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USDF L Education Program

Part 2 - "Candidate's Evaluation"

Sessions: D1, D2, E, Final Exam

Presented in Partnership by LVDA & ESDCTA

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Session D1:  June 18 - 19, 2022   

Saugerties, NY

Faculty Instructor: Lisa Schmidt, "S"

Session D2:  August 19-21, 2022    

Saugerties, NY
Faculty Instructor:  Debbie Riehl – Rodriguez, "S"

Final Exam:  October 7-9, 2022

Region 1 Championships, Lexington, VA

Examiners: Kathy Rowse “S” & Joan Darnell “S

A description of what is needed and what is involved for each session is listed below and can also be found on the Participant Guide.

NOTE:  Due to the cancellation of the 2020 sessions, applicants who were accepted in 2020 will receive preference when choosing the accepted candidates for 2022.

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Part 2 - "Candidate's Evaluation"

L Education Program Part 2 Participation



1) Membership: Must be a current USDF Participating Member.

2) Score requirements: Scores must be earned prior to entering Part 2.

• The minimum score requirement to enter Part 2 is three scores from three USEF-licensed dressage judges: two scores of 65% or higher at the highest test of Second Level and one score of 62% or higher at Third Level or above. Three scores of 62% or higher at Third Level or above from three different judges or any combination of these requirements would also meet the requirements to enter Part 2. Effective 4/15/2016.

• Only scores from USEF-licensed/USDF-recognized dressage competitions will count.

• Scores from breed-restricted shows will not meet any of these score requirements.

• Scores for Freestyles or Young Horse classes are not eligible for meeting any of these score requirements.

• It is the responsibility of the candidate to submit the scores to the USDF office. This is a prerequisite to acceptance into Part 2.     USDFScores.com can be used to verify the score prerequisite.

3) Candidates must be 18 years or older in order to participate in Part 2: Candidate Evaluation.

Participant Requirements:

  • Part 2- “Candidate’s Evaluation” is open to current USDF Participating Members who have completed the USDF L Education Program Part 1 and who have met the "Prerequisite" requirements (see Participant Guide for more information). 

  • The Candidate Evaluation is limited to 10 candidates and is intended for those candidates who are interested in judging schooling shows or entering the USEF/USDF “r” Judge Training Program.

  • Part 2 consists of Sessions D1, D2, E, and the Final Exam. Sessions D1, D2, and the Final Exam must be attended in order. 


NOTE: Candidates should be prepared to be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days of the sessions. Leaving more than one hour before the finish or arriving more than one hour late for the start of the program will negate the candidate’s attendance and the session will need to be repeated before they can attend the next session. In order to make up an evaluative session (D1, D2, Final Exam), candidates must find a program that has an opening, which means a program that has less than 10 participants.



November 14,15,16
Applications will be accepted for candidates who were accepted in 2020 prior to cancellation.

Part 2 Participant Application Form
Note: The candidates accepted in 2020 will receive First Priority Status and will receive an email with a First Priority Application form they must submit by midnight of November 16th. Please follow the instructions received in your email.

November 17
Applications will open for all other candidates.

Part 2 Participant Application Form

Cost and Payment Methods for 2022:

Full payment is required at the time your application is submitted-
No Acceptions will be made!


If paying by check, the cost will be the discounted price of $2650
(Attach a check payable to ESDCTA, Inc. with all 4 pages of the application form and your scores from USDFScores.com) to:

LVDA/ ESDCTA “L” Program,
c/o Chris Dickenson, 741 Shearer St.,
North Wales, PA 19454
or email as an attachment to Chris.dickenson1018@gmail.com.


If paying by Credit Card, the cost will be: $2700 (Send all 4 pages of the application form and your scores from USDFScores.com to the contact on the form, then make payments using the credit card payment button below)


Click here if paying by credit card after November 16.  Note: This option is routed and processed through the ESDCTA payment page.                             

If you have any questions contact: Chris Dickenson at chris.dickenson1018@gmail.com  215-219-6701

Items needed for D1and D2 sessions:

• 10 x 14 Self-addressed envelope with $5.00 postage (for return of test sheets, price may change, check USPS for increases in postage)

• Completed Pre-D1 Homework and results from online homework quiz for discussion.

• United States Equestrian Federation Rules

• General Rules (GR) and Dressage Division (DR)

• Dressage Attire & Equipment Guide

• Diagrams, done by the candidate, along with test sheets of all tests Training through Second Levels

• Notebook, clipboard, ink pens, including red pen, and nametag.

• D1 self-evaluation and tabulation sheet

• Calculator

• An experienced scribe; Organizers are not required to provide scribes. If the candidate cannot bring a scribe, they should discuss the possibility of the organizer being able to assist in providing one for them. The candidate should expect to cover expenses for the scribe and possibly pay a small daily fee

Session D1 - Judging Full Tests in Each of the Levels (12-14 hours total) This session will be conducted on two days during a USEF-licensed/USDF-recognized dressage competition. The session is taught by one instructor. Participants will be asked to judge full tests. The instructor will discuss with the participants the scores and comments, as well as summaries made at the bottom of the tests. The candidates should complete a written self-evaluation to keep and compare with the evaluation filled out by the instructor. The completed evaluations from the instructor will be sent to the USDF office and kept on file. A copy of the evaluation will be emailed by the USDF office to each candidate.

