Dressage rules at Hobbyhorse Slovakia events developed by HOBBYHORSE COMMUNITY

If a rider is entered in a discipline with two hobbyhorses, only one of them will be judged, the one with the better ranking.


Brief explanation of critical points related to courses, types and other movements.



1.1 WALK

Walking resembles human walking. At least one foot is constantly touching the ground.

1.2 TROT

Trotting resembles human running. There must be a flight between each step (neither foot touches the ground).


The fastest of the three basic courses. The canter is performed on either the left or right leg depending on the lead leg (i.e. left canter = lead left leg). The rider and horse are expected to canter on the correct leg (left canter in left turns, right canter in right turns) unless specified that it is a counter canter where the canter is done on the other leg.


Course types are ways of performing certain courses; i.e. j. working, medium, extended.

  • Working – the natural way of riding a rider on a given course. The horse’s head must be in a position above the horizontal.
  • Medium – short and high strokes with the same or slightly slower tempo. The horse’s head must be elevated above the horizontal.
  • Extended – a long run that may include a slightly faster pace. The step is round and extended far forward. The horse’s head is close to the horizontal.


We also recommend you to watch video tutorials of basic dressage steps from KHT RENHET, which you can find on this page.


A pirouette that is performed in a combined canter. The horse’s head is raised high and points in the direction of the pirouette, while the rider remains straight. The ideal number of steps for a basic canter pirouette is 5-6, while a half canter pirouette should have 3 steps. The double pirouette in the canter should be done with 10 to 12 steps.

There are two different techniques for performing pirouettes in the canter:

  • Single line canter pirouette – the legs move in a single circular line behind each other, so that the rider passes an imaginary point behind his back.
  • Pirouette in a two-line canter / “with supporting leg” – the legs move in two lines like a horse and the rider circles an imaginary point behind their back. The leading leg moves in a larger circular line and the other leg (the supporting leg) moves in a smaller circular line close to the point around which the rider and horse turn.

It is up to the rider to decide what technique he wants to use in dressage to ride trot pirouettes. He can use only one type of pirouette in canter during one ride.


A counter canter is a targeted canter (right canter in left turns, left canter in right turns).


It is a change of lead leg in an air gallop with landing on the same leg and continuing on the new lead leg in the direction to be changed (e.g. change from a right gallop to a left gallop: jump with the right leg and land on the right leg and continue galloping on the left leg). The rider must also change the position of the horse’s head during the change and also reins in the new direction.

2.2.1. Change with one tempo – successive change of feet in flight without taking a single galloping step between them.

2.2.2. Tempo changes every second/third step – both rider and horse ride one/two canter strides between each change of flight.

2.2.3. Simple leg change in canter – no change in the air is made during this movement. A simple change of lead leg in the canter, should be done with three strides of walk or trot, then set off back to the canter with the new lead leg.


Haunches-in is ridden in such a way that both horse and rider are positioned sideways out of the lane, and then the horse is bent and pointed in the direction of the movement being performed. The gallop is ridden haunches-in clockwise. The legs should cross in every move, in the canter this happens in the air when the supporting leg momentarily crosses with the leading leg. Haunches-in and Half-passes are not run in a counter-current gallop.

  • Half-pass is a type of haunches-in that is ridden in a diagonal direction, for example across a long diagonal. In this style, the rider is slightly deflected to the opposite direction of movement, respectively. straight, while the horse is bent over and facing the direction of the movement being performed. This style is done in the same direction all the time unless otherwise stated in the rules.
  • The zig-zag half-pass is an extended type of half-pass in which the rider measures the direction of the half-pass after a certain number of steps. During the first series of strides the rider and horse move away from the longitudinal diagonal and during the last series of strides the rider approaches the longitudinal diagonal and changes direction in the middle, creating two small semicircles. If a rider crosses a diagonal line, the number of steps taken before and after the line must be equal. When galloping, the priority of the leg is changed by skipping. The number of required steps is indicated as follows e.g. 3-6-6-6-6-3, with the direction changing at the dashes – in this case 3 steps change, 6 steps change, 6 steps change….)


