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Volunteer at YDF


Volunteers Needed!

 D4K needs you to volunteer at the Youth Dressage Festival, August 11-13, 2017!  Our many dedicated Volunteers make YDF possible.  There are many things to help with that require varying amounts of time.  Whether you have a few hours or a full day or more your help will be welcomed and appreciated.  Depending on your volunteer time, we provide perks including lodging and thank you gifts.  View our volunteer job descriptions to find the job that suits you.  In addition to the jobs described, we also need help at the Volunteer Booth, with organizing awards and in the D4K Store.  We look forward to hearing from you.  Thank you for your interest in Dressage for Kids.

Please contact Volunteer Coordinators:
Bonnie Stetson at
Sorrel Stetson at

Dressage Test Scribes

Information taken from USDF website

Attributes of a Good Scribe:

  • Prompt:  arrives at the competition at least 30 minutes before scheduled start of ring.
  • Prepared:  Brings gear for foul weather, pads for hard seats and a few pens just in case.
  • Properly dressed:  Avoids shorts and floppy hats.  Is comfortable but always neat
  • Peaceful:  (that is silent) Limits conversation with judge to a friendly greeting and small talk during breaks.  The scribe does not make any remarks about a horse or rider in the competition.  The judge must concentrate, so there must be no chatter during rides.
  • Discreet:  Must not repeat the judge’s oral or written comments


Judges depend upon the scribe to quickly, accurately, legibly, and quietly record the scores and comments made for each movement. Judges are grateful for the volunteer help and should be willing to answer any questions a scribe might have with respect to the job of scribing.


Familiarize yourself with basic dressage terms and how to spell them. Study the commonly used abbreviations listed. When asked to scribe, the individual should inquire with show management about which tests they will be assigned to scribe and study each of the tests before the show.  Never accept a position to scribe for a judge that you will compete in front of later in the competition.


  • The scribe should arrive at least one-half hour early and check in with show management. Dress in neat, comfortable sportswear and be prepared for predicted weather conditions. The volunteer coordinator will indicate the arena and judge to which the scribe has been assigned.
  • Ask the volunteer coordinator about the judging materials for that ring: score sheets, pen, and updated day sheets. You may need to carry these materials out to the arena.  These are many times in a plastic box.  Also ask about the location of the restrooms.
  • Once at the judge’s box, the scribe should organize the work area and check for all proper materials:
    • Several ink pens (including a red pen for noting errors).
    • Day sheets to follow the order of go with an updated list of scratches and additions.
    • Bell or whistle and a watch set to official show time.
    • Stopwatch to time freestyles, entry into the arena, or ongoing resistance.
    • The CORRECT packet of tests for the judge and arena assigned.
    • Check the order of tests, against the order of go, and make sure any additional horses have been assigned tests. There should be blank tests in the packet available for this purpose. If the tests are not in the order of go, a ride may be scribed on the wrong test and great confusion will result.
    • Make sure that the tests in the packet match the tests scheduled in the day sheets.
    • Anchor down all loose items (papers, cups, tissue, etc.) with a heavy object (horse shoe) so that nothing blows or rustles in a sudden gust of wind.

When the judge arrives, introduce yourself, and take the time to ask any questions. Some judges will take this opportunity before the first class to give the scribe an idea of how comments and scores will be given. Let the judge know that you have checked the items discussed above. Be sure the judge is allowed time to get settled, look at the program and review the first test to be judged. Ask on which side the judge would prefer you to sit. Some judges may want to be seated exactly at the letter. Others will accommodate where you are seated depending if you are left or right handed.


As each horse warms up by working around the arena before the ride begins, the scribe must check the horse’s number to ensure it is the same number marked on the test and day sheet. Be sure to write the competition number you see on the bridle tag in the box in the upper right hand corner of the test. This is the only way to assure that the horse competing is the same as the one on the test sheet. The judge will instruct you if you may ask the rider for the competition number if it is not readily visible or the judge is occupied in finishing the previous test.

