Western Dressage Judges Education

Western Dressage Judges Education

The WDAA Judges Education Program is open to auditors and all that are interested in earning a USEF Western Dressage judging license. This program offers training to judge applicants and provides them with the tools necessary to accurately evaluate horse and rider combinations, score the tests, and provide comments with confidence. Extra-curricular activities such as reviewing the online seminar, scribing, reading the USEF rule book, commentary development, and sideline practice judging are highly encouraged. Trends show that the more work you put into the program prior to attending, the higher the candidate success rate.  You must be an active USEF and WDAA member to begin the process.

Judge Applicants:
Although WDAA provides the training, judging licenses are issued from USEF.  PRIOR TO any seminar attendance, apprenticing, testing, and officiating, you MUST start a USEF Western Dressage checklist and complete all requirements in the order provided.  Failure to create a checklist with USEF will result in those activities not being counted towards the license.

Full instructions can be found on the USEF website: https://www.usef.org/compete/resources-forms/licensed-officials/become-licensed

Any questions should be directed to the Licensed Officials Department through the following email address: [email protected]

Learn More About Judges Guidelines Here


1) IN PERSON SEMINAR (Open to auditors)



The next WDAA/USEF Western Dressage Judges Seminar will be held February 9-11, 2024
Location:  Embassy Suites by Hilton Denver International Airport. 
Address: 7001 Yampa Street, Denver, Colorado.
Use this link for the WDAA group rates. https://www.hilton.com/en/book/reservation/deeplink/?ctyhocn=DENIAES&groupCode=CESWDA&arrivaldate=2024-02-06&departuredate=2024-02-14&cid=OM,WW,HILTONLINK,EN,DirectLink&fromId=HILTONLINKDIRECT

This clinic will start at 8 AM on Friday and conclude at 3 PM on Sunday for ALL PARTICIPANTS.
Applicants and current judges are required to attend all 3 days.
Silent auditors are welcome!





ONLINE JUDGES SEMINAR (open to auditors)


An online seminar will be available for current USEF licensed Western Dressage judges to meet their 2024 seminar attendance requirement. It will be a shortened version of the in-person seminar and is expected to be available in March, 2024.  This seminar will also available to anyone who is interested in learning more about what judges are looking for in the Western Dressage partnership between horse and rider.

Sign Up for the Online Seminar Here





2024 Judge Education Training with Group Apprentice Judging (open to auditors if space allows)


This program is offered at the WDAA World Show and is geared towards additional education for judge applicants, but also provides a venue for apprentice judging & applicant evaluations.  

Date:  September 18 – 22, 2024
Location:  Lazy E Arena, 9600 Lazy E Dr, Guthrie, OK 73044

Registration is limited to 20 apprentices.
Small r judge applicants must attend all 5 days.
Large R judge applicants must attend Days 1-4.

Daily Schedule:














Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Teaching Modules

Judging Rail and Horsemanship Classes

Musical Freestyle

Gaited Horses



Apprentice Tests


Test 1

Test 2

Test 3

Test 4


Small and Large R Judge Applicants

Small and Large R Judge Applicants

Small and Large R Judge Applicants

Small and Large R Judge Applicants

Small "r" Judge Applicants


Apprentice Evaluation Forms for each applicant will be submitted to USEF.

Cindy Butler, WDAA President and R Judge
Joanne Coy, Judge's Education Committee Chair and R Judge


  • You must bring your own scribe; a scribe cannot be provided for you.
  • Registration is limited to 20 apprentices.
  • You must have attended a WDAA/USEF Western Dressage Judges Seminar within the last 3 years.
  • Lunch will be provided for both you and your scribe.

Recommended Course Study Prior to Attending this Apprenticeship
People who do extra study and preparation tend to do better on their evaluations.  We recommended that you do the following prior to attending.

  • Take the 2024 Online Judge’s Education Seminar.  Sign Up for the Online Seminar
  • Scribe for local shows
  • Study the USEF Rule Book


Applicants for "r": All five days of the show are required.

  • All printed tests for use during judging.
  • Sideline judging, group, and individual discussion and instruction.
  • Instruction on the use of proper terminology; the apprentice group will learn how to work with scribes and develop remarks that are easily written by the scribe.
  • An introduction to construction of understandable and helpful educational comments for exhibitors.
  • Practice judging for the collectives and musical freestyle
  • Practice in completing test score sheets which will be reviewed by the clinicians directing the program.
  • Observation and judging of gaited horses to learn consistency of gaits related to Western Dressage.

Fee $900.00

Applicants for Large R promotion:

  • All the above is included, with the exception of Day 5.

Fee $620.00 

Sign Up for the 2024 Judge Education Training with Group Apprentice Judging


WDAA will administer the Judge's Video Evaluations for all applicants who are testing for their “r” or going for their “R” promotion.

  • Please email Gail Matheus at [email protected] once you are qualified to complete the final requirement for your USEF Western Dressage judge licensing application.