top of page
  • Writer's pictureCrystal Forsell

Dressage Levels Explained: Training Level

training level dressage

As written on the USDF tests the purpose of training level is: 

“To confirm that the horse demonstrates correct basics, by showing suppleness both laterally and longitudinally, moving freely forward in a clear rhythm with a steady tempo, and readily accepting contact with the bit.  Correct geometry and lines of travel should be shown.” 

At training level we are expecting to see a greater degree of suppleness, this means laterally with bend and longitudinally over the back.  Beginning to connect the horse from the hind engine to the bridle.

We also move to “readily accepting contact” with the bit.  We don’t need to see them “on the bit” yet and definitely in front of the vertical (as always).

Once again, there aren’t many movements in training level, so showing correct geometry is how you show bend, suppleness and submission (the horse on the aids, not a huge fan of that word, but that’s a subject for another day).

By training level 3, we have our longest stretch of canter yet, even cantering onto the diagonal line and trotting at X.  This movement challenges the horse’s balance, straightness and accuracy without a rail to guide them.

Training level also introduces the stretch circle at the trot to confirm that the horse is reaching nicely into the bridle.  A challenge for some horses here is also that they can lose balance onto the forehand and rush when asked to stretch down.

Need some help with exercises to get ready for training level?

Start your free trial at

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page