Standing Rules of the  

New Mexico Dressage Association

(Est. May 7, 2008, restated and approved by the Board of Directors: March 14, 2018)

(Dates in text indicate date of change)



The Standing Rules of the Association, a formal record of NMDA policies and procedures, shall be established and approved by the Board of Directors to specify the policies, procedures, and rules by which the business of the Association shall be conducted. The Standing Rules derive their authority from the Bylaws.  Whenever a conflict exists between the Standing Rules and the Bylaws, the Bylaws shall be the prevailing authority.  

Changes or additions to the Standing Rules require approval by the simple majority of a quorum (as specified in Bylaws Article V, 1, E) of the Board of Directors.  These changes or additions shall be published on the website at the direction of the Secretary or President in a timely manner after approval. (Bylaws Article IX, 2)


Part 1 – Association Policies and Procedures


I. Membership Obligation and Information

Each Member is strongly encouraged to contribute to the success of NMDA by serving as an Officer, Board Member, Committee Chair or Member, volunteering at an NMDA-sponsored activity, or performing other service to the Association. (Bylaws Article III)

A.  Membership Classifications and Associated Dues:  these classifications are for payment of membership dues only. (11/8/17)

1.Primary Adult Member (22 years of age and over) - $45 

2.Primary Youth Member (21 years and under) - $25 [considered “Youth” until the end of the calendar year in which they turn 21]

3.Additional Family Member(s) (spouse/partner and/or children living at the same address) - $15 each

4.Business Member (business entities receive one Primary Adult membership and additional Business benefits noted below) - $100

B.  Membership Benefits:

1.Each Membership Class listed above receives the following benefits: all NMDA benefits, one USDF GM membership, and one test booklet for each paid Primary Adult, Youth or Business membership.

2.Business Members also receive:  One business card-sized ad, a logo, and a link on the NMDA website for the membership year; and the Business Member’s monthly events included in the Association email blasts, if requested. (3/2/15)

C.  Miscellaneous Information:

1.Memberships received after October 1 will be sent to USDF for the next membership year starting on December 1st. (8/9/11)  NMDA discounts and benefits will be honored from the date of membership. (10/11/11) 

3.The NMDA Membership contact information will not be released to outside parties, except on a case-by-case basis as determined by the Board of Directors. (4/11/07) (11/8/17)

II. Board-Approved Actions:

A.   Fees:

1.  A rental fee will be charged for use of the NMDA arena, trailer, tent, table and chairs for non-NMDA events: $100 for rental with a refundable $250 damage deposit. (3/3/15) The $250 damage deposit check will be held until the arena is returned. If there is no damage, the check will be either returned or destroyed. (7/14/16)

2.  Bank-returned (11/817) checks: NMDA may charge $25 for each returned check.  (1/18/05)

3.  Advertising clinics: any NMDA Member putting on a clinic may have a calendar listing and link on the NMDA website. Non-members pay a $50 fee. (1/7/16)

4.  Business ads (for one calendar year) are free to Business Members, $50 to Members and $75 to Non-members for one year (with the exception of clinic calendar listings and links, see above). (3/14/18)

5.  Classified ads are free to Members, non-members $45. (1/10/18 & 3/14/18)

6.  Schooling Show Class and Entry fees - $10 office, $20 class, $10 group class, $20 Non-member fee.

7.  Non-competing Horses: All horses brought to the show grounds must be entered in the show, or pay a $10 fee (11/8/17) plus the $10 office fee.

8.  Trainers, who are Members, can post information on the website for free.

B.   Expenses:

1.  "Customary and Usual” Expenses:  

a.   The Board may approve periodically, the Association’s “customary and usual” expenses (including, but not necessarily limited to, the amounts to be paid to show judges, venues, and incidentals like purchase of dressage tests, ribbons, office supplies) to be paid by the Treasurer without further approvals being provided on an individual basis for Board-approved events.  Expenses for educational activities (e.g. clinics), and other costs substantively over the Board-approved “customary and usual" expenses (greater than

50% over) must have separate Board approval prior to the event. (Bylaws Article V, 2, D)

b.   If any expenses are above the approved expenses listed below, or are not listed below, Board approval is necessary for reimbursement of expenses. (6/8/16)

2.  NMDA Board-Approved Schooling Show Expenses:

Venue fee 

up to $300/show day, if higher needs Board approval (should include at least one disking/watering of arena, office with electric, restrooms and PA use, if available)

L Graduate judge fee 

$150/show day [for up to 8 hours (includes 30-minute lunch and 10-minute breaks every 2 hours), plus $20/hr for over 8 hours]

USDF “r” judge and higher  

varies, if higher than $150 needs approval by Board, every effort should be made to cover costs.

