Please read carefully, recognition criteria have been updated as of February 28, 2022. 

NOTE: The 2023 WDAA World Championship Show will require qualification.

There are two ways to qualify for the 2023 World Championship Show:

  • Show at the 2022 WDAA World Championship Show and earn a 60% or higher score at ANY test at ANY level.
  • Show in at least one 2023 WDAA Recognized show (including online shows) between January 1 and September 30, 2022 and earn a 60% or higher in ANY test at ANY level.

Questions? Please contact [email protected]


The criteria for WDAA Show Recognition provides the opportunity for all horses to be judged on a level playing field when they compete in western dressage classes. Exhibitors can also be assured that management and officials at these shows are competent and knowledgeable.

  • Participants in the WDAA Horse Lifetime Points and Awards Program (WHLPAP) can only earn points at WDAA Recognized shows. For all WHLPAP information, please visit **https://wdaalifetimepoints.org/**
  • A unique show identification number will be assigned by WDAA for all recognized shows and WDAA will provide an exclusive branded digital logo for advertising and promotion.
  • All WDAA recognized shows are posted on the WDAA Event Calendar. The location, name of show, and Show Recognition number are shown on the calendar with a blue background. All current WDAA recognized shows can be found HERE.
  • All WDAA Recognized Shows will be governed by the USEF WD Rule Book and must adhere to USEF WD rules for all tests and rail classes.
  • All WDAA Recognized Shows must comply with Safe Sport Sanctions by denying entrance to show grounds for anyone listed on the Safe Sport Sanction page https://www.usef.org/compete/resources-forms/rules-regulations/safe-sport-sanctions. Please see USEF General Rule 703 for details on the regulations of suspended persons.
  • Some rules for WDAA Recognized Shows licensed as USEF Lite supersede the USEF Lite rules. View the USEF/WDAA Competition Comparison Chart HERE


1.  To apply for WDAA Recognized Show status, we recommend submitting at least 30 days prior to the show start date to allow time for processing and promotion of the recognition status on the WDAA calendar.

2.  Individual applications and fees must be submitted for each individual show. 

3.  The online submission form is provided below on this page and provides for payment by PayPal or by check. Be aware that payment by check will delay receipt of the submission and approval of the show.

4.  The show must use current WDAA tests (available at www.westerndressageassociation.org). Please display test information in prize lists and websites as “WDAA Western Dressage tests”, not “USEF Western Dressage tests”.

5.  A designated person or USEF steward must check horse, tack, and attire of at least one-third of the horses in a class. Any horse must be eliminated from the test if a horse or any tack is in violation of the rules. An electronic copy of the EQUIPMENT GUIDE is provided to each show management.

6.  All WD tests and rail classes must be judged by USEF-licensed Western Dressage judges. Find USEF-licensed Western Dressage Judges in the WDAA directory or the USEF licensed officials page.

  •   USEF “r” Western Dressage judges are approved to judge Western Dressage Intro, Basic, and Level 1 tests and Western Dressage Suitability, Hack, and Equitation rail classes.
  •   USEF “R” Western Dressage judges are approved to judge all levels of Western Dressage tests and Western Dressage Suitability, Hack, and Equitation rail classes.
  •   Dressage Judges and L graduates are not eligible to judge WDAA recognized shows. 
  •   Any changes in judging assignment (before or during the show) must be sent to WDAA as soon as the change is known by the show manager.

7.   On show entry forms, please include fields for owner and rider WDAA membership numbers. These fields are not required, but will help us to compile program data.

8.  If your show is to be licensed by USEF, please do not submit the show for WDAA recognition until you have received approval and show number from USEF. 

9.  Canadian shows can be recognized by WDAA only if judged by USEF-licensed western dressage judges.

10.  Proof of insurance is NOT REQUIRED.

11.  WDAA retains the right of final approval for recognition of all events.

12.  Western dressage shows or divisions that are USEF-licensed Regular or Local shows require that all riders, owners, trainers, coaches, and lessees are WDAA members or pay a non-member show pass fee. The form for reporting members and non-members at the show is available HERE. Members may join WDAA at the show using a membership form to be provided at the show office. USEF Lite shows/divisions do NOT require WDAA membership.


Show results must be submitted in standard computer format (DAT, CSV, XLS, XML preferred; no pdf files please) within 14 days to [email protected].


Please take all guidelines into consideration when preparing your video test submission.

