Rider Levels (Tests/Classes)
Our colour-coded levels (classes) 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 young or beginner riders who are riding in walk. Tests will be in walk only and may include some fun mounted exercises. Tests will be very simple and geared to very young or beginner riders. (Approx expected age 3-6 years – but all ages are welcome!) You can enter Green tests either on Lead Rein or off the lead. NOTE: At Green level, we are happy to accommodate some support for the rider if they are riding in the off the lead section. They may have someone in the arena with them and as long as this person is not actively leading/coaching the rider, it will still count as ‘off lead’.
YELLOW – for riders who are competent in walk and starting to trot. 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!) You can enter Yellow tests either on Lead Rein or off the lead. *NEW* Yellow Assisted section: riders may have someone in the arena with them for encouragement/support (not leading/actively helping) to help them transition from Lead Rein to off lead.
YELLOW-PLUS – these are extended walk/trot tests that are longer, with more trotting, for riders who are not confident to canter but are able to ride 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, and start to demand more of the rider. (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 – Green and Yellow classes each have a Lead Rein section. Riders are welcome to ride at Green and Yellow level on or off the lead rein. The number of entrants/class sizes will determine whether these are judged as their own separate sections or as a combined class based on % scores.
Tack and Bits – At all levels ideally all tests are to be ridden in dressage-legal bits and tack (i.e snaffles, no martingales etc). Green, Yellow, Yellow-Plus and Blue riders may enter classes using a non-legal bit or item of tack 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 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. We do allow grass reins (including Balanced Support Reins) at all levels.
Entering more than one class – 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 test. Yellow Lead Rein riders can enter either Green Lead Rein or Green off the lead as appropriate). If the rider has different ponies, they may enter different levels based on the pony + rider combination. 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! Tests can be ridden HC (‘hors concours’) for riders over-qualified at a level but needing to drop down for any reason – please contact us.
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 regardless of entry numbers, and we will always be keeping our eye out for ‘Special’ reasons to award rosettes too. All unplaced riders will receive a mini Well Done rosette to reward their efforts!