New Members Guide

What is Dressage?

Dressage is "the highest expression of horse training" where "horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements." The EA [Equestrian Australia] dressage tests are adopted from the USA (USDF [United States Dressage Federation]) from Prelim to Advanced.

The levels are as follows (it's helpful to know the USDF Levels for when looking at Videos Online or Masterclasses from International Presenters):

 Australia/UK  USA
levelsaus  levelsus

Anything after Advanced/Fourth Level are your FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) Levels and are governed by the rules and regulations of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports.

If you are new your best best is to have a crack at Prep (Walk/Trot) or if you are feeling confident Prelim (Walk/Trot/Canter) and work your way up from there.

The scoring scale is as follows:

10 – Excellent  5 – Marginal (EA) (Sufficient – FEI) 
9 – Very Good 4 – Insufficient
8 – Good 3 – Fairly Bad
7 – Fairly Good 2 – Bad
6 – Satisfactory 1 – Very Bad
0 – Not Executed (means practically nothing was performed)

All the tests for the different levels can be found here.

What are the Different Types of Days/Classes Mean? What do I wear?

  • Training/Social Days
    • Informal/Friendly Days
    • Acclimatise you horse to the competition grounds
    • Get to know your other club members
      • What to Wear: Safe Riding Attire, Approved Helmet.
  • Clinics (Check Calendar for Upcoming Clinics)
    • Generally RASDEG Members Only (Outside Members with Appropriate Insurance)
    • First in best dressed
    • Learn new skills
    • Oppertunity to learn from some of the Industrys Experienced Coaches/Clinicians
      • What to Wear: Safe Riding Attire, Approved Helmet.
  • Members Days/Classes
    • RASDEG Members Only (Unless combined with Participant)
    • Part of the RASDEG Members Championship
    • Suitable for all Levels of Experience to come and Join
    • Any Level that is listed on the Entry Form (Prep-Grand Prix)
      • What to Wear: Riders can wear either a Club Shirt or White/Light coloured dressage shirt (must have sleeves). Any coloured Jods. Any colour saddlecloth. Approved Helmet.
  • Participant Days/Classes
    • EA Participant Members (Prep, Prelim, Novice, EA Para Dressage)
    • Separate Ribbons
    • Opportunity for Official EA Competitiors to try a higher level of test without the added pressure
      • What to Wear: Dressage Attire – As per the EA Rules (can be found here). Approved Helmet.
  • Equestrian Austrlia Official Days/Classes
    • EA Competitor Members (No EA Participant Level Members)
    • Valid Bridle Number
    • Higher Level of Competition (Potentially State/National Representitives)
    • More Prestigious
    • Increased Sponsorship Oppertunities
      • What to Wear: Dressage Attire – As per the EA Rules (can be found here). Approved Helmet.
  • Theme Days
    • Flyer will detail what you  and your horse can wear and when.

Nominations for all Clinics and Competitions are done through Nominate. Links avaliable individually for each event on the upcoming flyer or calendar.

Do I need A Horse Health Declaration?

YES! Hand your Horse Health Declaration into the organiser when you first arrive. This is a government requirement as part of the Biosecurity Act 2014.

RASDEGs Horse Health Declaration can be found here.

Do I need A Movement Record?

Movement records are required when moving horses between properties in Queensland. The person responsible for the horse must complete the movement record before the horse is moved. A movement record can be completed in hard copy or electronically. There are some great Apps that do this in the Android/Apple/Google stores (e.g. HorseTracks).

You don't need to present these to the club but it is something that the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries can come and audit you on. Fines can apply if your records are not in order. For more information see the DAF website.

What is a Gear Check, What Do i need to Do?

On the day of competition, before you enter the arena for your test, you must first go to Gear Check at least 10 mins prior to starting your test. This is compulsory, failure to have a gear check will incur elimination. You are to be mounted on your horse and the Gear Steward will check your gear to ensure you do not have any non-sanctioned gear and that everything is in safe working order. You can check is there are any scratchings and opt to ride early if the ring is running ahead of schedule.

What Is A Bridle Number, Why Do I need it?

At Members Competitions:

Riders must have a bridle number (on both sides of bridle or saddlecloth).

At Participant/Competitive events:

a) two numbers are required to be worn when competing – one on each side of the horse - preferably attached to both sides of the saddlecloth, or both sides of the bridle and must be clearly legible – this is a strict rule as Judges have no idea who they are judging if there is no number.
b) the Horse Identification Number must also be worn as described whenever the horse is being ridden/lunged/led/tethered or grazed from the time of their arrival on the grounds until the end of the event. Just in case a horse gets loose its owner can be identified and contacted. This is especially important if an injury has also taken place and vet care is needed.

Stallions must display Green disc’s on both sides of the horse & comply with EA recommendations regarding stallions at events.

Horse Identification numbers must be worn in addition to stallion discs, either as the EA issued green bridle identification number holder or the green EA issued stallion disc identification plus horse ID number

What If I'm Not Sure If My Gear is Allowed?

If you aren't sure what gear is and isn't allowed check the Equestrian Australia Gear Annex.

What Do I Do If I need to Scratch?

Scratchings will be accepted up to 9am of the day after the entries close. Refund of entry fees (less 50% administration costs) after that time NO refunds unless a Vet or Doctors certificate is supplied within 7 days of the event, with the date of the event covered by the certificate.

Do I need to Go To The Judge before My Test?

