Youth squads & training

Dressage is all about training and BD Youth aims to give you the best possible start for a lifetime in the sport.

If you're looking to get involved with BD Youth, the best place to start is your region! If you're a parent/guardian to a keen rider inspired to give dressage a go, you can find out more about how young riders can get started with BD Youth by downloading our Parents' Guide. 


Already taking part in BD Youth and want to take the next step? If you're looking to find out how to progress through the BD Youth Pathway, and what opportunities might be available for you, take a look at the Performance Pathway and visit each area of our site to find out more.


Regional training

Each of our regions host loads of training sessions and social activities throughout the year that you can get involved with! Have lessons with national and local coaches, meet fellow young riders with a passion for dressage and have great fun progressing towards your training goals.

Regional training days are open to all ages of riders from as young as six to 25. Develop your skills both in and out of the saddle and train towards squad progression and BD Youth Horse Care success. Sessions and camps run during the school holidays and over weekends and include everything from test riding and training to unmounted workshops, DVD sessions and social activities.

Regional training sessions are organised by your BD Youth Representative or Regional Development Officer. Your BD Youth Rep will be the first point of contact within your region!


Regional squads

When you start your BD Youth training journey within your region, you can attend assessment and training days to be allocated to a BD Youth Regional Squad. Being awarded a squad opens up a whole bunch of opportunities for team competition, including the Home Nations and Inter Regionals.

A unique aspect of BD Youth squad competitions is the rider skills tests – these are used to monitor your progress and upgrade you through the squads and at team events throughout the year. Ride traditional movements but be assessed on your position, your skills and how much difference you’re making to the horse. Every rider has an equal chance to excel!


Squad Entry Age/Competition level
D Entry level for riders up to the end of the year of their 11th birthday
C Entry level for riders up the end of the year of their 14th birthday
C+ Entry level for riders aged 15+
B Rider skills tests with movements similar to Novice/Elementary
B+ Rider skills tests with movements similar to Elementary/Medium
A Rider skills tests with movements similar to Medium or specific Young Horse tests for horses aged 5 or 6

Riders are able to complete their squad assessment remotely, by submitting video evidence and taking part in an online discussion with a BD Youth Assessor Coach, or at an in-person assessment day where they receive a training session with a qualified BD Youth Coach. For more information contact your local Development Officer.



Squads and Horse Care 

The BD Horse Care programme is designed to help you as a rider learn all of the fundamentals in caring for horses. If you’re a BD Youth rider who is looking to be eligible to compete our regional teams, you’ll need to have begun working through the Horse Care online course.


BD Youth Coaches

BD Youth Coaches are specialist trainers who work with young people and can find different approaches that may be required to aid your progression and development. They also have an understanding of the BD Youth pathway, Youth Squads and Rider Skills Tests.

You can be assured that all coaches listed on our find a coach below have up-to date first aid and safeguarding certificates, DBS checks, public liability insurance and have agreed to abide by the code of conduct.


International Team Training
In order to be considered for international selection riders must meet selection criteria for their category. There have been updates made to the U21 pathway, see the report below for more information about test riding and international viewing. Find out more about our International Teams here.



As a BD Youth member you get 20% off your membership with us, if you are under 16 and have a parent/guardian/carer contact in place, the discount will be automatically applied on joining or renewal. To find out more about our membership options to suit your pathway use the link below.