Young Horse

Competition opportunities for young horses within British Dressage exist to produce and educate the future stars of the sport with the health, happiness and career longevity of each equine athlete in mind.

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With opportunities for four, five, six and seven year old horses, there’s a class to suit any young horse at different stages of their development.

Shearwater Young Dressage Horse Championships

Supported by BD Official Insurance Partner Shearwater Insurance, the British Young Dressage Horse Championships are the annual aim for many young horse producers, breeders, owners and riders. Qualifiers take place from early spring through to mid-summer, before the top placed horses from these events head to two semi-final competitions to decide the entries for the Championship final, taking place at the LeMieux National Dressage Championships.

The qualifiers are open to four, five and six year old horses and the tests are designed to give each age group maximum confidence and security in the arena. First round qualifiers see combinations ride the commanded route place in pairs, before the top six are called back into the arena for final judging to decide the placings. The top two from each age group, with scores over 7.0, will go forward to the semi-final of their choice.

At the semi-finals, the BD National tests for each age group are used to determine the National Final places, with the top three horses given direct qualification. Wild cards are issued following the two semi-final competitions to complete the line-up. The Shearwater Young Dressage Horse Championships follow the same format as the semi-finals, with the top placed combinations going forward to final judging the next day where the popular rider judge testing contributes to the ultimate results.

British Dressage Young Pony Championships

For four, five and six year old ponies not exceeding 149cm, this exciting championship concludes in an annual final held at the Hartpury Festival of Dressage. The rules reflect the first round system of the Shearwater Young Dressage Horse Championships, with the top placed combinations earning over 7.0 achieving a place at the coveted final. Adults and young riders over the age of 12 are invited to present in this class.

Hickstead British Young Horse Championships

Coordinated by the British International Dressage Trainers Foundation and Dressage at Hickstead, this is an exciting additional opportunity to give your young horse exposure to the competition arena, with the added reward of a thrilling Championship final. Ten qualifiers feed into two finals, for five and six year old horses, held at Hickstead CDI each summer.


A minimum of Club membership for both horse and rider is required to participate in Young Horse classes. If a combination qualifies for any of the subsequent championships, an upgrade to a Full membership and horse registration is necessary. Riders can take part in young horse classes from the age of 12 and above.

Shearwater Insurance

Proud sponsors of the British Dressage Young Horse Championships.