Judge’s mileage

$0.35/mile RT (if judge asks for reimbursement), if over $200 needs Board approval

Lunches for judge/volunteers

up to $75/show day (depending on show size), if higher needs Board approval


 up to $100/show, if higher needs Board approval

Water & ice   

up to $20/show


up to $10/show

Port-a-john (if needed)  


Other expenses   

need Board approval prior to expenditures

3.  NMDA Clinic and Other Educational Activity Expenses:

Clinician fee, lodging, travel/mileage expenses, venue fee (should include at least one disking/watering of arena, office with electric, restrooms and PA use, if available), audio system and/or port-a-potty rentals (if not included with venue), and any other expenses associated with the activity must be approved by the Board prior to the event.  The activity coordinator shall prepare an activity budget, and submit this budget to the Board for approval

1. Annual Year-End Banquet Expenses - all the following expenses need prior Board approval:

a.   venue;                                      

b.   catering;                                    

c.   Championship ribbons;                      

d.   Awards; and                             

e.   raffle items purchase.                         

5. Miscellaneous Association Expenses - it is recognized that all the miscellaneous expenses below are necessary, but can vary widely for numerous reasons.  As such, these types of expenses will be approved by the Board on an individual basis:

a.   USDF test booklets; 

b.   test copying;                             

c.   ribbons/bridle numbers;      

d.   office supplies/copying;      

e.   Post Office box/postage; and                                     

f.    Member mtg/elections expenses.     

6.  Schooling Show Prizes - maximum $100 per show, if more is requested it must be approved by the Board at a regularly scheduled Board mtg, well in advance of the expenditure. (9/7/10)

7.  Additional Expense policies:

a.   Expense reimbursement with original receipts only. (5/11/16)

b.   Neither the President nor the Treasurer can write checks to themselves to cover expenses. (5/11/16)

III.  Binding Contracts and Miscellaneous Financial Items:

A.  Use NMDA Board-approved contracts when possible when engaging clinicians, facilities/venues, judges and other service providers contracted for NMDA activities.

B.  President and Treasurer must co-sign all binding contracts/obligations.

C.  Any service provider expected to receive >$600 from NMDA per calendar year must complete a W-9 form.

D. Hold all original Schooling Show/clinic documentation until all income/expenses have been cleared and reconciled with monthly bank statement.

IV.  Additional Detailed Description of Committee Chairs and Advisory/Liaison Groups - this complements and elaborates on some of the Committee Chair and Liaison descriptions in the Bylaws (Articles VII and VIII):

A.  Membership Chair:  maintains an accurate record of the current membership of the Association and electronically reports to USDF monthly or as often as necessary per USDF guidelines and provides contact lists as needed to conduct NMDA business.  Note: The first NMDA membership list must be either submitted to USDF electronically or postmarked before December 1st.  Matching USDF dues must also be postmarked by December 1st for the next year’s group members. (3/3/15)  (11/8/17)

B.  Schooling Show Managers:  plan and manage individual Schooling Show to avoid conflicts (with other dressage shows/clinics); give name of venue/contact/date to the Treasurer for insurance purposes in early January; find and instruct show secretary; orders ribbons and tests in bulk (schooling show tests can be copied); and keeps track of Association show equipment (arena trailer, set-up kit, office equipment, table(s), chairs, canopy, etc.). Makes sure the premiums and rules are correct and current, and published on the website in a timely manner. There is an easy to follow “Instruction Book” available. Some experience as a Schooling Show manager is helpful, but not necessary.


V.  Clinics and Other Educational Activities   

A.General - educational activities could include, but not necessarily limited to, clinics - both mounted and unmounted “how to" clinics (e.g. show “turnout”, braiding), educational lectures and/or updates on important equine topics (e.g. proper nutrition, veterinary care, farriery, saddle-fitting), and educational training focused on show management, scribing, stewarding, how to become an "L Graduate” judge, etc.  NMDA will endeavor to offer at least one clinic per year.