– the rider’s legs and the horse’s head are positioned and bent inwards away from the track. The rider’s outer shoulder is positioned slightly forward. The inside shoulder is not normally used when riding diagonally. It can be driven in any running mode.


– the rider’s legs and the horse’s head are positioned and bent to the side of the track. The inner shoulder of the rider is positioned slightly forward. It can be driven in any running mode.



– the horse and rider change direction in a 180-degree turn, with the horse’s head as the pivot point. The legs move in two paths and the horse is in a slight position in the direction of the change of curve.



– In the piaffe, one leg is lifted at a 90-degree angle from the knee to approximately the same height as the hips. The leg must then be straightened downwards. Each step has a distinct flight and the movement stays in place. The rhythm is slow and the horse’s position is centred. The legs must not come in front of each other or cross at any point in the stride from the frontal view.


– In a pirouette piaffe, the rider rides the piaffe around an imaginary point. The ideal number of steps is 7 to 8. The horse is positioned according to the direction of the turning pirouette, while the rider is completely straight. The ideal number of steps for a half pirouette is 4 and for a double pirouette 14-16.



– pirouette, which is performed in a medium gait. Legs should not be crossed. The horse is positioned in the direction of the turning pirouette while the rider remains straight. The ideal number of steps for one complete pirouette in walking is 4 – 5.



The rider holds the reins in both hands; with the outer hand he holds the staff and reins, with the inner hand only the reins. The hands should remain close together and should not move. When the direction of travel is changed, the reins are changed to match the new direction as unobtrusively as possible. Contact with the horse should always be steady, unless told otherwise (e.g. loose walking/ walking with long reins).



The rider’s stance should be straight or slightly tilted backwards without additional movements such as swinging from the shoulders.



Hobbyhorse must have a bridle. The type of bridle is at the rider’s discretion at levels Advanced B and below. From Advanced A level onwards, the bridle must have double reins. The reins must not be attached to the same point of the bridle: t. j. two bridles in the same bridle, but two bridles in the same bridle are allowed.

Auxiliary reins and other ornamental aids are prohibited at all levels to reduce the amount of unnecessary aids that could interfere with judging.

Earmuffs and leg wraps/bandages are allowed as long as they are adapted to the rider and horse and therefore will not interfere with the judging.

Neither the referee nor the competition organiser is obliged to warn the competitor in advance of any possible inconvenience or disqualification caused by the competitor’s equipment.

4.2. RIDER

Riders must wear shoes during the performance. Sports shoes are recommended with a non-slip finish in white. There are no other requirements as long as one is clothed. Appropriate, colour-coordinated, smart clothing is recommended; a jacket, rider’s headgear or socks are not compulsory. Dressage stick only in case of appropriate handling. Tuning with a horse and without advertising signs is recommended.

Neither the judge nor the competition organiser is obliged to warn the competitor in advance of any possible inconvenience or disqualification caused by the competitor’s presentation.


  • The competitor must enter and exit the arena through the marked ENTRANCE gate.
  • The performance begins and ends with a salute to the judge, at which the rider nods his head and/or lowers one hand from the reins.
  • The performance may begin when the judge greets the contestant with a nod of the head or verbally. The referee may start the start by sounding a signal such as a bell.
  • If a competitor forgets a task, he can ask the judge for advice and also for a decision from which task he can continue his performance.
  • Asking and taking advice from anyone other than the judge, or having the dressage procedure read to you during the performance is forbidden, unless specifically allowed in the discipline (this refers mainly to the possibility of reading the dressage procedure)
  • The judge is obliged to write a note (feedback) if he/she awards 5 or less points for the task.
  • The referee will fill in the scores for all the prescribed tasks and the overall score and calculate the overall score in %, and after the evaluation of the discipline will allow the competitors to consult the scores on request
  • The referee and the competition organiser may check the condition of the competitors before and after their performance.
  • The individual tasks and the method of their evaluation, the application of coefficients are in the judge’s evaluation sheet, which is published together with the rules for each dressage discipline.


