimizes the partnership between horse and rider.  This is done through the use of classical dressage principles and exercises, tailored for the western stock-type horse.  Western Dressage is an all-breed discipline.  All breeds of horses, mules, draft horses, gaited horses and the beloved but un-pedigreed backyard horse are all welcome here.

The Western Dressage tests are a means for horse and rider to track and showcase their progression. The basis of dressage is building on basic skills and slowly progressing to more advanced skills. This stresses the importance of solid, basic training. For those new to riding dressage tests, horse and rider are generally training one or two levels ahead of what they are showing; if you are training your horse at the Primary Test Level, horse and rider pairs would be showing at the Basic Test Level.

You may find the Western Dressage 2014 Rules and Tests on the national Western Dressage website in the Education section: www.westerndressageassociation.org.


  1. 10- Excellent
  2. 9-  Very Good
  3. 8-  Good
  4. 7-  Fairly Good
  5. 6-  Satisfactory
  6. 5-  Marginal
  7. 4-  Insufficient
  8. 3-  Fairly Bad
  9. 2-  Bad
  10. 1-  Very Bad
  11. 0-  Not Executed

Dressage tests use a scoring system on a scale of 0 (Not Executed) to 10 (Excellent). Each requirement outlined on a dressage test will be awarded a score on how well that movement was completed. Some movements will also have a coefficient added to it which means that there is an emphasis on the importance of that movement. Collective marks refer to the overall quality of the test with regards to the horses Gait (freedom and regularity), Impulsion (desire to move forward, elasticity of steps, suppleness of the back and engagement of the hind quarters) and Riders Position and Seat (correct and effective use of the aides).

Small Dressage Arena

The small dressage arena measure 20×40 meters (66×131 feet).


Standard Dressage Arena

The standard dressage arena measure 20×60 meters (66×197 feet).


Riding and Measuring Circles

Riding circles can be difficult and are often times ridden incorrectly. The diagram below shows how to measure your circles in relationship to your dressage arena.

riding circles