B.Education Fund Mini-Grants: Education Funds can be used to encourage participation in NMDA educational opportunities, and are derived from donations received throughout the year, and raffle proceeds from the Annual Year-End Awards Banquet. (8/10/16).   

1.General Mini-Grant Information:

a.Mini-grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, and the Board may determine Education Fund availability and to which NMDA-sponsored educational activities the grant may be applied.

b.Volunteer hours and grant monies are non-transferrable to others.

c.Calendar year total grant amount per applicant is $75.

d.Mini-grants are good for two years and expire at the end of the second calendar year after the date the grants were awarded. 

e.Board Members may not use hours from board-related efforts/tasks as volunteer hours.

2.Mini-grant application requirements:

a. applicant must document their interest in furthering their knowledge/education of dressage;

b. applicant must meet and verify the required volunteer hours: 

  8+  verified hours of volunteer work to receive a $25 grant

  16+ verified hours of volunteer work to receive a $50 grant

  32+ verified hours of volunteer work to receive a $75 grant; and 

c.applicant must disclose relationship, if any, to Board Directors.

Part 2 – Schooling Show and Awards Policies, Procedures and Rules  


I.  NMDA Schooling Shows

A. General Show Policies

1.Show judges must be “L” graduates or USEF licensed judges.

1.Show management reserves the right to: 

a.cancel, rearrange, and/or change classes or officials; 

b.refuse any exhibitor for cause, have any horse removed from the grounds for cause, and/or return any entry fee and eliminate the exhibitor for cause, all without being liable for damages or compensation; and 

c.allow or disallow competitors around or in show arenas prior to or during competition.

3.Show Cancellation - if a show manager is considering canceling or postponing a show for reasons other than weather or insufficient entries (fewer than 20 tests at show closing), he/she must notify the Board, ideally a week before the show. (6/14/11) (11/8/17)

4.Show Prizes - awarding Schooling Show Hi-Point Awards/Ribbons are up to the discretion of each Schooling Show manager. (9/7/10) 

4.Dogs are not welcome on show grounds.  However, if dogs must be brought to the show, they must be on a leash, no longer than 6 feet, at all times and attached to a human for the safety of all concerned.  No exceptions.

5.Manure and other waste must be picked up from the parking area before leaving the show grounds.

6.It is appreciated if show participants stay to help pick up the competition arena(s). (1/7/16)

B. Show Entry Requirements and Information:

1.Entries will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.  In general, 50 rides is considered a full show - but final decision regarding number of rides per show is at show management’s discretion. (1/7/16) 

2.Schooling Show Opening and Closing dates are determined by show management.  Shows are open as soon as the show information is posted on the NMDA website. Entries must be postmarked or received electronically no later than Closing date. (1/7/16) 

3.Entries must be entirely filled out, signed and full payment of fees must accompany the entry form. No phone or fax entries will be accepted. A class entry will be presumed to be an Open class unless specifically marked otherwise.

4.For the purpose of schooling show entries, riders may be classified as Juniors (JR) until the end of the calendar year they turn 18; thereafter, they may compete as Adult Amateurs (A/A) (19 and over) or Open competitors. (1/7/16, 4/13/16, & (11/8/17)

5.A rider may not enter Open and Adult Amateur at the same Schooling Show. (5/7/08)  

6.Non-member fees: A fee will be charged for each non-member rider and owner for each horse/rider combination

Entry Form submitted.  Non-member Junior riders and horse owners may waive the non-member fee for their first NMDA Schooling Show. (3/8/16)

7.No horse may be shown in more than three tests per day with the exception of one additional group class. (1/7/16)

8.A horse may not be ridden in more than two adjoining levels. (For example: USDF Introductory Level tests A, B and C are one level below Training Level). (1/7/16)

9.A horse may not be ridden more than once in the same class unless the second ride is ridden

     Hors de Concours (“out of competition”). (1/7/16)

(Note: Open, A/A and JR are different classes.)  (A rider can not show in different divisions at  same show. (see # 5. Above.)

10.Payment: If entries are mailed or hand delivered, checks must be made payable to NMDA.