  • The greeting at the beginning and/or at the end of the performance may be a bow and also in other ways
  • All free dressage programs have a time limit, which is published in the evaluation sheet. The performance shall begin and end with a salute, unless the competitor notifies the judge otherwise prior to the performance.
  • If the time limit is exceeded by 30 seconds or more, the performance is disqualified and the judge/organiser may stop the performance.
  • In the case of Dressage Pairs all types of gaits must be used – walk, trot, canter – it is up to the competitors how they incorporate these gaits into the programme.
  • In dressage pairs, the overall coordination of riders and horses is also evaluated



For 1st mistake – deduction of 2 points. For 2nd mistake – deduction of 4 points. The third error results in an exclusion.


  • Not entering or exiting through the arena gate
  • Disobedience, such as bucking or other movement that cannot be interpreted as dressage
  • Failure to make the required movement near the correct location or at all.
  • The rider goes the wrong way but returns to the correct lane within 10 seconds without stopping or asking the judge for advice.
  • Forgetting the route, t. j. stopping and thinking or not returning to the route within 10 seconds.
  • Exceeding the time limit by 15 seconds in freestyle.
  • Asking for or accepting advice from persons other than the judge (the only exception to this is if it is possible to read individual dressage steps if this is specified in the rules of the competition)



  • The rider receives penalty points for the third time (third fault).
  • Limping during dressage
  • Fall during dressage
  • The horse is not held between the rider’s legs
  • Horse or required equipment breaks during performance
  • The horse does not have a bridle or is using the wrong type of bridle
  • Use of auxiliary reins or other aids which impede assessment
  • Starting the performance without greeting the referee
  • Exceeding the time limit in a dressage or other free class by 30 seconds or more
  • Leaving the arena during the performance
  • Unsportsmanlike behaviour such as throwing horses or other objects, or being aggressive or bullying others. In repeated or very damaging cases, the referee or competition organiser may, at his/her discretion, refuse a competitor to compete in other events.

The referee shall announce or give an audible signal which shall be repeated three times as a signal of disqualification. In this case the rider must stop his performance immediately.


For dressage evaluation, pre-designed sheets (also in electronic form) are used, which contain a list of tasks or. prescribed groups of steps during dressage (usually in the order in which the dressage is performed) + a list of criteria for evaluating the overall impression of the dressage performed.

The judge assigns the competitor points in the range of 1 to 10 points for the performance of individual tasks respectively. prescribed groups of steps in dressage. 10 points is the maximum mark for an error-free performance of the task.

Selected tasks may include a coefficient – the coefficient is predetermined for the task and multiplies the total number of points earned for the task. (e.g. if the coefficient = 2, and the competitor scores 8 points for a given task, 16 points will be added for that task).

If a rider is entered in a discipline with two hobbyhorses, only one of them will be judged, the one with the better ranking.

If the conditions for awarding penalty points are met, the judge will enter them in the overall evaluation of the discipline. If the judge awards penalty points to the competitor for the third time, which means disqualification of the competitor or disqualifies the competitor directly – the competitor is obliged to stop performing dressage. Disqualified competitors do not have their total score calculated or appear on the results list.

At the end of the discipline, the judge will fill in the points for the criteria of the overall evaluation of the discipline. Again, it will award a score from 1 to 10 for each criterion. After completing the evaluation of all the prescribed tasks and the overall evaluation of the discipline, the judge will calculate the total number of points scored and also calculate the total score in % according to the following formula:

Total score in % = Total Points/Maximum Points*100%


The calculated result will be rounded to 3 decimal places for evaluation purposes.

The winner is the contestant with the highest overall % score. The order of the other competitors will be determined by the overall score in % descending order (from the highest value downwards). If two or more competitors have the same % score – the penalty points are taken into account. A competitor with fewer penalty points awarded is scored higher than a competitor with more penalty points. In the event that two or more competitors are in the same place after taking into account the penalty points, the judge will decide on the final ranking of these competitors after an overall evaluation of their performance.