  • If the numbers do not match, alert the judge to the problem and attempt to identify the horse and rider who have presented themselves. Quickly find the right score sheet for that horse, if available.
  • Always write the scores and comments in PEN. Pencils may not be used. Use a RED pen when recording errors.
  • Judges will tell the scribe how the test is to be scored. Many judges specify that they comment first and then score. Some judges do the opposite. Be certain to clarify which method the judge prefers to use.
  • Be certain to write down EXACTLY what the judge says. Scribes may not paraphrase. It is important to convey precisely what the judge’s comments are so the rider can understand the scores. Also, ask if the judge will allow abbreviations. Some do not.
  • The judge may check to be sure that the correct movement is being scored. If the judge asks “are you on movement # 3?”, either respond in the affirmative or tell which movement you are writing. This will allow the judge to adjust and provide the proper comment and score for the movement. Corrections can be made on the spot or addressed at the end of the test.
  •  If a ride scratches (cancels) or just does not show up, write “scratch” or “no show” on the score sheet (on the label, if there is one) and turn it in to the runner with the other score sheets. This way the scorer will not hold up the posting of class results.
  • After the ride is complete, make sure that there is a score in every box and each test is signed by the judge before it is sent to the scorer. Any change of a score on the test should be initialed by the judge.
  • Check off each horse on the day sheet as it completes the test. Keep an eye on the scheduled time, and if the judge requests it, inform the judge whenever the show is running behind by more than a few minutes.
  • As the day progresses, the scribe should check for scheduled breaks and possible moves from arena to arena. Check the program and the packet of tests to determine if the packet moves with the judge or stays with a particular arena.
  • If the runner has not picked up all the tests, the scribe is responsible for delivering the tests to the scorer during a break between classes, at lunch, or at the end of the day. Never leave completed tests in the judge’s box unattended.

Conversations Between Judge and Scribe

  • It is the judge’s responsibility to judge the test. It is not appropriate for the scribe to comment on the judge’s decision, nor to question that decision. It is what the judge sees that matters, so if a judge does not see a mistake, do not comment. In addition, any comments (written or verbal) made by the judge while in the judge’s box are strictly between the judge and the rider. Never carry these conversations outside the judge’s box. Never volunteer information about competitors or their horses, even if asked by the judge.
  • Wait for the judge to set the tone as to whether conversation will be encouraged between rides or on breaks. Most judges will initiate some small talk, but some need time to review tests or just clear their minds. While it is tempting for the scribe to ask questions about their own riding or a particular horse problem, don’t do it!

Watching the Test

  • Scribing takes concentration to accurately record the scores and comments. It is not possible for a scribe to watch the test in its entirety while recording the scores and comments.

The Scoring Process

  • The scribe must quickly and legibly record only the comments the judge makes, without adding or deleting anything. All judges have their own style for giving comments and scores on a ride. Some judges give so many comments that the scribe may have difficulty keeping up. In this case, the scribe should be sure to record the score as soon as it is given, and then continue with the comments.
  • A scribe that is new to the job may confirm the movement number occasionally with the judge. Most judges will not mind helping scribes in this way. In the event that a judge omits a score, the scribe can again confirm the movement number with the judge and allow him to deal with the omission at the time or at the end of the test.


  • The judge’s scores will range from 0 to 10, with a 10 being the maximum (best) score that can be awarded for any one movement. To more heavily emphasize a movement, some are “weighted” with a coefficient of two (2). The scribe need not worry about coefficients. All multiplication will be handled later by the scorers.
  • Remember that the scores are made in half-points. This means that all scores must have a decimal written with either .5 or .0 (eg. 6.5 or 6.0). This is a requirement per USEF Rules.
  • Scores are written in the first column of boxes on the test sheet. The second column is for coefficients, which are pre-printed on the test, and the third column is for the total points earned on each movement. Totals are left for the scorer to fill out; the scribe is only responsible for one column: POINTS.
  • FEI tests have two columns for scores. The first box is for the initial score, and the second box is for a corrected score, if it is necessary.
  • Collective marks at the end of each test and a few more general comments may be dictated to the scribe or written by the judge.
  • If a score has to be changed, be sure to put a line through the old score and add the new one beside it. Be sure that the judge initials the change.