  Checks returned for non-payment may incur a fee of $25.  Only entries electronically submitted

    may be paid with credit card. (1/7/16)

 11.Ride times will be posted on the NMDA website approximately three (3) days before the show. (1/7/16)

12.Group classes (e.g. Equitation, Suitability) may be entered at the show – time permitting.

13.Substitutions: Substitution of rider, horse, or times will be made only at the discretion of show


14.Refunds and Scratches: Full refunds will be made if withdrawals are received prior to the

    Closing Date. (1/7/16)

15.Non-competing Horses: All horses brought to the show grounds must be entered in the

 show or pay a $10 (11/8/17) fee plus the $10 office fee and a liability form signed. The horse will be issued a number which must be worn while on the show grounds. This rule applies to all horses brought to the show for any reason.   (1/7/16)


C. Schooling Show Rules:

1.Shows will be run in accordance with the following USEF rules:  (updated 2/14/18)

                                    DR101 thru DR118 – Gaits and Movements

                           DR119 – Participation in Dressage Competitions – Exception to DR119.3: Riders may                   compete in NMDA Schooling Shows as Adults when they reach the age of 19, and

                           Exception to DR119.7:  The Manager and Secretary can compete at their own

                           Competition. (5/7/08)

                           DR120 – Dress – Exception: Informal dress is allowed, neatness is requested (no

                           Tank tops, inappropriate t-shirts.) Half chaps are allowed at any level. Coats are not

                           required. (5/7/08)

                           DR121 – Saddlery & Equipment – Exception: Colored saddle pads are allowed. Bits,

                           Bridles, and saddles MUST adhere to USEF rules. Checking tack and attire is

                           optional. Correct equipment and attire is the responsibility of the competitor.

                           DR122 – Execution & Judging of Tests

                           DR123 – Scoring, Classification & Prize-Giving – Except as stated below (# 11.)

                           DR124 – Elimination

                           DR132 – Suitable to Become a Dressage Horse

                           DR133 – Dressage Seat Equitation

2.  Event tests will be judged by USEF-Event Division rules. (2/14/18)  

3.  Western Dressage tests will be judged by the USEF Western Dressage Division rules with

      the following highlights:

a.    Horses shown in Western tack must enter/ride the Western Dressage Association of America (WDAA) tests (5/14/13)

b.    Helmets must be worn whenever mounted. (5/14/13) This is the only exception

to USEF/ WD rules.

c.    Gaited horses are allowed in Western Dressage, substitute “Saddle Gait” for “Jog.”

Gaited horses will be put in separate classes (see USEF-WD129). (Gaited horses are severely penalized in Classical & Event classes.) (2/14/18)

d.    WD riders may use voice and patting during a test.  (2/14/18)

e.    May carry a regulation dressage whip (no longer than 47.2 inches. (2/14/18)

f.     A regulation snaffle, Western curb bit or Bosal is allowed at any age – any level. Mechanical hackamores are not allowed. (2/14/18)

g.    With a snaffle must ride with 2 hands, with a leverage bit may ride with 2 hands or one hand but cannot switch during a test. (2/14/18)

4.All disciplines have the following exceptions and guidelines.

              a. All riders, regardless of discipline, must wear a regulation HELMET and riding boots

                  or paddock shoes with a distinguishable heel, while mounted. (5/7/08)

b.Judges are allowed to talk with exhibitors – judge to initiate the conversation.


c.  Judges are allowed to judge their students or horses that they have bought or sold.



5.Tack may be checked before or after entry into the arena, or in the warm-up at the discretion of the gate keeper or show management.

6.Schooling, riding or lunging is permitted only in designated areas.

7.A horse on the show grounds (including non-competing horses) must wear its assigned number at all times except when in its stall or trailer. If two numbers are provided, numbers must be visible on both sides of the horse. (1/7/16)

8. Show management reserves the right to refuse any exhibitor for cause; to have any horse removed from the grounds for cause; to return any entry fee and eliminate the exhibitor for cause; all without being liable for damages or compensation. (5/7/08)

9.Tests will not be released until a class is completely scored and posted. No test will be released to anyone other than the rider or the rider’s representative. Riders are urged to check their tests for errors before leaving the show grounds.

