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MDA Hosts USDF L Program


From Anna Speer

Mid-South Dressage Academy (MDA) at Clifton Farms will host Part 1 of the USDF "L"
Program.  The "L" program is the initial training for prospective dressage
judges.  It is open to anyone – riders, trainers or competitors – who are interested in learning more about how horses and riders are evaluated in dressage. Part 1 of the L Program focuses on learning what criteria goes into the judge’s decisions and comments. The dates for the three sessions that make up Part 1 are as follows:

Session A: June 29-30: Introduction to Judging and Biomechanics, taught by Trenna Atkins.
Session B: September 28-29: Judging Criteria for Gaits, Paces, Movements, and Figures, taught by William Solyntjes.
Session C: November 16-17: Collective Marks, Basics, and Rider Biomechanics/Equitation, taught by Marilyn Heath.
The USDF “L” program offers a comprehensive curriculum where participants and auditors can learn what trained judges are looking for in dressage performance. This program concentrates on the lower levels and is taught by a faculty of experienced, USDF-approved and USEF-licensed “S” judges.

The program has been designed with several goals in mind:

1. To give competitors, trainers and instructors broader insight into the evaluative techniques of judging dressage;
2. To qualify individuals to judge schooling shows;
3. To serve as part of the prerequisites to enter the USEF “r” Judges Training Program;
4. To serve as continuing education for licensed judges and “L” graduates.

Part 1: “A Judge’s Perspective” is the educational part of the program; it should suit anybody who would like to have more insight into what judges are looking for and how they operate. This part consists of Sessions A, B, and C. These sessions must be taken in alphabetic order by Participants; Auditors may attend as many or as few sessions as they like. If Participants miss a session they need to make it up before they can attend the next session. For that purpose, they may go to any other group that offers the missing session. No more than 30 participants are allowed for Sessions A, B, and C although up to 40 silent auditors may attend each session.

Difference between Participant and Auditor for Part 1 “A Judge’s Perspective” of the “L” program


• Anyone may attend and does not have to be a member of USDF to attend any of these sessions.
• May elect to attend any or all sessions of the A, B, C educational sessions.
• May not ask questions of formally take part in the practice judging portions of the
educational sessions (although auditors may bring their own score sheets and practice
judging from their seats).
• Will receive a copy of all handouts (if pre‐registered).
• May not continue to the Evaluation Sessions until they have taken the educational sessions
A, B, C as a Participant.


• Anyone may attend. However they must be a USDF Participating, GMO or
Interscholastic/Intercollegiate member at the time each Educational session is held.
• Must attend all sessions of the Educational Sessions A, B, C in order to receive credit as a
• Will be expected to ask questions of the Instructor throughout the sessions.
• Will take part in the practice judging opportunities in the Educational Sessions. (Judging
sheets will be provided.)
• Will, after completing all three Educational sessions, be eligible to continue in the Evaluative
sessions, assuming the other pre‐requisites of scores has been confirmed by USDF.
All interested persons are invited to participate, audit, or be a demo rider during the course of this program, which will require 41 demos of all ages and ability levels. It’s like taking a free clinic! More information is available from Anna Speer, or 901-361-7676. Application forms are available on the MDA website:

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