  • Each time an error is indicated by the judge, write ERROR in LARGE LETTERS in red pen over the typed text on the left. At the end of the test, remind the judge if there are errors on the test so that they may be carried down to the bottom of the test correctly. It is the Judge’s responsibility, not the scribe’s or the scorer’s, to record these errors and total them in the space after “Further Remarks”.


Test sheets for Freestyle, Young Horses, and Rider Tests differ from standard test sheets. The judge will instruct you on how he/she wants you to record comments and scores.

  • Freestyle test sheets have marks for the required movements and marks for the artistic impression. For ease of finding the correct boxes, it is a good idea to emphasize the separation between walk movements, trot movements, and canter movements with a line. Some boxes are dotted to distinguish right and left. Mark them accordingly. The required movements may be ridden in any order, and may be repeated. The judge will give a mark each time a required movement is ridden, so the scribe needs to put small numbers in the designated box to allow space for all the numbers. At the completion of the ride, the judge will either dictate or record the final marks and the artistic side of the test sheet.
  • Young Horse Tests and Rider tests are recorded differently as well. Each individual movement is not judged. Instead there are categories to be judged. The judge may instruct the scribe to put comments under specific boxes, and at the end determine the scores.

Suggested Abbreviations

A – dressage letter “A”

@-  at

ang – angle

∟ – angle

attn – attention

bal –  balance

b/f, b/4 – before

b/h ,beh – behind

bend – bending

btr – better

↑ bit – above bit

betw – between

C – dressage letter “C”

cad – cadence

cant – canter

cntr, c-line – centerline

CL – centerline

O – circle

coll – collected, collection

connect – connection

crkd – crooked

Dpt – depart

diag – diagonal

disob – disobedience

eng – engage, engagement

NRG – energy

Ext – extended

ext  -extension

flex – flexed, flexion

f/hand, 4hd – forehand

forw, FW – forward

gd – good

1/2 – pass half pass

hau – haunches

h-in – haunches in

hd tlt – head tilt

h/leg – hindlegs

immob – immobile

impul – impulsion

inattn – inattention

inconsist – inconsistent

ins-  inside

irreg – irregular

lks – lacks

lack imp – lacks impulsion

lat – lateral

L – left

l – left

<  – less

>  – more

ltr – letter

LF – left front

lg – large

LH – left hind

not – not square

outs – outside

pir – pirouette

poll ↓ – poll low

poll ↑ – poll high

pos  -position

reg  – regular

res  – resistance

resist  – resistance

R  – right

rhy  –  rhythm

RH  – right hind

rush –  rushed

satis  – satisfactory

serp –  serpentine

sh/in, sh-in  – shoulder in

sl, slt – slightly

sm  – small

str –  straight

sq –  square

stead  – steady

stead  – steadier

TO  – tongue out

thru  – through

trans  – transition

tr  – trot

tu ha  – turn on haunches

t/o hau  – turn on haunches

tu for  – turn on forehand

t/o fore  – turn on forehand

unstd hd  – unsteady head

vert  – vertical

v –  very

wv  – weaving

w/  – with

wr  – wrong

tran ↑  – up transition

tran ↓  – down transition

X  – dressage letter “X”

Equitation Ring Masters

The primary responsibility of the Equitation Ring Master is to be the “voice” for the judge.  When the judge wishes to have the competitors change gaits, directions, movements or perform individual tests, she/he will instruct you and you will loudly and clearly announce (megaphones are provided) to the compeetitors, for example, “Walk, please all Walk”.  If there is more than one judge, they will decide, or ask thtem to decide, who is going to provide the rider commands and you will then stay closer to him/her.

