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General Information for Dressage Competitions

Dressage Shows included in our ECRDA newsletter are conducted in accordance with the ECRDA rules. Please be advised that it is the rider’s responsibility to be familiar with these rules. ECRDA rules can be found on the ECRDA website at ECRDA Championship Show Rules may vary from the USEF - please note the differences in this rule book under ECRDA Dressage Championships. All ECRDA Members are required to follow the rules and policies of any farm hosting an ECRDA Sanctioned Show.

Some of the most common rule questions are explained briefly here:
•  One horse may compete in four classes. However, they may not repeat the same classes at any given show.
For example: Rider Jane Brown on horse Smokey can compete in two training level tests and Sarah White on Smokey in two first level test.
Four classes on the same horse can be done from 2nd Level and below.
Three classes on the same horse can be done at third and fourth
Two class on the same horse can be done at Prix St George and above.

  • USDF/USEF recognized shows do not count towards ECRDA year-end awards except the shows run by ECRDA.
  • A simple snaffle, regular cavesson, flash, figure-eight, Micklem or drop noseband are permitted. Twisted wire bits and bits combining copper with any other metal are not permitted. Ear bonnets are allowed. Half chaps are allowed.
  • (Addendum 2019) With the recommendation from a Veterinarian, a rider may compete in exclusively and only in East Coast Regional Dressage Association schooling shows using an all leather bit less bridle (i.e. Dr. Cook Bridle).

•***A rider must be attired according to USEF rules for proper attire; i.e. light colored britches, boots, light colored shirt, dark jacket, and approved safety helmet. In case jackets are waived due to hot weather, no sleeveless shirts may be worn.
•***Bandages, boots, blinders, martingales, draw reins, side reins, running reins, seat covers, earplugs, or artificial devices are not permitted.

  • Lungeing must adhere to USDF/USEF guidelines

•Whips may be carried during a test (including the ECRDA Championship Show).
•Spurs capable of injuring a horse are forbidden. Acceptable spurs can be found on the USDF/USEF rule book.
•Riders may have a reader (including the ECRDA Championship Show).
•***Talking or clucking to your horse is not permitted; nor is speaking to another person while in the arena (that includes speaking to your reader).
•Committing three course errors, leaving the arena during the test, or marked lameness result in elimination.
•Horses may not be entered in classes differing by more than one level at any one show.
                For Example: Rider doing training level cannot do second level at the same show.
•A rider must enter the arena within 45 seconds of the judge's signal (usually a bell or whistle)
•Spectators should be no closer than 10 feet from the dressage arena.

  • Western Dressage must follow the rules of ECRDA.  

*****Any rules not specifically stated in the ECRDA rulebook will then follow the USDF/USEF rulebook.


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