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.

Judges in a box in a row

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. 

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 complete the relevant pathway through our Judge Education system. 

Contact for more information or call 02476 698831.

How to become a Trainee Judge

Where do I start?

You must be a minimum of a Full (non-competing) member with us to register as a Trainee Judge.

To start your judging journey, you will be required to complete the registration (£15) to be a Trainee Judge through the Horse Monkey website. Your registration will be valid for 12 months and you will be required to attend an induction session within the first year of your registration. Once you have completed the registration and it has been processed, you will be contacted directly with further information about booking an induction session and you will also receive a trainee pack with useful documents to help start you on your judging journey. Our Judge Educators’ are currently delivering the Trainee Judge induction sessions as a Zoom online session.


What happens next?

Once you have attended an induction session with us, you will have the option of your details being visible on our ‘Find a Judge facility, we will provide a GDPR consent form for you to complete if you wish to be visible.

As a Trainee Judge your options are:

  • Be a Trainee Judge and judge at unaffiliated competitions. You will be required to renew your £15 registration annually and attend an annual seminar to remain up to date. Every two years you will be required to attend an induction session to refresh your Trainee Judge knowledge and understanding. 


  • Register for the Judge Education system (£30) to join a pathway in the view to become a listed Judge and judge at affiliated competitions.

I am interested in becoming a listed Judge!

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 Judge Education system. Our Judge Education system has been designed to support and guide you along your journey to become a listed Judge and in upgrading through the lists too in the future. The system comprises of completion of both ‘non-technical’ and ‘technical’ modules. Non-technical modules are generic judging topics where as the technical module is level specific and focuses on areas such as movements at the level. You will be provided with all necessary information about the Judge Education system following your induction session attendance.

If you have registered as a Trainee Judge after 10 August 2020, you will be required to fulfil the below pre-requisite:

In order to be eligible to undertake an online assessment, candidates entering the new Judge Education system must have achieved three scores at 62% or above at affiliated Novice level dressage or affiliated Novice horse trials or in the relevant para grade tests. 


To have achieved 3 Novice scores of 65% or above at BD Freestyle affiliated competitions.

System overview:

Our Judge Education system is a combination of:

  • Attendance to interactive workshops
  • Completion of self-directed learning activities such as sitting in, writing, practice judging, and observing training
  • Portfolio activities
  • Online final assessment

As a Trainee Judge, if you register for the Judge Education system you will follow the 'New Judge' pathway.

If you are on our system as a ‘Trainee Judge’ following your induction session attendance, you will be able to access our ‘Judge Education System’ page (login required)


Get in touch!

If you have any questions or queries about becoming a Judge, please get in touch with our Officials Education Supervisor Jess La Rosa.


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:


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.