You may want to ask the judge how they would like things done at the beginning of your shift, so they will  not need to take the class time to explaing what they mean or expect during the class. [It is helpful to watch a class or two prior to your shift, if possible.]

In addition to being the voice of the judge, you should at the beginning of each equitation group verify with the scribe the number of entries in the class and that all entries are present.  Competitors may not enter after the class has begun.  The ring steward, if one is available, may inform you if a rider is missing.  You should pass this information onto the scribe so they know when the class is complete and ready to go.  It is not your responsibility to look for the competitor, and doing so will cause delays.

When announcing with the megaphone or your lowd voice, it is suggested you turn around as you repeat the command so all competitors behiind you can hear.  BE LOUD, BE CLEAR, BE CONCISE.

If you see a dangerous situation, i.e., a horse out of control, fallen competitor, you may need to bring the class to a walk for safety, especially if the judge’s attention is elsewhere.

The Process

  1. Do whatever the judge(s) ask you to do!  Start the class on time!  It is unfair to other competitors to hold a class for a late arrival.
  2. Confirm with the ring steward, if available, that all competitors are present for the class.  If no ring steward is present, verify with the class list of the scribe.
  3. Remind all those outside the ring watching that any coaching while horses and competitors are in the area results in elimination of their horse and rider.
  4. Call Commands based on what the judge(s) request for movements.
  5. Call riders and horses to the center while judges confer on scores.
  6. Excuse the riders
  7. Enjoy the day!

Be familiar with the Equitation and Dressage Terms

Change of rein across the diagonal, the designated lead rider should turn after the short end of the ring and continue on a diagonal track to the opposite corner and change directions.  Designate the Bridle Number to begin.  For example, you would announce beginning with #101, change rein across the diagonal.

Rising Trot, when the rider rises up from the saddle and then sits down.  This is also known as posting to the trot.  If the judge instructs you to announce trot, verify if they wish the rising or sitting trot.

Sitting Trot, the rider’s seat stays in the saddle

Short end of the ring, the narrower sides of the arena, rectangle

Long Sides, the long sides of the ring, rectangle

Rein-back, asking the horse to halt then step backwards.  Ask the judge if they wish a stated number of steps to be taken.

Lengthen or Extended Trot, a longer stride in the trot.

Individual Pattern, a judge may ask each competitor to complete a pattern, while the others watch, then complete the same pattern one at a time.

Equitation Ring Stewards

The primary responsibility of the Equitation Ring Steward is to verify the equitation class is on-deck and immediately ready to enter the equitation ring when the equitation ring master or judge calls for the next class.

At the start of the show, the equitation ring steward will be given a clipboard, pen, ruler, walkie talkie, day sheets with the class listing, times and competitors in your ring by the volunteer coordinator.  [Note: each competitor only rides one equitation class.  If they have entered in more than one division, they will ride in the highest level class.  If they are not sure, they need to verify at the show office.  For example, if entered in training level and first level, the competitor will ride in the first level equitation class only.  This information can be verified on the day sheets by the secretary’s office.]

Riders should not enter the on-deck warm-up area until the class before theirs has entered the competition ring.  This is approximately 20 minutes prior to the start of their class.  Prior to this time, warm–up is available in the main warm-up ring.

As competitors enter your on-deck warm-up area, check their bridle numbers off with a check mark next to their competitor number on your day sheet.  When the Equitation Ring Master or Judge calls the class into the competition ring, cross the division off on your sheet.  Inform the Equitation Ring Master or Equitation Scribe if your are missing a competitor, have a no-show, or have any new scratches.

If you are missing a competitor, if possible prior to the start of the class, notify the main warm-up ring steward to see if they have the rider.  If the missing rider is not located, notify the ring master when the previous division is done.  If you have time and are feeling generous, on your walkie-talkie if you have one, you may check the main warm-up area to see if the missing rider is there, but it is not your responsibility to “round up the riders”.  It is the riders’ responsibility to know their ride times, ring, etc.

