What to Know About Consecutive Levels and How They Relate to Competition & Awards

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Illustration by Elizabeth Hendrix was an entry in 2018 USDF Arts Contest.

When it comes to preparing for dressage competition and vying for standing in award and championship programs, competitors and owners have more than their fair share of rules and regulations to be aware of and remember. One area that seems to cause some continued confusion is the definition of ‘consecutive levels’ and how that applies to both competition and Adequan®/USDF Year-End Award standings.

USEF Rules

The first and most important thing to remember when thinking of consecutive dressage levels is that they are defined by US Equestrian within the USEF Rulebook USEF DR119.2. The full rule and equivalencies can be found at the link, but here is a preview of the consecutive level chart contained within.

Intro         
Tr.Tr.        
 1st1st       
  2nd2nd      
   3rd3rd     
    4th4th    
     PSG & Devel PSGPSG & Devel PSG   
      Int. 1Int. 1  
       Int. A&BInt. A&B 
        Int II & Devel GPInt II & Devel GP
         GP

FEI Levels

One of the most frequently confused consecutive levels seems to be in the FEI Levels. As can be seen in the chart above, Intermediate I and Intermediate II are NOT consecutive levels. As outlined, Intermediate A&B are consecutive to Intermediate I and Intermediate II & Developing Grand Prix are consecutive to Intermediate A&B.

Year-End Awards Program

The following USDF consecutive level rules apply to USDF Year-End Awards Programs only.

Awards for the Horse: A horse may appear in the Adequan®/USDF year-end awards preliminary standings at a maximum of two consecutive levels within the same competition year.  If a horse meets the criteria to be ranked in the final USDF year-end awards standings in more than two levels in the same competition year, the horse will only be ranked at the highest level, and if qualified, the next level consecutive to that highest level.

Awards for the Rider: A horse/rider combination may appear in the Adequan®/USDF year-end awards preliminary standings at a maximum of two consecutive levels within the same competition year.  If a horse/rider combination meets the criteria to be ranked in the final USDF year-end awards standings in more than two levels in the same competition year, the horse/rider combination will only be ranked at the highest level, and if qualified, the next level consecutive to that highest level.

Preliminary Standings

After October 15 each year, and prior to the year-end award standings being finalized, all preliminary standings will be reviewed to identify any horses and/or horse/rider combinations that appear in the preliminary standings at more than one level. Any that are found to be in violation of the consecutive level rule will be removed from the standings as dictated by the consecutive level rule above (‘will only be ranked at the highest level, and if qualified, the next level consecutive to the highest level’). Therefore, it is possible for a horse and/or horse/rider combination to appear in the preliminary standings at non-consecutive levels, prior to this review and the finalizing of the standings.

Questions?

Still have questions? Please reference the USEF Rulebook or contact US Equestrian for any rule specific questions. For any Adequan®/USDF Year-End Award or program information, contact the USDF Competitions Department at awards@usdf.org.

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