East-West Arena Construction Blog

Rules for Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) Arenas

Posted by East-West Arena Construction

Sep 3, 2014 12:00:00 PM

With its roots in the northeast and Mount Holyoke College, the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) began as an informal, student-run equestrian competition between riders from regional high schools and colleges. Since 2003, IDA competitions are only open to colleges with members from across the United States and Canada. Although the organization has grown, it retains both the spirit and many of the rules and procedures from its casual beginnings. At its heart, the IDA is about the love of the sport and bringing schools together for showmanship, camaraderie, and training through competition.

The Intercollegiate Dressage Association arena specifications for warm-up and competition are set up with safety and fairness for both horses and riders in mind. Warm-up areas in and around the show arena should be enclosed and large enough that up to four riders can work out their mounts, including horses they may be unfamiliar with. The warm-up field must be easily and safely accessible both to the saddling areas and the show arena. Team coaches and the event manager are required to work together to identify horses and riders that may need more workout time before the competition.


Caption: The Intercollegiate Dressage Association arena specifications for warm-up and competition are set up with safety and fairness for both horses and riders.


IDA rules strongly recommend show organizers provide a standard arena of 20 by 60 meters (approximately 66 by 197 feet) for dressage Training Level Tests 1, 2, and 3, as well as First Level. If a shorter arena is used, it must be clearly identified and all coaches notified before the competition. Prizes must also be annotated to note the shorter arena. Some skill tests recognized by national and international dressage organizations cannot be held in a shorter arena.

Introductory Tests A and B, as recognized by the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) can be held in an arena as small as 20 by 40 meters (approximately 66 by 131 feet.) Other USDF skill tests can use the smaller venue if notifications are made in advance. 

 Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) Arenas guidelines serve several purposes in dressage competitions. The first, and most important, is safety for horses, riders, judges, and spectators. The second is conformity to sport standards and fairness in prizes. Finally, IDA rules allow collegiate riders to train and compete in venues that prepare them for the world of adult dressage competition. Size isn't the only parameter that makes a dressage arena a safe place for competition. Contact us for information on how the right surface material ensures safe footing and adequate drainage in practice and competition equestrian arenas. 


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Topics: College Equestrian