The Equitation Rings are, #EQ1, #EQ2, #EQ3 and are shown on the showgrounds map.

Please return all supplies at the end of the day to the volunteer coordinator.

Equitation Test Scribes

The primary responsibility of the Equitation Test Scribe is to record the judge’s comments and scores on the equitation score sheet.  Unlike dressage ring scribes, however, you will be given general comments about each competitor and no specific tests.

At the start of the day, you will be given a judge/scribe bin for your ring, equitation sheets on a clipboard, ruler, pens and class sheets.  You must have a copy of the day sheet for your ring to know which class is next, its level and which competitors you are expecting.

You will be given blank judges’ sheets, which should have a pre-printed label.  If not, enter the class name and class # on the top left hand corner in the space provided on a blank sheet provided at the back of the stack.

You will be assigned a ring and a judge to work with.  If a judge goes on break, verify that you are not required to assist the new judge entering the ring.

Each judge may work a bit differently, so it is helpful if yu ask your judge if they have a preference for the recording of movements.

You may wish to enter the bridle numbers on your score sheet prior to that class entering the ring and then place a check mark next to the number as they enter.  Be sure to draw a line through any scratches.  In any case, veriify that you have all the riders on your day sheet. 

Enter comments from judges and the final score form the judge in the appropriate box for that rider.

Equitation Rings are #EQ1, #EQ2, #EQ3 and are shown on the showgrounds map.

If you are the scribe for the ring at the end of the day, please return the bin with materials to the volunteer coordinator.

Warm-Up Ring Stewards

The primary responsibility of the Warm-Up Ring Steward is to keep track of all competitors when they enter and exit your warm-up arena.  Your other main purpose is to be able to answer questions as needed.  Check your supply bin for an extra program and map.  That way, competitors, parents, trainers, spectators, and grooms can locate the information, or you can direct them to the day sheets in front of the secretary’s office.


You have the most difficult ring to track as riders do not have to warm-up in the main warm-up area, although most do.  If there are open, unused ring areas, you may find competitors migrating there to warm-up.  Nevertheless, your task is to try to know what horses are in your area in case a competition ring steward is looking for one.

At the start of the day, check in with the volunteer coordinator 60 minutes before the show is scheduled to begin

You will be given a clipboard, pen, ruler, clock, program, map, and day sheets.  If one is available, you will be given a walkie-talkie.

You will be given several sheets of the Order of Go, one or more for each ring.  [The Dressage Sheets and Equitation Rings]

If possible, on the appropriate sheet, place a check mark next to the riders’ numbers as they enter the warm-up area.

When the competitor leaves the ring, draw a line through their number and name.

If the competitor is going to compete in the Equitation Class, instruct them to go to the on-deck area 20 minutes prior to their class, to continue their warm-up there.  Riders should warm-up in the main warm-up area until they are on deck [the next group to go], at which point they should proceed to the equitation ring’s on -deck area.  Again this is approximately 20 minutes prior to their stated ride time.

Dressage test competitors should remain in the main warm-up area until approx. 10-15 minutes before their ride time [2-3 rides], then proceed to their dressage ring’s warm-up area.  For Rings 1, 2, 3, they will go under the bridge where they will find a small warm-up area.  For Rings 4 and 5, they will go out the main pathway to a small warm-up area across from Rings 4 and 5 behind the announcer’s stand.

Do not drive yourself crazy chasing horses and numbers; it is the competitor’s responsibility to be in the appropriate ring at the correct time.

It is helpful to read the YDF prize list rules in order to be familiar with the specifics of the show.  At LYDF one rule is that jackets are not mandatory.  Another is that it is the rider’s (not the steward’s) responsibility to ensure that the rider enters the ring on time.

Score boards are generally located outside the secrtetary’s office, sometimes under a tent.  The scoreboards have the day sheets and the final scores posted.

Ribbons and class tests can be picked up at the awards table.

