What is the easiest A-level

Dressage classes and dressage tasks

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Tournament sport: changes from 2021

From January 1, 2021, a general helmet requirement will also apply to FEI tournaments. Thus, not only in jumping or eventing, but also in dressage in all age groups and test categories, a riding helmet must be worn instead of a top hat.

Dressage classes in international comparison

The terms common in German-speaking countries for the individual dressage classes are not used internationally. The following table shows how the different levels are referred to in the Netherlands, Great Britain and the USA.

DENLUKUS
E = easyB.Preliminarytraining
A = beginnerL1 / L2Novice1st
L = lightM1 / M2Elimentary2nd
M = mediumZ1 / Z2Medium, Advanced Medium3rd
S = difficultZZAdvanced4th

There are also minor differences between the German-speaking countries. More on this in the next sections.

Dressage classes in Germany

Entry level, beginner level, easy level - it all sounds very easy! But even for an A dressage, horse and rider need solid basic training and thus it is enough for a placement, i.e. a place in the first third (in Switzerland only the best 30%) of the starters, if the judges want a decent round see. The lessons must be shown on point, in a fixed order, as harmoniously as possible and at the same time with expression.

classGeneralTemposLessons
E = entry levelin the department; 20 x 40 m- Middle step
- working trot
- work gallop
- Circle
- change through the whole / half and length of the track
- serpentine lines
A = beginner leveldepending on the advertisement in the department, in pairs or alone; 20 x 40 m- Medium trot
- Middle canter
- 10 m volts
- Move backwards
- Reduce and enlarge the square
- easy change of canter
- Let the reins chew out of your hand
- Paint over
L = easy levelusually individually and on 20 x 40 m, depending on the tender on a bridle or curb- assembled trot
- assembled gallop
- 8 m volts
- Outside canter
- Short turns
M = middle levelindividually, usually on a curb; 20 x 40 m and 20 x 60 m- gathered step
- strong step
- strong trot
- strong gallop
- Shoulder in
- Travers, Renvers
- half and double half traversals in trot and canter
- half pirouettes in step
- single flying bills
S = difficult levelindividually, usually on a curb and at 20 x 60 m- Zigzag traversals in trot and canter
- Swing
- Gallop pirouettes
- Series change
- Piaffe
- passage

In Germany, the exams are also differentiated as follows:

Equestrian competition
Popular sport, departmental riding according to the command of the judges, only the seat and influence of the rider are assessed

Dressage competition (class E)
Popular sport, departmental task

Riding horse test
In the RIDING HORSE test, the horse is primarily assessed (basic gaits, physique, overall impression). Young horses from the age of 3 can be presented in riding horse tests (ridden in the department).

Dressage horse test
The focus of DRESSAGE HORSE tests is on the horse (the level of training in the respective classes is checked). From the age of 4, the youngster dressage horses A can be started (usually also in the department.

Dressage rider test (classes A to M)
The focus of Dressage RIDER tests is on the rider (seat, influence, aids and overall impression).

Dressage test
In the dressage tests, the individual lessons are rated on a scale from 1 to 10.

While the deeper tests are mostly ridden in departments, from L level dressage onwards it is usually ridden individually.

The German dressage exercises are available as a loose collection of pages or as a ring binder.

The 2018 riding exercise book can also be purchased as a digital version: www.fnverlag.de/fnregelwerke

Dressage tasks in Austria

In contrast to Germany, there is no distinction between E and A dressage in Austria and Switzerland. In Austria it starts directly with class A, then the levels with L, M and S are the same as in Germany, but at level L there is an additional distinction between “L”, “LM” and “LP”. From class “LM” side movements are required and in class “LP” flying changes are queried, a lesson that is only part of the program in Germany and Switzerland from level M onwards.

In addition, each country has its own names for individual lessons. A circle with a diameter of 20 m is called a “circle” in Germany, a “big tour” in Austria and a “big volte” in Switzerland.

classTemposLessons
A.- Middle step
- working trot
- work gallop
- Extend kicks and jumps
- Circle
- 10 m volts
- Let the reins chew out of your hand
- Stop, 5 sec.
- Move backwards
- Paint over
L.- assembled trot
- assembled gallop
- Medium trot
- Middle canter
- Short turn
- Outside canter
- easy change of canter
LM- strong step
- strong trot and canter (from LM8)
- Shoulder in
- Traversal at a trot
- Croup in
LP- flying gallop changes (not yet at the point)
- 8 m volts
M. - gathered step- half pirouettes in step
- flying changes at the point
- Riding in at a gallop
- Gallop stop
- Traversals at a gallop
- double half traversals at a trot
M10- 3 traversal shifts in trot
- double half gallop crossbars
- 3 flying changes with at least 6 jumps in between

Direct link to the individual Austrian dressage tasks: www.oeps.at
In contrast to the German dressage exercises, these can be downloaded for free.

Dressage programs in Switzerland

While the beginner tasks in Germany are ridden in departments (with 2-4 riders on the track at the same time), in Switzerland all programs with the exception of young horse tests must be shown individually.

Dressage tasks are called dressage programs in Switzerland and begin with the “GA” level, which stands for basic training.

The program names are made up of the letters for the level, a consecutive number and the square size. Programs with an odd number will be ridden on a 20 x 40 m square, programs with an even number on a 20 x 60 m square. The higher L tasks and from the M24 onwards all programs are carried out on a 60 m square.

