I am getting ready to move my horse up to the Prix St. Georges level. This winter, I had a chance to watch FEI tests in Florida and I saw there were several versions of the Prix St. Georges (PSG) test being ridden there. Are these classes available at all shows? What is the difference between the tests?
Grand Prix Ambitions
Congratulations on advancing to the PSG level. Prix St. Georges is the first of the FEI levels offered at any competition. What a good observation about the different PSG tests being competed in Florida. There are three options of tests at this level, but some of them come with eligibility restrictions and requirements. The tests you would have likely seen are the FEI Prix St Georges, the USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges, and the FEI Young Riders Team Test. Let’s look at these three versions.
The FEI Prix St. Georges test is open to all riders. The only requirement is the age of the horse, which is counted from January 1 of the year he was born, to January 1 of the current competition year. To be eligible to compete, the horse must be at least 7 years old, and there is no maximum age. This test comprises 26 scoring boxes, with only one final collective mark. Seven of these movements have a coefficient of two (worth double points): trot half passes, collected and extended walk, canter pirouettes, and the final collective. The FEI PSG test only requires one judge at C at a national show, but there can be two judges. The average riding time for this test is 5 minutes and 50 seconds. This test is offered at all national shows and you can also enter it as an FEI test-of-choice class.
The USEF Developing Horse Prix St Georges is another variant at this level. This test is open to all riders. The only requirement is that the horse must be between 7 and 9 years old. The test comprises 28 scoring boxes, with two final collective marks: the “Implementation of General Principles” and “Harmony of Presentation.” There are six scoring boxes that have coefficients of two; trot half passes, extended and collected walk, and canter pirouettes.
If your horse is eligible, you can enter this test at a national show where it is offered. If the test isn’t offered on the class list, you might be allowed to enter it in the USEF Test of Choice class. There is both a “practice” and a “final” option for this test. The practice test requires one judge at C, but two judges are possible. The final must have two judges. These divisions are designed to recognize developing athletes and equine talent. The average ride time for this test is 6 minutes 30 seconds. The USEF also offers a Developing test for the Intermediaire and Grand Prix, since these levels are also a part of the USEF Dressage Development program.
The FEI Young Riders Team Test is yet another variant of Prix St. Georges. This test division is only available to young riders. Riders must be between 16 and 21. The horse must also be at least 7 years old and there is no maximum age.
The FEI Young Riders Team test is the exact same test as the FEI PSG test. Young riders can also compete in the FEI Preliminary and FEI Individual tests. These tests have similar movements as those on the PSG test. They include between 24 and 27 scoring boxes. There are coefficients of two on the trot half passes, collected and extended walk, and canter pirouettes. There is only one final collective mark and the average time ranges from 4 minutes 45 seconds to 5 minutes 50 seconds. Young Rider classes may be offered at national shows and you can also enter them in an FEI test of choice class. It is possible to have one judge at C, but if you are going for a qualifying score, two judges are required. Whenever there are two or more judges, the average of both tests will be your final score and placing.
As you can see there can be many versions of the PSG test, although not all horses and riders will be eligible. The most common test you will see is the FEI Prix St. Georges test. You can enter this class as an open, junior/young rider, or amateur rider. Many times, if the class is large enough, prize-giving and placing will be divided by these groups.
So put on your tailcoat and a big smile and enjoy the first step of your journey in the FEI levels.