Becoming a judge

We operate a comprehensive training and assessment scheme which enables judges to progress up the levels, or ‘lists’, from preliminary to the heady heights of judging grand prix tests at championships.

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Many trainers and riders use the knowledge they have built up to progress into a judging career. Becoming a judge helps with test riding and coaching skills as well as the general understanding of the way of going of the horse. We currently have just over 1,600 judges, this includes approximately 600 trainees. 

The 'lists'

The lists range from six to one. As a list 6 judge, you can judge Preliminary competitions and this increases to list 1, where the most experienced are able to judge Grand Prix tests at championships. To remain listed you have to attend a seminar, and to upgrade your listing you need to demonstrate further experience, which includes passing an exam paper and a practical testing day.

Contact for more information or call 02476 698831.

How to become a Trainee Judge

There's no criteria to meet in order to become a Trainee Judge, however you must be a Full or Premier Club member of British Dressage.

To start the process you'll need to register, which includes a registration fee of £15, your registration will then be valid for 12 months. Trainee Judges are required to attend an induction day within their first year of registration (which are organised regionally), plus an annual seminar thereafter as part of the requirements to be eligible to judge.


New judge education system 

Once you have registered as a trainee judge and attended an induction session, if your aim is to eventually become listed and judge at affiliated competitions you can register for our new Judge Training and Education programme. Our new system has been designed to support and guide you along your journey to become a a listed judge and in upgrading through the lists too. Please follow the link below to access further information about our new system. 


How to become a Para Judge

If you are a list 3 judge or above you can now become a para judge by following the new for 2019 Para Judge Pathway! As our para community continues to grow, we really do need more para judges to support this growth and following this pathway could not be simpler.


How to become a Music Judge

In order to become qualified to Judge music classes you must simply complete a test paper. There's a paper for all levels of Judge, from Trainee to List 1. The below information should make the process clear.

Existing music judges

If you attended a Music Seminar before 1st December 2017 you can continue to judge music classes and will not be required to sit a paper to continue to do this. Neither will you need to sit a paper every time you upgrade to a higher list.

New music judges

If you have not previously attended a Music Seminar but you now wish to judge music classes, you'll be able to take a test paper at a time and place to suit you.

Trainee judges may also take a test paper to further their knowledge and understanding about judging Freestyle classes. This will be of value should they judge an unaffiliated Freestyle class as well as being ready to judge Freestyle classes once they become a listed judge.

How to access the music test paper

There are 3 different papers, appropriate for the following levels; Novice/Elementary, Medium/Advanced Medium and FEI Level. These test papers are available at a cost of £20 and can be booked at any time:


If you do not achieve the required 70% to pass the paper, you can re-sit it for an additional fee of £5, which can also be booked above.

Learn from the world's top judges

The International Equestrian Federation's publication FEI Dressage Handbook Guidelines for Judging, has been written by some of the most experienced FEI dressage judges. It will help with understanding scores and the criteria outlined in the FEI Dressage Rulebook. It is available from the British Dressage shop.