How to Be a Dressage Ring Steward at LYDF

The primary responsibility of the Ring Steward is to make sure that the competitors go in on time and in the correct order.

At the start of the day the Ring Steward should have “Order of Go” sheets (also called “Day Sheets”).  You will receive this list along with supplies at the Volunteer Booth upon check in.  Whenever you leave your post, please be sure to return all supplies to the Volunteer Booth.

The “Order of Go” sheets will have the competitor’s name, horse’s name, bridle number and time of go.  If any scratches are known at this time, they will be noted on the “Order of Go” sheets as well.

The ring steward should track which riders are on-deck or are in the warm-up ring.  At LYDF, we require the competitors to be at the arena, know who the rider is in front of them, their own ride time, their own ring number and the dressage test they will be riding.  All this information is available on the day sheets in front of the secretary’s office, if a rider requests that information.  It is very helpful to tell the next person who is next to go, that he or she is on-deck.

The process should be as follows:

  1. At the start of the day, confirm your Ring Sign is correct, Ring #, and if the judge will be using a bell or whistle, etc.  Please introduce yourself to the judge and check they have the bell or whistle in their bin.
  2. Instruct the rider it is their turn to go.
  3. If a walkie-talkie is available, radio to the announcer the competitor # and name.  For example, Ring #3, #101, Jones entering ring.
  4. Note on your list a competitor’s completion of test by placing a line through the # and name.
  5. If a competitor scratches or is a no-show, note it appropriately on the sheet.
  6. Instruct the next rider, after the final salute of the rider in the ring,  that they are okay to go. [Return to Step #1.]

Dressage Ring Steward Notes at LYDF Specific to Lendon’s Show at HITS

It is helpful if you read the YDF prize list and rules, concerning the competitors’ responsibilities etc. to familiarize yourself with the specifics of the show [for example, jackets are not mandatory].

During the day the ring steward will be asked several questions from riders, spectators and many others;

  • What time is my ride?
  • How much more time do I have?
  • Who is the rider before me?
  • Where can I stand to call, read test? [Test Readers are allowed for Prix Caprilli and Dressage Trail classes only!  No readers are allowed for regular Dressage classes at LYDF]

The Ring Steward’s job is to get the horses in the ring, in order, on time for the judge.  You are not there to answer everyone’s questions [although we do not want anyone to be rude, we cannot have you getting overwhelmed and not being able to do your designated and very important job].  Kindly suggest they check their program or check the day sheets by the secretary’s office.

Day sheets are posted outside the secretary’s office, generally on a score board if anyone is looking for information.

Generally a ring steward is assigned to each ring.  However, you may be asked to ring steward multiple rings, if they are in close proximity.  Rings 1, 2, 3 are generally in the “Grand Prix” arena [the ring under and past the bridge]. Rings 4 and 5 are located across the main path behind the announcer’s stand.  If only one ring is set up, the final warm-up area is to the left of the competition ring, if two rings are set up, the warm-up is conducted in the main warm-up arena near the tree [only tree around].

The number of horses in the final on-deck warm-up area for rings 1, 2, 3 should be limited to 2-3 for safety.  Initial warm-up should be elsewhere on the show grounds.  The final warm-up areas are for the on-deck riders.

At times it will be hard to encourage and limit the horses and riders from entering the warm-up, on-deck area to about 2 horses ahead of them – stress safety.  This number of riders equals about 10-15 minutes before their ride time.  This should ensure that you have only 6 horses in the on deck warm-up at one time.  Suggest early arrivals warm-up in the main warm-up ring, across from the secretary’s office, near the big tree.

Spectators should stay against the stone walls or up on the hill surrounding the Grand Prix ring.

If the area under the bridge becomes congested, politely ask spectators to relocate from that area, in order to allow horses access to the rings.  Also politely suggest that golf carts not be parked by the entrance.

Be careful of the bees living in the stone walls.  Bee spray is available at the volunteer booth.

If you have questions, please ask or send a note with the test runners!