Rider Levels and Tests
Our colour-coded levels are based predominantly on ability and experience, not age, so the ages quoted here are only intended as a very rough guide for newcomers as all children will progress at different rates and with different confidence levels. We don’t want any child to feel they ‘should’ be competing at a certain level just because of their age!
GREEN – for riders who are riding independently in walk, and starting to become confident in trot off the lead. Tests will be in walk only and may include some fun mounted exercises. School movements will be very simple. (Approx expected age 3-6 years – but all ages are welcome! Green tests can be ridden on or off the lead rein and may be split depending on class sizes.)
YELLOW – for riders who are starting out in walk and trot but are not yet cantering on their own. Tests will be exclusively in walk and simple trot, they may include some fun mounted exercises. School movements will be simple to execute. (Approx. expected age 4-8 years – but younger or older entrants are very welcome! Yellow tests can be ridden on or off the lead rein, and may be split depending on class sizes.)
YELLOW-PLUS – these are extended Yellow tests that are longer, with more trotting, for riders who are not confident to canter but are able to ride slightly more demanding school movements in walk and trot. (Approx. expected age 7-12 years – but younger or older entrants are very welcome!)
BLUE – for riders who are competent in walk and trot, and learning to canter independently. Tests will predominantly be walk and trot with some very simple canter work. School movements will build on those introduced in the earlier levels. (Approx expected age 7-11 years – but younger or older entrants are very welcome!)
RED – for older or more experienced riders getting close to progressing to BD Intro and Prelim level tests. Tests will feature walk, trot and canter, and school movements will start to become more complicated in line with those found in BD Prelim tests. (Approx expected age 10+ years – but younger entrants are very welcome!)
Lead Rein Riders – Riders are welcome to ride at Green and Yellow level on the lead rein, and the number of entrants/class sizes will determine whether these are judged as their own separate sections or a combined class.
Tack and Bits – At all levels ideally all tests are to be ridden in dressage-legal bits and tack. Green, Yellow, Yellow-Plus and Blue riders may enter classes using a non-legal bit or item of tack (e.g. martingale) without penalty, but in the event of a tied score, the pony/rider with dressage-legal tack will receive the higher placing. Red riders may also ride with non-legal bits or tack, but in line with BD rules will receive a 2 mark penalty for doing so, and in the event of a tied score, the pony/rider with dressage-legal tack will receive the higher placing.
Levels – Pony and rider combinations may only enter two adjacent levels (e.g. a pony and rider riding a Green test may also ride a Yellow test, but not a Yellow-Plus or Blue test). Please try to be fair and realistic about your rider’s level – we are happy to help guide you if you are unsure, or may suggest your child moves up a level once they are consistently doing well at the lower one. We understand that some riders lack confidence and hope that our child-friendly levels provide the support required to increase both confidence and riding ability!
Remember! The main aim of Demi Dressage is for riders to have a go, and have fun! All classes will receive placings 1st to 6th, and we will always be keeping our eye out for ‘Special’ reasons to award rosettes, so even if your child is not amongst the highest scoring competitors, they can still win one of our lovely ribbons!