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Rules of BDS Shows

Rules for tack and apparel

    • No martingales
    • No non permitted tack such as bell boots, polo wraps, splint boots, etc.
    • Jump saddles are OK
    • Rider must be neat and presentable, light colored pants are preferred.
    • Helmets must be worn. There is no exception to this rule.
    • Suitable footwear with a heel must be worn for safety reasons.
    • Spurs and a whip may also be used. Please see USEF regulations on these measurements.

For any issues or questions regarding tack and apparel, please contact us.


Rules for filming

    • Film from “C”, the judge’s position
    • Please step back a few feet from the ring so top of the rider to bottom tip of the horse’s feet are visible at all times
    • If necessary, include some zoom when rider is at “A” end of the arena
    • If filming on a smartphone, please film in the landscape orientation.

For the best quality video, here are directions for the camera person:

1. In landscape orientation, Place the camera directly centered at/ behind “C” 3 to 6 feet from the rail (for competition this is not possible but they are right next to the judge) stand on the lower step of a mounting block (this is the same height/ view as from of the stand the judges table is on). The horse must not be out of the camera frame at any time in the test.

2. Keep the camera centered on the horse on the centerlines.

3. Keep the horse in the LAST one third of the viewing screen in Landscape view (2/3 of the viewscreen in front of moving horse). This will allow the “judge” to see approximately two letters in front of the horse which is necessary for depth perception and line evaluation. In general, keep the horse’s feet in the bottom 1/3 of the viewfinder.

4. Zoom is ABSOLUTELY necessary. On a camera or iPhone/Droid (most have a capability of 10X) for the 20×60 ring zoom for the far end of the ring is generally 3.5 to 4 (horse to take up 1/3 of the viewfinder and must not exceed ½). Try to zoom only once on a movement (although it may be necessary to also reduce zoom in the same movement). For the small ring (20 x 40) zoom for the upper half or the ring generally tends to be 2 or 2.5.

5. Reduce Zoom back to 1x as the horse comes past X towards/near the “C” end. You will naturally have a moment of two where the horse passes directly in front of/and near the camera. It is not always a whole horse view but keep the camera moving with the horse. If the horse is required to perform a movement directly at “C” be sure to move the camera so the viewer sees the feet/steps and head/neck connection throughout the movement. This simulates what a judge actually sees when a horse is so close.

  • NOTE: Judge reserves the right to decline any video due to poor quality. Please review your video for clarity and appropriate lighting prior to submission. Whenever possible, it is best to provide video with natural lighting. A request for new video footage will be sent to the registrant’s email address. If you are unsure if your video has a good enough quality, please send us the link before your submission for a free video evaluation.

For any issues or questions regarding filming, please contact us.


Rules for arena

Dimensions for small dressage arenas should be 20X40 meters (or approximately 66 feet x 132 feet).

Dimensions for standard – or long – dressage arenas should be 20X60 meters (or approximately 66 feet x 197 feet).

Arena markers for the outer letters must be visible in the video.

It may be necessary to move the letters or display temporary ones if space or sun dictates it.

Your dressage arena does not need to be formal in order to compete with us. Feel free to mark the perimeter with poles on the ground, ropes, or anything else you may have. Letters can be marked on cones, drawn on paper and taped to buckets, or even painted on milk jugs!

For any issues or questions regarding arenas or size issues, please contact us.


General Rules

Acceptance: Making an entry for a BDS competition constitutes acceptance of the Rules and Terms & Conditions of Better Dressage Scores.

Copyright laws must be adhered to when submitting any video footage or photographs or printed material. Better Dressage Scores will not be liable for any costs incurred as a result of infringement of copyright laws by any competitor or 3rd party.

Honesty is the best policy. This site relies on the riders to be honest and follow standard schooling show rules. We want everyone to play fair and have fun!

For any issues or questions regarding rules, please contact us.

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