The Equine Expert

By Tanja Schnuderl

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Besides the commonly known reasons to get eliminated at a Dressage show like “blood on the horse” or riding with a whip that is too long (the limit is 120cm or 47.2 inches for my non-metric friends), there are a couple of surprisingly easy ways to potentially get eliminate at a Dressage show. If you did not study the “fine print”, aka the USEF rulebook yet, here are five of the rather unknown reasons to potentially get yourself eliminated:

  1. Your test reader includes the instructions or reads movements more than once. (This is considered unauthorized assistance).
  2. Bandages or boots left on the horse’s legs during a test. (This is one of the 5 most common causes of elimination).
  3. Leaving the show ring in a manner not prescribed in the test. (“Leave arena at A in free walk“ is not a suggestion).
  4. Long-lining on the show grounds.
  5. Equipment breakage during a test, so that the rider can’t continue or is now unsafe. (Always check your tack during warm-up).

Reading the USEF rulebook is highly recommended, especially if you are new to horse competitions. For specific questions, you can always approach the Technical Delegate. Happy Showing!

Tanja Schnuderl is the Director of International Services with The Equine Expert LLC, a multi-discipline equine expert witness and consulting firm with expert equestrians offering legal expert witness and consulting services in court cases and legal matters. Tanja is an expert on Barn Management and Horse Behavior. She was the barn manager at several boarding facilities including a modern 20-stall boutique barn close to Washington DC and a private 8-stall training facility of a local FEI Dressage rider before taking over as Director of The South Carolina Equine Park, an established multi-discipline equine facility which hosts about 30 horse competitions each year. She has established her own equine appraisal company, Sigma Equine LLC. Tanja grew up in Germany and was a paralegal for many years. For more information on Tanja Schnuderl email,

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