To dressage lovers the movements and requirements of each level and test are second nature but to some of us not so educated in the sport they can be a bit confusing, from counter canter to half pass, what movements are actually required for each level and when are they introduced. Below we go through some of the levels and what each test involves, including what the judges will be looking for.
Equestrian Australia has set tests from Preparatory to Advanced level, after that the FEI tests are used so let us take a look at the EA tests which the majority of us are probably most familiar with.
To demonstrate correct basics, that the horse is supple and moves freely forward in a clear rhythm with a steady tempo, accepting contact with the bit.
To be ridden in a snaffle, trot can be sitting or rising unless stated and halts may be through the walk.
- Test 1A – Introduces working trot, working canter, medium walk, free walk, and 20m circles in trot and canter
- Test 2A – Adds stretch circle in a trot
- Test 3A – introduces serpentine
To confirm that the horse demonstrates correct basics, and in addition to the requirements of Preliminary Level, has developed the thrust to achieve improved balance and throughness and maintains a more consistent contact with the bit
To be ridden in a snaffle, trot can be sitting or rising unless stated
- Test 2A – Introduces 10m half circle in trot, 15m circle in canter and lengthening of stride in trot and canter
- Test 2B – adds leg yielding
- Test 2C – has the addition of 10m circle at trot, change of lead through trot and counter canter
To confirm that the horse demonstrates correct basics, and having achieved the thrust required in Novice, now accepts more weight on the hindquarters (collection); moves with an uphill tendency, especially in the medium paces; and is reliably on the bit. A greater degree of straightness, bending, suppleness, throughness, balance, and self-carriage is required than at Novice Level
To be ridden in a snaffle, all trot sitting unless otherwise stated
- Test 3A – introduces walk-canter transitions, collected and medium trot and canter, shoulder in and rein back
- Test 3B – has the addition to 3A of half turn on hind quarter and simple changes
- Test 3C – added to requirement of 3A and 3B is the counter canter in serpentine
To confirm that the horse demonstrates correct basics, and having begun to develop an uphill balance at Elementary, now demonstrates increased engagement, especially in the extended paces. Transitions between collected, medium and extended gaits should be well defined and performed with engagement. The horse should be reliably on the bit and show a greater degree of straightness, bending, suppleness, throughness, balance and self carriage than at Elementary Level
To be ridden in a snaffle or double bridle and all trot sitting
- Test 4A – introduces extended paces, half pass at trot, single flying change and walk pirouette
- Test 4B – addition of Renvers, release of reins at canter, half pass at canter
- Test 4C – introduced rein back to trot
To confirm that the horse demonstrates correct basics, and has developed sufficient suppleness, impulsion and throughness to perform the Advanced tests which have a medium degree of difficulty. The horse remains reliably on the bit, showing a clear uphill balance and lightness as a result of improved engagement and collection. The movements are performed with greater straightness, energy and cadence than at Medium Level
To be ridden in snaffle or double bridle and all trot sitting
- Test 5A – collected walk, very collected canter, multiple flying changes on diagonal.
- Test 5B – counter changes of hand in trot and canter, tempi changes every fourth stride, working partial pirouettes in canter
- Test 5C – Tempi changes every third stride, 10m half circle in counter canter, half working pirouettes in canter.
Written By Selena P.