10.The Show Manager has final say in all disagreements regarding a particular show. In some cases the Board of Directors will be consulted on a decision. USEF rules dominate where possible. (2/14/18)  

11. Ribbons: In A/A and Open classes of only one entry (both Classical and Western Dressage classes), a first place ribbon will be given only if the rider has a score equal to or greater than USDF Qualifying Scores (see table below).  A/A and Open classes of 2 or more entries and all Junior classes will receive the usual place ribbons.


NMDA Minimum Qualifying Scores (as of 2016; to be used in 2017 and beyond)


Adult Amateur


Intro* - (Classical and WD)



Training Level/WD Basic*



First Level/WD Level 1*



Second Level/WD Level 2*



Third Level/WD Level 3*



Fourth Level/WD Level 4*



FEI (all classes)



*Minimum percentages assumed by NMDA, as no USDF Qualifying Scores available for Introductory Classical and all Western Dressage tests.




II. NMDA Year-End Awards

A.  General Award Information:     

1.NMDA offers Year-End Awards, champion and reserve champion for both Classical and Western Dressage by level as detailed below, for NMDA schooling shows. (3/8/17) (11/8/17)

a.An NMDA Member may be eligible for a Year-End Schooling Show Award(s) if she/he submits a minimum of three (3) scores per level from three (3) different NMDA-sponsored activities, and three (3) different judges during the current year. (3/8/17)

b. Competitors are allowed to substitute one score of the three from a non-NMDA dressage show in New Mexico. (1/10/18) 

c. All eligible scores that are submitted must be from NMDA Schooling shows and/or NMDA

   Ride Re-Ride clinics. (3/8/17)

d. At least two (2) scores must be from the highest test of the level of each horse/rider combination. The eligible scores are averaged for determination of Year-End Awards. (3/8/17) 

e. Awards are available for Introductory through Fourth level (Classical) and Introductory through Level 3 Western Dressage, in the three (3) divisions of Junior, Adult Amateur and Open, with the following exception - no Awards for Introductory level (either Classical or Western) in the Open division. (3/8/17)

f. Eligibility requirements include a minimum of four (4) documented volunteer hours during the year. (3/8/17) (12/13/17)

2. The Competition year is December 1 to November 30.

3. The owner and rider of the horse ridden must be NMDA Members at the time the scores are earned.

4. For the purposes of NMDA Year-End Awards: Junior is 18 and under; Adult Amateur is 19 and over. (4/13/16)

5. The final average score must be 55% or higher to receive an award.  (1/17/14)

6. Year-End Awards are announced and presented at the Annual Awards Banquet. (3/8/17)

B.  Specific Award Information: 

1. Each Member must complete and submit the following to the Awards Coordinator (postmarked by November 15th of the competition year) to be eligible for a NMDA Year-End Schooling Show Award(s): (3/8/17)  

a. Year-End Schooling Show Awards Reporting Form (form available on the NMDA website);

b. Volunteer Hours Reporting Form (form available on the NMDA website); and 

c. A copy of the dressage test cover sheets (with the judge's signature) of each of the three (3) scores per level submitted. (3/8/17)

2. A horse/rider combination can only win one division at a level in a year (example: a horse/rider combination cannot win both Training Level Adult Amateur and Training Level Open Championship or Reserve in the same year). Different horse/rider combinations can win at the same level.

3. Beginning with the 2015 show season: Once a horse/rider combination has won a Year-End Championship at a particular level, that same combination may not receive a Year-End Award at that level again (regardless of division). (7/8/14)

4.Memorial Traveling Trophy:  Each year, at the Year-End Awards Banquet a perpetual trophy will be awarded to the highest scored First Level A/A rider, in memory of Sue Ann Kirkby, who passed away July 2, 2010. (7/13/10)

5.NMDA Year-End Junior Equitation Award - award requirements for highest placed Junior in Equitation classes (1/7/16):

a. JR rider and owner of the horse must be Members at the time of the show; 

b.JR rider must place in a minimum of three (3) Junior Equitation group classes at NMDA Schooling Shows; and 

d. JR rider’s three (3) highest percent scores from b. above are averaged. The JR rider with the highest percent score wins the Year-End Award.  (1/7/16) 

6.Ride Re-Ride Clinics:  In a “Ride Re-Ride” clinic, the rider performs a dressage test, then the judge/clinician instructs the rider for a period of time, then the same test is ridden/judged again. The first “Ride” test of a “set” may count towards Year-End Awards, but not the “re-ridden” test. (1/7/16)