When presenting to the judge before a test, riders do not have to stop and report to the judge but must make sure the judge has clearly seen their Horse Identification Number.

What Does the Car Honk/Bell Mean?

Failure to enter the arena within 45 seconds of the bell/honk being sounding will entail a penalty of 2 points per judge. Should a rider continue and not enter within a further 30 seconds they will be eliminated.

Entering the arena at A before the bell/honk signal has been given may entail a penalty of 2 points per judge.

What is Gold Club?

To ensure our club remains sustainable we rely on volunteer power to keep the club running. No voluntees, no events/competitions. All Gold Club asks of you is to alocate one day from our competition calendar to participate as a non-riding volunteer. You will need to let our Volunteer Co-Ordinator know in advance you wish to do your Gold Club day and she will alocate you a job on the roster. See the list in the next point for details on possible jobs you could undertake for your Gold Club day. You must complete your Gold Club day in order to be eligible for End of Year Awards. For more details on Gold Club click HERE.

I'm Scared to Volunteer, What do The Different Jobs Involve?

Volunteers are essential to RASDEG events! An experienced member will show you what to do :) Examples of volunteer roles include:

  • Arena Setup
    • Arena setup usually occurs the day before an event at a predetermined time
  • Pencilling
    • Once you are a bit more familiar with how dressage works you might light to pencil for a judge
    • Gives you an insight into how dressage tests are judged and what the judges are looking for
    • For additional information see our Guidline for Event Volunteers
  • Gear Check
    • Gear check volunteers ensure that all riders and their mounts are correctly outfitted for competition, according to Equestrian Australia rules.
  • Hospitality (working the Canteen or providing Judges Lunches)
    • Canteen volunteers are responsible for preparing and selling food and beverages at the clubhouse. All food, beverages and equipment will be supplied by the club.
    • Volunteers are responsible for preparing morning tea and lunch for our judges. Our judges are very hard working people, so make sure to spoil them!
  • Scoring
    • Scorers are provided with a calculator and are responsible for tallying the test scores. Each score is then entered onto the test results sheet.
  • Score Sheet Collection
    • A volunteer will be assigned to periodically collect completed test sheets from the judges, and return them to the scorers.
  • Club House Pack-up and Arena Pack up will be completed by all competitors before presentation of ribbons

What are Conditions of Entry?

When you enter an event, you are expected to abide by the “Conditions of Entry”. These will differ slightly between Members vs Official events, so you should always read these carefully.

Key Items for New Memebers

Sample Conditions of Entry

(Italic items examples: would vary depending on the event)

  • Members You WILL be allocated a job for the day. If you have not setup arenas, or pencilled before, we will show you how. If you are not prepared to do a job – DO NOT ENTER.
  • The event is run in accordance with EA regulations.
  • It is the competitors responsibility to be familiar with all current rules and regulation.
  • Entry is via www.nominate.com.au and late entries will NOT be accepted.
  • You must be a current financial member of RASDEG to ride at this event.
  • Riders who are under the age of 18 must be under the supervision of a parent or guardian at all times during the competition.
  • Current ASA Helmet must be worn at all times while mounted on a horse, including warm up and parking areas. You may be required to provide proof your helmet is current AS/NZS 3838: 1998.
  • It is the competitors’ responsibility to present to gear check before each test.
  • Maximum two horses per rider and no more than 3 tests at 2 consecutive levels per horse.
  • Classes may be restricted to 25 riders and RASDEG members will be given preference.
  • Callers are permitted however competitors must make their own arrangements, RASDEG officials are not responsible for the organisation of callers.
  • Dogs are NOT permitted on the grounds.
  • Scratchings will be accepted up to 9am of the day after the entries close. Refund of entry fees (less 50% administration costs) after that time NO refunds unless a Vet or Doctors certificate is supplied within 7 days of the event, with the date of the event covered by the certificate.
  • If the event is cancelled RASDEG may retain an administration fee of 30% of the total entry fee to cover costs incurred.
  • Protests to be lodged with the appeal committee in writing and accompanied by $100 not later than half hour after the incident that gave rise to the protest.
  • It is the competitors’ responsibility to ensure their equipment meets EA & safety regulations. If a competitor’s conduct or equipment in anyway compromises the safety of others, entry will be refused.
  • As per EA regulations, no electronic or ropeyards are permitted at any RASDEG competition.
  • Stallions must display Green disc’s on both sides of the horse & comply with EA recommendations regarding stallions at events.
  • All other awards will be presented at the completion of the day’s classes.
  • Ponies will not receive separate awards and will be judged with Horses.
  • Lunging may only take place behind the carpark or in the round – yard and NOT the warm up areas.
  • No More than 4 horses permitted in the SAND warm-up arena at any one time.
  • Test Sheets not collected can be posted at a cost of $2. Envelopes will be provided at the club house.
  • No spectators, strappers or family allowed onto warm-up arena or competition field. Signs will be posted for compliance.
  • SMOKING – In compliance with regulations is only permitted in the fenced off area away from the canteen, play area and toilet facility. Please ensure your visitors know of this requirement. Smoking in the parking area is also not permitted.
  • The arenas will be open for familiarisation on Saturday after setup, and before 7.30 am on the Sunday of competition. Any manure during familiarisation MUST be removed before 7.30.
  • Use of yards is subject to being cleaned of all manure and hay. Manure to be placed in the manure pile, but NOT Hay.