View and print the 2022 USEF Preliminary Test B here.

The tips in this post are from a Dressage Test Playbook in the Ride iQ mobile app.

Meet the judge, Peter Gray

Peter is a renowned dressage judge and has judged at some of the world's most prestigious events including the 2022 World Eventing Championships in Italy. He has been to the Olympics Games as both an event rider and as a team coach. Peter is ICP Level IV certified and he is a Ride iQ coach.

Dressage rider Peter Gray rides a bay horse down centerline

1. [A] Enter working trot, [C] Track right

  • You may sit or rise the trot for all the trot movements
  • Ensure a smooth half circle turn to the right

2. [M-X-K] Lengthen stride in trot, [K] Working trot

  • Aim a little to the right of K so you don’t box yourself in the corner between [K] and [A]

✍️ TAKE NOTE: Consider doing a lengthen toward the end of your warmup or around the ring to prepare for this movement

3. [F-G] Leg yield left, [C] Track right

  • This was a new feature for 2022; typically, we have seen the reverse of this movement
  • As you leg yield to the left, you’ll have flexion to the right so that when you get to [G], you’re set up to track right at [C]
  • Show the best fluency you can create in the trot
  • This movement should naturally help enhance your balance in the trot and prepare for your next movement.
"Remember your position should be consistent from start to finish and the tempo should also be the same from start to finish." -PG

4. [M] Working canter right lead

  • Don't go too deep into the corner because that can make your horse hollow and you may get a high head in the transition
  • Keep your turn rounded and show suppleness and maintain your horse’s poll a little bit lower.
A woman in a red show coat rides a dark grey horse in dressage at the canter

5. [B-E] Lengthen stride in canter on 20m half circle right, continue lengthening to [H], [H] Working canter

  • Start your lengthen one stride early: "I would start a stride early, so that when you get to [B], you're already showing a nice sign of the beginnings of your lengthen." -PG
  • Start shortening soon after [E] so you are balanced for the next movement beginning at [H]

6. [H] Half circle right 10m, returning to track [between E and K]

“It’s difficult to get the self carriage back in the canter after the lengthen, so I would begin shortening soon after [E], and continue to shorten on that half 10m circle.” -PG
  • Shorten through your 10m circle and soften during the counter canter
  • Aim to return to the track between [E] and [K] rather than at [K]
  • Do a couple straight counter canter strides before you have to transition in your next movement

⚠️ WARNING: This takes a lot of balance!

7. [K] Working trot

  • Returning to the wall before [K] will set you up for a straighter transition

8. [A-C] Serpentine of two equal loops width of arena in rising trot, allowing the horse to stretch forward and downward, [Before C] Shorten reins

  • These will be two half 20-meter circles
  • Keep the stretch for the change of rein from the left to right
  • Make the change of direction gradual instead of sudden so your horse is less likely to lift their head
"I would suggest slightly angling left to right over the centerline and change the bend over 3-4 steps while maintaining a downward stretch." -PG

9. [Between C and M] Medium walk

  • Ride corners as a quarter circle with bend to reduce the likelihood of tension
  • This is a great place to walk, because it’s in the corner (thanks, writers!)

10. [M-E] Change rein free walk

  • Start lowering the poll before you get to [M] because it's a short free walk
  • There should be equal pressure in both hands and legs, with no bend or flexion
  • Stretch down and forward with the head and neck
"We often see forward but not down enough – the poll should be lower than the wither. At home, try to teach your horse to go down and forward in the free walk and teach them the consistency to stay there." - PG

11. [Between E and K] Develop medium walk, [K] Working trot

  • This is a great place for this movement, because you’re bending left in this corner and bend in the body limits the amount of tension that can creep in

12. [F-X-H] Change rein, lengthen stride in trot, [H] Working trot

  • Remember to lengthen both the frame and the stride per the directives
  • Show a nice transition back to working trot when you get to [H]

13. [M-D] Leg yield right, [A] Track left

  • Have a small amount of left flexion in your leg yield right, so that when you get to [D], you’re set up for the left turn at [A]

14. [F] Working canter left lead

  • This has a tendency to happen late, so make sure you pick up the canter in the final portion of the corner.

15. [B-E] Lengthen stride on 20m half circle left, continue lengthening to [K], [K] Working canter

  • Again, bring your horse back to the working canter closer to [E] than [K] because generally horses are on their forehand and not in balance after the lengthening
"Same thing here. I would bring the horse back to the working canter closer to [E] than [K] because this half circle left is very influential. There's a mark for that half circle and then return to the track, and generally horses are on their forehand and not in balance. Show your lengthening nicely on the half circle. You're going to get your mark if you show it there."

16. [K] Half circle left 10m, returning to track between [E and H]

  • Try not to go over the centerline, because you’re right in line with the judge who wants to see the accuracy of that turn
  • Again, consider arriving at the wall between [E] and [H] rather than at [H] so you can get straight for your transition

17. [H] Working trot

18. [B] Half circle right 10m to centerline

  • This is not [B] turn right, it's [B] half circle right
  • Show bend and engagement, help your horse with his balance

19. [G] Halt; salute

Collective mark: Harmony of athlete and horse

"For me, this is a happiness mark. Was it a pleasant test to watch? Did the rider show the gaits to the full potential? The rider should show off the freedom of the horse's gaits through their ringmanship. Round off the corners and show the quality of the gaits." -PG

💡 YOU READ THAT RIGHT! Round off the corners rather than going too deep. Doing so will show off your horse's gaits and prevent them from getting "stuck" in the corners.

Want more help improving your dressage scores?

In addition to hundreds of listen-while-you-ride audio lessons with top coaches, the Ride iQ mobile app also includes Dressage Test Ride Alongs (top coaches ride the test along with you and share tips and guidance along the way) and Dressage Test Read-Throughs (a reader calls out the test in the time it takes to ride it – great to help with memorization!).

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