Q. What are the different levels of competition and what membership do I need for each one ?

A. At Southern Vales Dressage Club, we hold 4 levels of competition - Competitive, Participation, Closed Unrestricted and Restricted.

  • Competitive (previously official): Requires EA Competitive membership and competition licence (dressage card). Horse must be registered with EA. All levels from Preliminary to FEI. Grading points received.

  • Participation: Requires EA Participation membership.  Does not require competition licence (dressage card). Horse does not have to be registered. Levels Preliminary and Novice only. No grading points awarded. Mainly for the eastern states where judges are changed after Competitive competitions. Gives riders the opportunity to rider under Competitive judges to compare scores, progression of training.

  • Closed Unrestricted (previously associate): Requires either club membership, EA membership. Does not require competition licence (dressage card). No grading points awarded. Horse does not have to be registered.

  • Closed Restricted (previously club members only): Open to members of Southern Vales Dressage Club only.  EA graded horses may ride in closed restricted competitions at their graded level or higher. If you wish to rider lower than the horse's graded level, you need to put that request in writing.  No grading points awarded.

Q.What age does a child have to be to qualify as a Junior for membership ?

A. Juniors must be under 18 years of age as at 1st April of the year that membership begins.

Q. I'd like to join as a Family. What is the maximum age of children covered under family membership and how many family members does this membership cover ?

A. Children must be under 18 years of age as at 1st April of the year that membership begins. Family membership covers four (4) people who can be riders or non-riders, ie two adults and two children or one adult and three children.

Q. Do all people covered under Family membership have to complete a helper day ?

A. Yes. SVDC relies on it's helpers on competition days. If you cannot complete a helper day yourself, you can nominate someone to do it for you.

Q. What sort of things can I do to help the Club on my helper day and do I get a choice ?

A. Yes, you can have a choice depending on what is needed on the day. We usually require people to pencil for our judges, help in the canteen, someone to collect test sheets from the judges to bring back to our computing team, help pack up at the end of the day etc.

Q. I've never tried dressage before. Which class should I enter just to try it out ?

A. The lowest level of dressage that we offer at Southern Vales Dressage Club is Preparatory.  Three of the tests consist of walking and trotting while Preparatory Test D includes some working canter so Preparatory would be a great choice if you have a youngster or you want to just get a feel for the sport.  We have Closed Unrestricted (unofficial) classes for Preparatory, Preliminary, Novice and Elementary at most competitions so you don't have to be a member of EA to compete in these but you do have to be a member of Southern Vales Dressage Club if you don't have EA membership. So, depending upon your horse and your confidence, there's plenty to choose from.

Q. Can I enter the same horse in a Competitive test as well as a Participation or Closed Unrestricted test ?

A. No. Horses may be entered in Competitive OR Participation OR Closed Unrestricted only on any day.

Q. How many tests can I enter ?

A. Only 2 tests per horse are allowed (except at a Championship where we may offer Freestyle or Pas De Deux as well) and you can only enter two consecutive levels on the day per horse (ie Prep and Preliminary, Preliminary and Novice, Novice and Elementary etc).

Q. Can anyone else ride my horse on the day of the competition ?

A. No. The horse may only be worked (ridden) by one competing rider on the day. Grooms may ride the horse at walk on a loose rein.

Q. Can I change the rider of my horse from the one on the entry form ?

A. Yes if due to personal sickness or injury but permission must be sought prior to the event.

Q. Can I bring a horse to the grounds on the day of a competition if he's not competing ?  I want to familiarise him with the competition atmosphere.

A. No. Only horses competing on the day can be on the grounds. We open the grounds on Saturday the week before our competition for members who want to familiarise their horse(s) with the surroundings or ride on the arenas.

Q. I need to lunge my horse before I get on. Can I lunge in the warm-up arenas ?

A. No. You must not use the warm-up arenas for lunging.  You must go to the rear of the grounds behind the parking area.

Q. What if I can't remember my test ? Can I have someone call it ?

A. Yes. Callers are allowed at Southern Vales Dressage Club except at Competitive Championship events and FEI.

Q. I am not a member of the club but I've entered a Closed Unrestricted class because I'm a member of the EA.  My horse isn't registered so I don't have a bridle number. What number should I use ?

A. Our Draw Secretary will issue you with a temporary bridle number to use on the day of the competition. You cannot use this bridle number on any other day or at any other club. If you join SVDC you will be issued with a permanent bridle number. You can use this number at SVDC only. If you registered your horse with the EA and apply for a performance (dressage card) you will receive a bridle number from them and you will use this number every time you compete, whether it's at SVDC or any other club.

Q. I've entered a Closed (Unrestricted/Restricted) class. What is the attire ?

A. Riders competing in closed classes are permitted to wear casual attire, ie SVDC polo shirts or own shirt with collar and sleeves in plain navy or white. This includes Closed Unrestricted or Closed Restricted championships. Shirts must have short or long sleeves. Sleeveless shirts are now permitted. You can choose to wear form attire if you want but it's not compulsory. All competitors must wear protective hats meeting Australian Standards when mounted. Gloves are required to be worn (preferably white) when riding.

Q. Do I have to plait my horse's mane ?

A. Plaiting is compulsory for all Competitive and Participation classes. Plaiting is not compulsory in Closed Unrestricted or Closed Restricted classes.

Q. Where can I obtain a copy of the tests ?

A. You will find all the dressage tests on the Equestrian Australia website (click here).  We also links to the tests on this website including our own Freestyle and Pas de Deux tests which we run during our Closed Unrestricted and Closed Restricted (club) championships.

Q. My horse is sick and I have to withdraw. What do I do and will I get a refund ?

A. You should contact the Convenor of the competition if you are scratching on the day of the competition.  The Convenor's contact details are on the competition draw.  If you scratch before the close of entries, you are entitled to a full refund.  If you scratch after the close of entries or up to 10am on the day of the competition, upon presentation of a either a Veterinary Certificate or a Doctor's Certificate within 7 days noting the date of the competition, you will be eligible to receive 50% of your entry fee (not including administration fees).  You may elect to receive a credit note which can be used at future competitions or a refund by cheque.  SVDC cannot refund by internet bank transfer. You can read our Refund Policy in full here.

If you have any questions that have not been answered here, please visit the "Guidelines" page or please feel free to contact a member of our Committee.  You can also email us with any questions or concerns.

You can download the Dressage Rule Book from the EA National website (click here).

  Frequently Asked Questions