Compared to the German-speaking neighboring countries, in Switzerland “strong step” is already queried at the GA level. In Austria this is only required from class LM and in Germany even from class M.

programTemposLessons
GA01 / 40- Middle step
- strong step
- Working trot and working gallop
- Extend kicks / jumps
- 20 meter volts

- strong step
- Let the reins chew out of your hand
GA03 / 40- Medium trot and medium canter- 10 meter volts
GA05 / 40- Short turn
- Step-gallop transition
- Gallop-step transition
GA06 / 60- Move backwards
GA07 / 40- easy change
GA09 / 40- Outside canter
from L to S you can choose to ride on bridle or curb
L11 / 40- collected trot and gallop- flat serpentine line along the center line (5 m each) at a gallop
L12 / 60- Serpentine at gallop (3 arcs through the whole course)
L13 / 40- 8 meter volts
- easy change from the outside canter
L15 / 40- strong trot and gallop- Shoulder in
- Direct the exact number of steps backwards
L18 / 60- Traversals at a trot
L19 / 60- half step pirouette
- Paint over
M21 / 40- flying change on the diagonal
M23 / 40- on-the-fly change at the point
- Flying change on a curved line from the outside canter
M24 / 60- gathered step
M26 / 60- Riding in at a gallop
- Gallop stop
- Trot traversal on the right and direct trot traversal on the left
- Traversals at a gallop
M27 / 60- Zigzag traversals at a trot
- 3 changes on the diagonal (any number of jumps)
S01 / 60- 5 flying changes to 4 jumps
- 5 flying changes to 3 jumps
- half gallop pirouettes
- Gallop traversal on the right, flying change and direct gallop traversal on the left
S10 / 60- Piaffe (8-10 kicks)
- passage
- Zigzag traversal (4 traversal shifts) at gallop (indefinite number of jumps)
- full gallop pirouette
- 7 flying changes to 2 jumps
- 11 flying changes from jump to jump
S31 / 60- half gallop pirouettes
- 5 flying changes to 4 jumps
S32 / 60- Gallop traversal left, flying change and direct canter traversal right
- half gallop pirouettes
- 5 flying changes to 4 jumps
- 5 flying changes to 3 jumps

Direct link to the individual Swiss dressage programs: www.fnch.ch
Like the Austrian dressage exercises, these can be downloaded for free.

International dressage tasks

programLessons
Prix ​​St. Georg- Gallop traversal left, flying change and direct canter traversal right
- half gallop pirouettes
- 5 flying changes to 4 jumps
- 5 flying changes to 3 jumps
Intermediaire I- Zigzag traversals (3 traversal shifts) at gallop (indefinite number of jumps)
- whole gallop pirouettes
- 5 flying changes to 3 jumps
- 7 flying changes to 2 jumps
From Intermediaire II, the curb is mandatory as a bridle
Intermediaire II- 3 traversal shifts in trot
- Piaffe (8-10 kicks)
- passage
- whole gallop pirouettes
- 7 flying changes to 2 jumps
- 11 flying changes from jump to jump
Grand Prix- steep trot traversal (through the entire width of the track)
- Piaffe (12-15 kicks)
- passage
- 9 flying changes to 2 jumps
- 15 flying changes from jump to jump
- Zigzag traversals (5 traversal shifts) at a gallop with a certain number of jumps
- whole gallop pirouettes
Grand Prix Special- steep trot - gallop traversal (through the entire width of the track)
- Piaffe (12-15 kicks)
- passage
- 9 flying changes to 2 jumps
- 15 flying changes from jump to jump
- 9 flying changes from jump to jump on the center line between the pirouettes
- whole gallop pirouettes

All FEI dressage programs for download: www.inside.fei.org/fei/your-role/organisers/dressage/tests

Evaluation of dressage tasks

Judges rate the individual lessons with grades from zero to ten. Dressage judges are usually very reluctant to give high marks. Dr. Samuel Schatzmann, a successful Swiss dressage rider, later judge and breeder, said at a seminar: “For an eight, what is shown has to be really good. If my mouth stays open I'll give a nine and if I fall backwards off the chair I'll give a ten. ” In higher and international exams, the judges tend to use higher grades.

grade 
10excellent
9very good
8Well
7pretty good
6satisfying
5enough
4inadequate
3pretty bad
2bad
1very bad
0not executed

Based on the suggestion of a British dressage rider, dressage judges have also been allowed to award half marks since 2013 - initially only at international tournaments. In order to ensure comparability, the country-specific regulations in Germany, Austria (both 2014) and Switzerland (2018) have also been changed and half marks have also been introduced for national examinations.

Learn dressage tasks by heart

As a dressage rider, I ask myself how show jumpers can memorize a course with one or two runs so shortly before the start. Others struggle to memorize a dressage program. Especially at the first dressage starts you have to find out for yourself how best to memorize the tasks.

Tips for memorizing dressage tasks:

  • The task on a piece of paper record (either draw everything in a square or each lesson in its own square)
  • The dressage task itself expire (in the living room at home or in a square)
  • A ride on Youtube as watch a video (Attention: dressage tasks change from time to time, so it is better to check whether it is the current version.)
  • The dressage program again and again go through in your head (e.g. when brushing your teeth, etc.)

It also helps if you know the square where the tournament is taking place. Then you can directly imagine this square when you go through the task in your head. Where are the spectators, the festival restaurant, the exit or other landmarks? Now you include these points in your mental film: “Stop at X and then right hand” becomes z. B. “at X stop and then right hand in the direction of the Festwirtschaft”. Warning, this only works if you are absolutely sure how the letters are placed. Then if A and C are exactly reversed, it is more confusing.

The starting point is often the start. It has already happened to me that after the first greeting I had a brief blackout and no longer knew whether C was going to the left or right hand. Donkey bridges help to prevent this from happening. On which side do you wear the crop and in which direction does the first turn go - towards the crop or away from the crop? Most of the time, the rest of the process runs by itself.

Equestrian terms

from A as in pushing off to Z as in forced side explained by Dr. Britta Schöffmann