1. Use arenas that are as close to regulation size as possible and be sure letters are set appropriately to be easily viewed by the judge. Cones with large letters on them and poles on the ground to delineate the corners are acceptable and encouraged. For arena measurements, please visit this link: https://westerndressageassociation.org/western-dressage-arena/

a. Intro tests, Basic tests and Walk–Jog and Intermediate Horsemanship must use a 20 x 40-meter arena, or a 20 x 60-meter arena.

b. Level 1 tests through Level 5 tests and Advanced Horsemanship must use a 20 x 60-meter arena

c. All Freestyles are in a 20 x 60-meter arena

2. Videos of tests must be unedited from start to finish, including the equipment, attire, and bit check. They must be always one continuous recording with the horse and rider visible.

3. Videos must be filmed in LANDSCAPE orientation.

4. The test must be videoed from behind C, 3 to 6 feet from the rail, where the judge would normally be seated. Try adding a little height by standing on a mounting block, for example.

5. Prior to beginning the test, a sign must be held up showing the name of the show, WDAA show recognition #, date of the show, horse’s name, class # and test.

Remove the sign just before the ride begins. The videographer can hold the sign then move back to behind the camera or hold the sign in front of the camera at arm’s length while also holding the camera. The sign must be in focus, for the correct ride, and held in front of the camera long enough to be readable.

6. Keep the horse in frame, paying close attention to the near corners. You may zoom in on the far end and corners. Videos must be in focus. Keep the camera centered on the horse on the centerlines.

7. Make sure to keep the letters in the frame that are elements of the test being performed. Keep the horse in the LAST 1/3 of the viewing screen in landscape view (2/3 of the view screen 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.

8. Coaching during the test is not allowed EXCEPT for WDAA Exceptional Rider tests.

9. The natural background sound for the test must be audible. Tests with no sound at all will not be accepted. Freestyles must have music in the background but not digitally added to the video itself.

10. The test may be called (except for Freestyle).

11. The video may not be a ride from a previous show (online or live).


1. As soon as the test is finished, the camera must slowly circle the horse and rider showing all equipment and attire from both sides, including spurs and whip if used. The spurs must be shown for a count of three seconds. You do not need to spin the rowels.

If the videographer is unable to enter the arena, at G the rider may turn the horse slowly, wait five seconds, then turn slowly to show the second side, and wait an additional 5 seconds to complete filming of the equipment.

 2. Show the bridle on the horse, from both sides.

 3. After a view of both sides of the horse is shown the rider must dismount for the bridle check.

a. Exceptional riders are exempt from the bit dropping requirement and are not required to dismount. Participants should still abide by all USEF regulations pertaining to attire, tack, and equipment for the recognized show.

 4. Prior to dropping the bridle, show that two fingers can fit between the cavesson (if there is one) or bosal and the horse’s cheek, then drop the bit.

5. Hold the bridle still so the bit can clearly be seen, in frame, for a minimum count of five seconds.

6. Be sure to zoom in on the curb chain and bit.

7. If you are using a bosal, you must drop that as well. After you remove the bosal, show both sides of your horse’s face, unobstructed, as well as the bosal. Please demonstrate flexibility of the bosal.

8. A cavesson must be shown to the camera, both inside and out. Please demonstrate flexibility of the cavesson.

9. Prior to submitting your video, review the equipment check in detail to ensure that all of the above requirements have been met and that the equipment checks have a clear, focused, steady view of your tack.

10. You are responsible for knowing the correct rules for tack, attire, and equipment for Western Dressage. See USEF WD121-123 for additional information.

To be recognized by WDAA, online shows must meet the same criteria for recognition as do live shows. Refer to the Show Recognition web page: www.westerndressageassociation.org/show-recognition-information/

Online show hosts should provide this information to exhibitors and judges by sharing the link to this web page and in any other show materials.

For a printable version of online show rules, click HERE.


  1. USEF-licensed Shows Judged by USEF-licensed Western Dressage Judges earn double points for horses enrolled in WHLPAP.
  2. Test scores at the WDAA World Championship Show earn triple points for horses enrolled in WHLPAP.
  3. If a WDAA Recognized Show is double-judged by 2 USEF-licensed Western Dressage judges, only one score from one judge per ride can be submitted. You may pick the higher score of the two judges for each ride to submit.
  4. Submissions from these tests and rail classes described above will be doubled within the WDAA Horse Lifetime Points and Awards Program software
  5. In no circumstances may a horse earn more than double points for a single ride, except at the WDAA Western Dressage World Championship Show, where a single ride earns triple points.
  6. Scores earned at non-USEF–licensed WDAA Recognized Shows are not eligible for double points in the WDAA Lifetime Points and Awards Program.