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Dressage is a French term meaning “training” and its purpose is to develop the horse’s natural athletic ability and willingness to work making him calm, supple and attentive to his rider.

If you are a history buff, you might be interested in reading more about the beginnings of dressage that date back to Xenophon in Greece and include a long line of riding masters, both from the military and the famous riding schools which developed during the Baroque era.

Currently, competitive dressage involves nine progressive levels incorporating multiple tests within each level. Special tests are also written for musical freestyle, sport horse breeding and performances incorporating multiple horses and riders. Tests are revised every four years by the United States Dressage Federation, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).

Competition occurs in a regulation size arena with specific apparel and equipment all regulated by USEF. Judges are licensed by the USEF and the FEI and are assisted by scribes who write down the judge’s scores and comments during the test.

Success in dressage is dependent on the rider’s position and ability but because of the goal of the training, many horse breeds can be quite successful.

Watching dressage can be very exciting, especially the musical freestyle rides or tests at the FEI (highest) levels.

MVHC Dressage Series Class List 


  • Intro 1 

  • Intro 2 

  • Intro 3 

  • Training Level Test 1 

  • Training Level Test 2 

  • Training Level Test 3 

  • First Level Test 1

  • First Level Test 2 

  • First Level Test 3

  • Test Of Choice 2nd Level Thru Grand Prix 

Test can be found online or from show management 


High Score of the day (junior or senior) awarded at the end of the show day. 


Class Descriptions  Current Year USDF test will be used


Prix Caprille: Dressage pattern with two jumps being part of pattern. Open to riders showing training level and above.

Test can be found online or from show management


Open to riders 10 and under. Leader on foot and over 14 years. To be shown collectively at the walk and individually at the trot. Riders will be asked to salute the judge. Equitation will be judged on rider’s position and control. Suitability will be judged on mount to rider and pleasure of the ride.

Horsemanship Exam:  Written test on basic horsemanship and horse care. Test can be taken throughout show day.

Trail Class: A pattern of obstacles you and your horse need to pass through.


Year End Awards: 

Champion and reserve will be awarded in each level for juniors and seniors. They will be awarded by the highest average of two test scores. (year end awards will not be granted unless two or more dressage shows are attended in any show season)

High score of season

Horsemanship exam results announced and highest score from each show awarded prize to further riding education

Dressage Regulations

Show is governed by MVHC rules and regulations(see below) and then USDF/USEF guidelines.

Junior competitors must be 18 or under as of December 1, prior to show year..

All participants must wear ASTM approved headgear and hard sole shoes with a heel.

Intro A, B, C will be ridden in smaller arena (20mX40m)

All horses and ponies must be present with current (within a year) inoculation and negative coggins test

Show management reserves the rights to limit entries and refuse post entries if ride schedule is full.

Entries will be accepted on first come first serve basis.

Competitors must clean their stall and area used or a $25.00 cleaning fee will be charged.





The Show Committee Members or officials will not be responsible for any accident that may occur to any animal, person or property and each exhibitor shall hold them harmless and indemnify them against any legal proceedings or liabilities arising from any such accident, or loss of property caused to or by property or employee of such exhibitor.

• The Horse Show Committee reserves the right to change judges, decline any entry, revise time schedule, cancel any class where there is less than 2 entries, combine classes or divide any class in the best interest of the horse show.

• Neat attire shall be worn by all riders for all classes. 

• Proof of Negative Coggins must accompany each entry.  Tests must be dated 6 months for out-of-state horses and 24 months for MA horses.  Other vaccinations should also be current.

• Horses Entered and not Exhibited shall forfeit fees, unless the committee is presented with a veterinary certificate, or in equitation only, a physician's certificate

• No Exhibitor or person shall approach the judge unless he first obtains permission from the show manager.  Any exhibitor or person disregarding this rule may be asked to cancel all entries and forfeit entry fees.  Judges' decisions are final.

• All riders must wear protective headgear while riding anywhere on the show grounds.  Headgear must be approved and conform to the standards of USA Equestrian Association.  Harnesses must be secured and properly fitted.  Any rider violating this rule will be immediately prohibited from further riding until such headgear is properly in place.  It is the responsibility of the parent or guardian of the junior exhibitor to see that the headgear worn complies with such standards. 

• Champion and Reserve ribbons may be awarded in all divisions to the top 2 horses who have acquired the most points in their divisions.  Points will be awarded through 6th place: 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1.  There must be at least three entries in the first over fences class in all hunter divisions and at least 2 entries in all other classes unless otherwise stated for Championship and year-end points to be awarded.  To be eligible for championship and reserve, the exhibitor must have shown in at least one other qualifying class in the division.

• A trophy may be presented in all classes

• Post Entries are $25/horse for all entries not received by Wednesday before the show.

• Under MA Law an equine professional is not liable for an injury to or the death of a participant in equine activities pursuant to section 2D of Chapter 128 of the General Law

• Stalls are available on a first come basis.  Exhibitors are responsible for cleaning their stall and area around the stall before leaving the show grounds.  A $25.00 cleaning fee will be charged for any stall not properly cleaned. 

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