Mid-South Eventing & Dressage Association

2018 USEA and USEF Rule Changes

01/15/2018 10:17 AM | Chelsea Smith (Administrator)

By Sarah E. Coleman

While the eventing and dressage rules are tweaked every year to ensure more-fair competition and horse and rider safety, there are some significant changes that have taken place for the 2018 competition year. While the items listed below are not exhaustive, they are important to note. For additional information, please visit usef.org and useventing.com.

The Young Horse Program Changes

In addition to the changes noted below, the USEA Young Event Horse Program will also have some significant changes, including new (shortened) dressage tests, new scoring and judging systems, and a conformation section that is only held at championships. The competition will now consist solely of a dressage section and a jumping/galloping section, which has new standards.

You can find the score sheets here: http://useventing.com/sites/default/files/YEH%20Scoresheet%20Qualifying%20Competition.pdf

For 2018, a mare must compete in her appropriate age group (the bye-year has been removed).

Additional information on the Young Event Horse Program can be found here: http://useventing.com/competitions/yeh.

Eventing Rule Changes

The following changes, noted in red, have been approved by USEF.

EV115 Saddlery
2. Dressage Test
c. a rounded snaffle bit made of metal, leather, rubber or plastic material is permitted for all tests.
f. Martingales, bit guards, any kind of gadgets (such as bearing, side, running or balancing reins, etc.), reins with any loops or hand attachments, any kind of boots or leg bandages and any form of blinkers, including earmuffs, earplugs, hoods, and seat covers are, under penalty of elimination, strictly forbidden. Ear hoods are permitted for all Tests and may also provide noise reduction. However, ear hoods must not cover the horse’s eyes and ear plugs are not permitted. The ear hoods should be discreet in color and design. BOD 11/13/17 Effective 12/1/17

EV131 Cross-Country Scoring
a. Disobediences -
5. Fourth penalized disobedience on the entire course at Beginner Novice, Novice, Training or Modified Elimination. BOD 11/13/17 Effective 12/1/17

EV142 Cross Country – Definitions of Faults
2. Disobediences (Refusals and Runouts)
b. Runouts. A horse is considered to be disobedient if it runs-out, avoids the obstacle or element to be jumped in such a way that it has to be represented. A rider is permitted to change his mind as to where he jumps an obstacle or element at any time without penalty for a run-out, including as a result of a mistake at a previous obstacle or element. BOD 11/13/17 Effective 12/1/17

EV171 Ground Jury
2. DUTIES: a. The Ground Jury is ultimately responsible for the judging of the event and for settling all problems that may arise during its jurisdiction. Together with the Technical Delegate, Course Designer and Organizing Committee, it shall endeavor to ensure that all arrangements for the event, including the arenas, courses and obstacles including deformable Cross-Country Jumps, are appropriate. If, after consultation with the Technical Delegate, the Ground Jury is not satisfied with the arrangements or courses, it is authorized to modify them. BOD 1/14/17 Effective 12/1/17

EV172 Additional Judges
5. Guest Cards (see GR1011.16) BOD 1/14/17 Effective 12/1/17

EV174 Course Advisors
a. A Cross Country Course Advisor shall be appointed by the Federation for certain Horse Trials and Three-Day Events as designated by the Federation Eventing Sport Committee. The Cross Country Course Advisor will approve the design of the proposed course, including: the distance covered, the terrain and the condition and quality of the track; and the number of obstacles, their construction and variety and marking or flagging, the number of combinations, and the appropriateness of the level to the competition. The Cross Country Course Advisor will provide the course designer (CD) and technical delegate (TD) with a report which indicates any changes, either recommended, priority, or essential, to be made to each fence on the course. After inspection of the Cross Country course and prior to the event, the TD will complete the Cross Country Course Advisor Report for return to the Federation with the TD report. All essential changes must be made or the fence shall be removed from the course for the competition. All priority changes must be addressed prior to use at the next event or removed from the course.
b. Eventing Show Jumping Course Advisor please refer to program details at www.usef.org/compete/disciplines/ eventing. For Show Jumping courses, the TD shall include a copy of the Show Jumping Courses, as posted at the competition, with the TD report. All essential Show Jumping changes must be made. BOD 11/13/17 Effective 12/1/17

See Annex 1 for Approved Bits for National Competitions
** noseband rules have changed, for additional information, visit https://www.usef.org/forms-pubs/KlV5P9prkmM/ev-eventing-division

Dressage Rule Changes

The following changes, noted in red, have been approved by USEF.

