Youth squads & training

Dressage is all about training and BD Youth aims to give you the best possible start for a lifetime in the sport.

Eliza Alex AF (2)

If you're looking to get involved with BD Youth, the best place to start is your region! If you're a parent/guardian to a keen rider inspired to give dressage a go, you can find out more about how young riders can get started with BD Youth by downloading our Parents' Guide. 


Regional training

Each of our regions host loads of training sessions and social activities throughout the year that you can get involved with! Have lessons with national and local coaches, meet fellow young riders with a passion for dressage and have great fun progressing towards your training goals.

Regional training days are open to all ages of riders from as young as six to 25. Develop your skills both in and out of the saddle and train towards squad progression and BD Youth Horse Care success. Sessions and camps run during the school holidays and over weekends and include everything from test riding and training to unmounted workshops, DVD sessions and social activities.

Regional training sessions are organised by your BD Youth Representative or Regional Development Officer. Your BD Youth Rep will be the first point of contact within your region!

Regional squads

When you start your BD Youth training journey within your region, you can attend assessment and training days to be allocated to a BD Youth Regional Squad. Being squadded opens up a whole bunch of opportunities for team competition, including the Home International, BD Youth U25s Championships and Inter Regionals.

A unique aspect of BD Youth squad competitions is the rider skills tests – these are used to monitor your progress and upgrade you through the squads and at team events throughout the year. Ride traditional movements but be assessed on your position, your skills and how much difference you’re making to the horse. Every rider has an equal chance to excel!

Squad Age/Competition level
D Riders up to the end of the year of their 11th birthday
C Riders up the end of the year of their 14th birthday
C+ Rider skills tests similar to Prelim/Novice
B Rider skills tests similar to Novice/Elementary
B+ Rider skills tests similar to Elementary/Medium
A Rider skills tests similar to Medium or specific Young Horse tests for horses aged 5 or 6

Due to Coronavirus restrictions, riders will be able to complete their 2021 squad assessment remotely, by submitting video evidence and taking part in an online discussion with a BD Youth Assessor Coach. For more information contact your local Development Officer.



BD Youth Rep Jo Lees gives her insight into what it's like to be a part of the community:

Squadding and new Horse Care Course

From January 2020 we are launching our new BD Horse Care course designed to help you as a rider learn all of the fundamentals in caring for horses. If you’re a BD Youth rider who is looking to be eligible to compete our regional teams after December 2020, you’ll need to have begun working through the horse care online course.


International Squad training
In order to be considered for international selection riders must meet selection criteria for their category. For the 2020/21 season there have been updates made to the U21 pathway, see the report below for more information about test riding and international viewing.

U21 Pathway Report