Session D2 - Judging Full Tests in Each of the Levels (12-14 hours total) This session will be conducted similarly to Session D1 but with a bit more emphasis on a testing situation. Candidates should bring the same items they did for the D1, including a 10 x 14 self-addressed envelope with $5.00 postage (for return of test sheets, check USPS for increases in postage rate). This session focuses on preparing candidates for the final testing. As in Session D1, the instructors will fill out the D2 evaluation. Oral questioning may also be used in determining the scores on the evaluation. The completed form will be sent to the USDF office and kept on file. A copy of each participant’s evaluation will be emailed to him/her by the USDF office. Instructor evaluations for both Session D1 and D2 are not cumulative but based upon a candidate’s performance at the specific session.

Final Examination Prerequisites: Candidates must have completed all sessions and all scribing and sitting requirements and they must be on record in the USDF office prior to the Final Exam or they will not be allowed to take the final exam. Candidates must have completed the Safe Sport Training and a certificate of completion must be on file with USDF. The Final Exam takes place at a USEF-licensed/USDF-recognized dressage competition. The duration of the examination is approximately one and a half to two days. The examination will include a written test and a practical judging test with some oral questioning. The examiner will ask candidates questions during the rides. Please note: Candidates may be required to judge orally and will be required to judge tests consecutively as the show is scheduled as part of the evaluation process and the results may influence the final score. The written test is a closed book exam; questions are true/false; there are no short-answer or essay questions. The questions are compiled primarily from the General Rules (GR) and Dressage Division (DR) sections of the United States Equestrian Federation Rule Book, the USDF Glossary of Judging Terms, and from the course material of the L Education Program including questions from the freestyle presentation and online module.

Session E - Scribing and Sitting

All scribing and sitting forms must be on record at the USDF office prior to taking the Final Exam.


Scribing: Scribing hours can be completed any time prior to the Final Exam. Candidates must have scribed for at least three (3) different USEF-licensed “R” or “S” dressage judges, for a total of 12 hours. Scribing hours may be made up of smaller increments, as long as the total is 12 hours. Scribing hours from schooling shows and breed shows will count, provided the presiding judge is an USEF-licensed “R” or “S” dressage judge. Scribing hours must be documented on the appropriate form and signed by the officiating judge. Candidates should keep a copy for their records and send a separate copy to the USDF office to be recorded.


Sitting: Once accepted into Part 2 of the program, candidates must sit with a minimum of two USEF-licensed “R” or “S” or FEIlicensed dressage judges at USEF-licensed/USDF-recognized dressage competition(s). It is recommended to sit more than the minimum requirement if it can be arranged with show management and the judge. The required tests may be accumulated in smaller increments with several different judges, as long as the total is at least 20 tests per level (Training, First and Second). These hours must be spent observing the judge judging any test at these levels. A minimum of 20 tests at each level (Training, First, and Second) is a prerequisite to taking the Final Exam. (Please make sure this is recorded on the sitting form before you give the form to the judge to send in.) Keep a copy of the form for your records and to use in case the judge’s copy does not arrive at the USDF office prior to your Final Exam.


Group sitting with an L Faculty member can be used to meet up to half of the required sitting hours. Candidates may choose to hire a faculty member to sit with them at a competition. Up to 10 candidates may sit with the L Faculty member at one time. Sitting forms must be filled out by the faculty member and returned to the USDF office as with other E Sessions. The guidelines for sitting hours apply for group sitting as well. (The presiding judge does not need to be contacted for permission.) Faculty members are limited to two sessions per program. Please note: The Group Sitting is included in the guideline that an instructor cannot be used more than two times during the Part 2 sessions and group sitting should not be done with the examiner of your final exam.


Participants must obtain permission from the competition manager and the officiating judge prior to the competition date. First, obtain permission from the competition manager, before asking permission from the judge. If a participant wants to sit with a particular judge, he/she may ask for that judge’s schedule and then contact the appropriate competition manager(s). Candidates should not ask a judge to promise a sitting session without prior approval from competition management.


Participants should bring test sheets, a clipboard, and, if possible, their own chairs. The participants will sit in the judge’s booth and watch the ride as the judge scores. The judge will set the pace for how much he/she wants to discuss the rides. Participants must not interrupt the judge or the competition. The judge’s responsibility is focused on the competitors. However, candidates are encouraged to take notes and to begin compiling information for a notebook of judging vocabulary and comments. In accordance with USEF rules, it is strongly recommended, for the purposes of the L Education Program that participants do not sit or scribe with a judge they will be riding in front of at that competition.


There are two sitting forms: one for the candidate and one for the USDF office. The forms are marked accordingly. Participants should bring both Session E evaluation forms for the judge to fill out and sign. Candidates should also bring a stamped, letter-sized envelope addressed to USDF. The candidates will receive one form back for their own information. The judge will mail the completed “Office” form to USDF in the stamped envelope, provided by the participant. Candidates should check with the USDF office to make sure the sitting hours were sent in. If they were not sent in by the judge, it is the responsibility of the candidate to provide the office with a copy of the completed sitting form.


Sitting and scribing hours expire five years from the date of the D1 or for those retesting the date of the last Final Exam. If you have questions regarding hours you may already have on file, please contact the L Program Liaison at the USDF Office.