Dressage to Music

Have a go at freestyle dressage to music competitions from Prelim to Grand Prix and experience the freedom, excitement and elegance that continues to make these events one of the most popular options on the competition scene.

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Dressage to music competitions, also known as Freestyle, can open up a world of opportunity to best suit you and your horse. Qualify for the Petplan Equine Area Festival Freestyles as part of the summer series or have a go at the Winter Regionals to earn a ticket to the NAF Five Star Winter Championships. Many BD venues hold dressage to music competitions throughout the year, as well as High Profile shows and Premier Leagues offering freestyle opportunities for the more advanced levels.

Looking to have a go at designing your own floorplan? Take a look at our handy freestyle floorplan template here.


How it works

Making freestyle programmes is great fun and can be done easily at home, or with the help of a professional if you’d like a bit of guidance. Here are the key things you need to know:

  • Freestyle dressage to music tests are marked differently to standard BD tests with two marked categories: technical and artistic
  • For each BD level, test floor plans need to be created using the compulsory movements
  • These movements earn technical marks in line with any standard test and judging guidelines. With a standard test you receive collective marks to summarise your performance, but in freestyle competitions these are replaced with artistic marks
  • Artistic marks reflect five areas - harmony, degree of difficulty, music and interpretation of the music – and are marked with a four times coefficient, making them really influential to your overall total score!
  • As well as your compulsory movements, there’s a time limit on the tests so they take careful planning and clever riding. Design your test to show your horse’s best bits, if extended trot is your highlight then try riding your extended trot towards the judge! 

Read more about dressage to music in the following guidelines, which give an insight into how these tests are marked by judges and what they are looking for when awarding marks:


Next steps

To take part in dressage to music competitions, you'll need to ensure the following is in place:

Music license

  1. You'll need to download and complete your music license record form (an accurate account of the music used) and a signed music sub-license agreement (which allows you to use any music of your choice from the Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) database). 
  2. Once you have completed the above, please send via email to membership@britishdressage.co.uk or by post to British Dressage, Meriden Business Park, Copse Drive, Meriden, West Midlands CV5 9RG. We only need pages 15 and 16 of the music sub-license agreement.
  3. Once we’ve got copies of your forms, you’ll be sent PPL music stickers which need to be completed and kept with your music CD. Any time you update your music, we’ll need an updated music license record form.

Please note it’s your responsibility as a rider to make sure you hold the relevant license and PPL stickers before competing. The good news is there’s no additional cost to register your music agreement and records as it’s included as one of the benefits of your BD membership!


You need to be a Club member with a Club registered horse to have a go at dressage to music, so make sure your membership and horse registration are up to date! If you make it to an Area Festival or Regional Championship you’ll need to upgrade your membership to Full to take part.


Find a competition

Once you've completed the above you're ready to compete! Take a look at our competition schedule, selecting 'test type' as music in the search function, to show you all the upcoming shows that contain music classes.