DR117 The Position of and  Aids of the Rider
4. Riding with both hands is obligatory at all national and International Dressage Events. However, riding with one hand is permitted in the Freestyle Tests and when leaving the arena. Individuals holding a Federation Dispensation Certificate may use bridged or special adaptive reins for use with one or no hand(s), if their physical limitations require such and the equipment is listed on the Dispensation Certificate.
Apart from the halt and salute, where the athlete must take the reins in one hand, riding with the reins in both hands is obligatory at FEI Dressage Events, but a discreet ‘pat on the neck’ for a well performed exercise, or for reassurance, is perfectly acceptable (as is the situation of an athlete needing to wipe a fly from their eye, or other situations such as adjusting clothing, saddle pads etc). However, if the rider intentionally takes the reins into one hand in order to use either the reins or the other hand to produce more impulsion from the horse, or to promote applause from the spectators during the test, it will be considered a fault and will be reflected in the mark for both the movement and the collective mark for ‘Rider’.

6. The use of the voice in any way whatsoever or clicking the tongue once or repeatedly is a fault involving the deduction of at least 2 marks from those that would otherwise have been awarded for the movement where this occurred. Use of voice should also be considered in the collective mark for the rider. BOD 12/11/17 Effective 1/1/18

DR119 Participation in Dressage Competitions

2. Horses may compete in no more than one Licensed Competition on the same day and are limited to a maximum of three Dressage rides per day at Fourth Level and below (including Rider Tests) or two Dressage rides per day above Fourth Level. Horses competing at both Fourth Level and Prix St. Georges, or their equivalents, are limited to two Dressage rides per day. Horses competing in FEI Para-Equestrian tests are limited to a maximum of two Dressage rides per day including equivalent USEF or USDF tests. FEI Para-Equestrian tests may be ridden at non-consecutive levels to USDF, USEF, and other FEI tests. Horses may enter no more than two consecutive levels, Freestyle levels included, at any one competition (refer to the following chart). Dressage Seat Equitation, Quadrille, Pas de Deux and Materiale classes are excluded from the maximum limit of rides per day and horses in these classes may compete at any level for which they are otherwise eligible during the same competition.

Except for Young Horse tests, all dressage tests listed above shall be considered equivalent to the highest test of the level (e.g. the FEI Pony Rider Team Test is considered equivalent to Second Level Test 3). BOD 11/13/17 Effective 12/1/17

DR120 Dress

2. For all tests above Fourth Level, and FEI Junior Tests, and FEI Dressage Tests for 5, 6, and 7 year old horses, the dress code is: a dark tailcoat or a dark jacket with protective headgear, as defined in DR120.6 and in compliance with GR801, and white or light colored breeches, stock or tie or integrated stand-up collar, gloves, and black riding boots. Spurs are mandatory for FEI tests (except as noted above under DR120.1). (See DR120.8) BOD 12/11/17 Effective 1/1/18
3. At all test levels, riders may wear jackets in other colors within the international HSV color scale, as described in FEI Dressage Regulations, Art. 427.1. Contrast coloring and piping is allowed. Protective headgear, stocks, ties, gloves and riding boots may be the same color as the coat. For Grand Prix Freestyle only: any single color tailcoat or jacket will be allowed; striped or multi-colored coats are not permitted, and tasteful and discreet accents, such as a collar of a different hue or modest piping or crystal decorations, are acceptable. BOD 12/11/17 Effective 1/1/18

DR121 Saddlery and Equipment

2. For Training, First and Second Level tests, FEI Tests for Children, and FEI Pony tests, a plain snaffle bridle is required with a regular cavesson, a dropped noseband, a flash noseband (a combination of a cavesson noseband and a dropped noseband attachment) or a crossed noseband. Except for the buckles and a small disk of sheepskin, which may be used in the intersection of the two leather straps of a crossed noseband, the headstall and cavesson/noseband of the bridle must be made entirely of leather or leather-like material. However, wear tabs on cheek pieces and reins may be made of non-leather or other material. A padded cavesson/noseband and crownpiece are allowed. Nylon or other non-metal material may be used to reinforce leather in the headstall but must not come in direct contact with the horse. Elastic inserts are permitted in the crownpiece and cheekpieces only. A browband is required, and except for the parts that attach to the crownpiece or headstall, is not required to be made of leather or leather-like material. The crownpiece of the bridle must lie immediately behind the poll and may extend forward onto the poll, but it may not be fitted to lie behind the skull (see diagram). Bridles are not permitted in which the noseband is connected to the bit or cheekpiece below the level of the browband. A throatlatch is required except when the combined noseband or Micklem bridle are used. BOD 12/11/17 Effective 1/1/18

