Dressage and Western Dressage

AQHA dressage and western dressage competitors can earn year-end awards and points with their American Quarter Horses.

Lynn Palm and WTR Herestoyourhonor accept the awards for winning the dressage stakes at the 2020 Farnam AQHA and Adequan Select World Championship Show.

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About AQHA Dressage and Western Dressage

AQHA began recognizing dressage competition in 2010, and western dressage in 2020. 

Dressage emphasizes longevity by systematically developing the horse and rider to create a harmonious team. It encourages riders to take their time and develop correct horsemanship skills as they progress through each level of training.

The term “dressage” means “training.” As a discipline, dressage develops the horse through systematic and progressive training aids that are used by riders of all backgrounds.  Tests include a prescribed series of movements that sequentially follow a horse’s training level. Tests are the means by which horses and riders are judged in competition. Riders choose their level, and are allowed to move freely between levels as they choose. They receive a score as a percentage of the total possible points in the test.  

Eligibility Requirements


Western Dressage

  • Horse must be registered with AQHA.
  • Exhibitor must be a member of AQHA.
  • For AQHA-approved events at WDAA shows, horse and exhibitor must also comply with Western Dressage Association of America licensing.

Hosting a Dressage Show

Visit the Show Managers Resources page to find forms, including show applications.

Dressage may be offered at an AQHA-approved show or special event and must be judged by a USEF/USDF licensed judge. If held with a USEF/USDF licensed show, USDF will submit results to AQHA.

Western dressage may be offered at an AQHA-approved show or special event and must be judged by an AQHA-approved judge. USEF/WDAA “R” licensed judges with a current AQHA membership can be added to the AQHA-approved list by emailing judges@aqha.org. Western dressage show management is responsible for submitting results to AQHA.

Applications must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the event:

Once a show submitted and approved, it will appear on the AQHA show calendar

Finding a Show in Your Area 

  • Dressage may be offered at an AQHA show or special event and must be judged by a licensed USEF/USDF judge.   
  • Western dressage may be offered at an AQHA show or special event and must be judged by an approved USEF/WDAA/AQHA judge.
  • A USEF/USDF or WDAA show must be AQHA approved for a horse to earn AQHA points.
  • Find a show by browsing AQHA's upcoming events

Awards and Points

AQHA points earned in dressage and western dressage count towards Register of Merits, Superiors and other AQHA awards.

Points are based on percentage scoring, and the number of horses in a class does not determine points earned. Refer to the AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations for details.  


USDF All Breeds Awards Program

AQHA is proud to participate in the USDF All Breed Awards program. This program is designed to recognize the accomplishments of specific breeds in dressage; these awards are presented to horses declared for a participating registry/organization (PO) with USDF. While “Open” is the standard division and “Training through Grand Prix” are the standard levels for all-breeds recognition, optional division awards can be presented in the following categories: freestyle, adult amateur, junior/young rider, vintage cup, para-dressage rider of the year, USEF four-year-old, FEI five- and six-year-old, materiale, and dressage sport horse breeding.

Rules, requirements and eligibility can be found at https://www.usdf.org/awards/all-breeds/all-breeds.asp.