4. For FEI tests ridden at national competitions, a plain snaffle bridle or simple double bridle may be used, as described above in DR121.2-.3. However, for USEF High Performance qualifying and championship classes, USEF Young Adult qualifying and championship classes, USEF Junior championship classes, and USEF Young Rider championship classes, a double bridle is mandatory. Snaffle bridles are permitted for NAJYRC qualifying classes, USEF Junior qualifying classes and USEF Young Rider qualifying classes. Double bridles are mandatory for NAJYRC and USEF Junior and Young Rider championships. Only snaffles, curbs and bridoons pictured under Figure 1-B and in Annex A are permitted in FEI tests. For the FEI Dressage Tests for 4, 5, and 6-year-old horses and the USEF Dressage Test for 4-year old horses, a plain snaffle bridle is required, as above (DR121.2). Either a snaffle or double bridle may be used in the FEI tests for 7-year old horses. However, when a snaffle is used in FEI tests, a snaffle is required as described in Figure I and as pictured in Figure 1B and Annex A. The crossed (figure-8, Mexican) noseband is not permitted for the FEI Dressage Tests for 4, 5, 6, and 7-year-old horses and the USEF test for 4-year old horses. BOD 12/11/17 Effective 1/1/18

7. Martingales, bit guards, any kind of gadgets (such as bearing, side, running, balancing reins, neck straps, nasal strips, tongue tied down, etc.), any kind of boots (including “easy-boots”) or bandages (including tail bandages) and any form of blinkers, earmuffs or plugs, nose covers, seat covers, hoods are, under penalty of elimination, strictly forbidden. One small identification tag, no larger than 1.5” diameter, such as the Ver Tag, may be attached to the horse’s mane. The use of equine body tape or bands (equi-taping, Kinesio tape) is prohibited. Shoes (with or without cuffs) that are attached with nails or glue, or wraps that do not extend past the hair line of the hoof are permitted. Fly hoods (ear covers) are permitted for all classes in order to protect horses from insects. The fly hoods should be discreet in color and design and should not cover the horse’s eyes. After completion of the test, the rider 519 DR - DRESSAGE DIVISION © USEF 2018 or his representative is responsible for removing the fly hood to present to the designated ring steward for inspection to ensure that nothing prohibited has been added (for example, ear plugs). Logos in complaince with DR121.1 and manufacturer’s logos are permitted. However, per DR121.9, ring stewards are only required to inspect fly hoods and other equipment in one-third of the horses in a class. When an inspection is conducted, all equipment including including fly hoods, whips, etc. must be inspected. In championship classes, saddlery inspections are required for each horse. Leg bandages are allowed in Pas de Deux and Quadrille classes. A breastplate and/or crupper may be used, except that a breastplate is not permitted in USEF High Performance Championships, USEF High Performance Qualifying and Selection Trials. A rein is a continuous, uninterrupted strap or line from the bridle bit to the hand. Rein additions or attachments are not permitted. Each bit must be attached to a separate rein and reins may only be attached to bits. Any decoration of the horse with extravagant items, such as ribbons or flowers, etc. in the mane, tail, etc., is strictly forbidden. (Exception: A red ribbon in a horse’s tail is permitted to identify a horse that kicks). Braiding of the horse’s mane and tail, however, is permitted. False tails are permitted and if used may not contain any metal parts. BOD 11/13/17 Effective 12/1/17

Figure 3 PERMITTED NOSEBANDS AND BRIDLES (nosebands are compulsory) BOD 12/11/17 Effective 1/1/18 (Refer also to Annex A posted on the USEF website for additional information on permitted and prohibited nosebands and bridles)

DR122 Execution and Judging of Tests

k. Other Errors. For USEF High Performance qualifying and selection trials, all of the following are considered errors (faults), and two (2) points will be deducted per error (fault), but they are not cumulative and will not result in elimination (including for Freestyle tests):

6. If the Freestyle test is longer or shorter than stipulated on the test sheet, zero point five percentage points (0.5%) will be deducted from the total artistic score;
7. Using voice or clicking the tongue repeatedly;
8. Athletes not taking the reins in one (1) hand at the salute. BOD 12/11/17 Effective 1/1/18

13. For FEI Tests for 4, 5 and 6-year old horses, and the USEF test for 4-year old horses, the judges must sit together at “C”. Individual movements are not judged. The judges must fill out one Marking Sheet with general comments and marks at the end of the test. For Young Horse qualifying classes, competition management is encouraged to provide a microphone for the judges so that a short summary may be given to the audience after each ride. FEI guidelines for judging shall be followed. Tests must be ridden from memory.

For FEI Dressage Tests for Seven Year old Horses: Each of the two FEI Tests for 7 Year Old Horses has two marking sheets, a technical test (titled Test and Technical Marking Sheet) and a young horse evaluation (titled Quality Marking Sheet). The FEI Tests for 7 Year Old Horses must be judged by Senior ‘S’ or FEI judges.

Placement of Judges: One Judge – Judge at C uses only the Quality Marking Sheet OR the Technical Marking Sheet; Two Judges – Judge at C uses only the Technical Marking Sheet; Judge at B or E uses only the Quality Marking Sheet; or Three Judges - Judge at C uses only the Technical Marking Sheet; two judges at B or E use only the Quality Marking Sheet. To include this test in Young Horse Test of Choice (TOC) class, ONLY the Quality Marking Sheet can be offered and one judge must preside. If two or three judges are used, the test must be offered in a separate class that is limited to FEI Tests for 7 Year Old Horses. The technical score and the quality score shall be weighted each with 50% towards the final score.

Competition Management is encouraged to provide a microphone only for judges responsible for the Quality Test so that he/they may give a short summary after each ride. Tests must be ridden from memory. Please note that if only one judge presides, Competition Management must clearly state in the Prize List if the class(es) will be judged using the Quality Marking Sheet OR the Technical Marking Sheet. BOD 1/13/17 Effective 12/1/17

DR123 Scoring, Classification and Prize-Giving

2. The total score for the classification is obtained by adding the total points and determining the percentage score. With more than one judge, the percentage score is determined by adding the sum total points earned from all judges and dividing by the total available points. If there are two or more judges, the points awarded by each judge will be published separately in addition to the total score. Total final results and scores (to include artistic and technical % scores for freestyles) must be published in marks as well as in percentages with numbers to three places after the decimal point. Scores must be posted on a public scoreboard as soon as possible after each ride. The public scoreboard may be in either paper or electronic format. The name of each judge must be posted along with the position where he/she is sitting. When multiple judges officiate from different positions, scores must be posted in the following order: E, H, C, M, B. BOD 12/11/17 Effective 1/1/18

3. Individual Classification. In all competitions the winner is the competitor having the highest percentage, the second placed competitor is the one with the next highest percentage, and so on. In case of equality of points the competitor with the highest marks received under General Impressions shall be declared the winner. When the scores for General Impressions are equal after coefficients have been applied, the horses must remain tied. Errors on a test may not be used to break ties. When the final score in Rider Tests are equal, the competitors must remain tied. Final results for each class must be posted as soon as possible after the class is completed and all results must include total points and percentages with numbers to three places after the decimal point, eliminated horses, and the placing of each horse that receives an award. If a competitor withdraws (scratches) prior to a class or is excused, eliminated or a “no show” prior to or during the performance of a test, the words “scratched”, “excused”, “eliminated”, or “no show” or abbreviations of each, must appear after the competitor’s name in the result sheet. Competitors may not “withdraw” or “scratch” after the final salute of a test. Only the judge at “C” may give permission to withdraw during a test. Competition Management has no authority to grant permission for a rider to withdraw or scratch during or after a test. The published final results may be in paper or electronic format and must remain posted throughout the entire competition. The name of each judge must be posted along with the position where he/she is sitting. When multiple judges officiate from different positions, scores must be posted in the following order: E, H, C, M, B. BOD 11/13/17 Effective 12/1/17

DR126 Requirements for Dressage Competition Management

7. The jury for the FEI Dressage Tests for 4, 5, and 6-year-old horses and USEF Dressage Test for 4-year old horses, and Rider Tests, must be seated together at “C” and may comprise a maximum of three judges. (Exception: See Selection Procedures for the USEF National Championships for Young Horses for the number and placement of judges in the Young Horse championship competition.) The number and placement of judges in classes and championships for FEI 7-year-old horses must be as described in DR122.13 or, if applicable, the Selection Procedures for the World Breeding Championships for 7-year-old horses. BOD 12/11/17 Effective 1/1/18

DR129 Musical Freestyle Ride

e. Under penalty of elimination at the discretion of the judge at “C”, a rider must enter the arena within 30 seconds of the music starting. Exception: For USEF High Performance qualifying and selection trials, see DR122.5. The music must cease at the final salute. BOD 12/11/17 Effective 1/1/18
f. See DR126.3 (Dressage Levels Chart) for requirements on sound systems to play music for freestyles. Competition Levels 3-5 must have a sound system to play music. Level 2 competitions must have a sound system to play music if freestyle classes are offered. There are no minimum requirements for Level 1 competitions. BOD 1/14/17 Effective 12/1/17

By no means an exhaustive list, there are additional breeding and competition details at usef.org 

Midsouth Eventing & Dressage Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

MSEDA’s mission is to promote and preserve the sports of Eventing and Dressage in the Mid-South area, by providing leadership and education to its members and the community at large. To further these goals, MSEDA will provide educational opportunities, fair and safe competitions, promote the welfare of the horse and rider and reward the pursuit of excellence from the grass roots to the FEI level.

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