Starting in your First Tournament

Which preparations have to be considered and which is the right exam for me? We give you a few tips for your first tournament - so that everything runs smoothly.

I. LPO, WBO, E, A, L - What is that?

The old year just passed with rockets and gunfire, soon the upcoming tournament season will start again. In March the time of the indoor tournaments begins, till April or May when the 'green season' is declared. Of course, this does not pose a great challenge for old hands in tournament sport: the horses have to be updated via the online portal of the FN "NeOn" and a new annual tournament license has to be applied for. But what if you want to sniff tournament air for the first time?

At first glance, the tournament Latin can seem quite daunting, but if you take a closer look at the abbreviations, much is self-explanatory. Basically, in the tournament sports between two divisions: First, the WBO, including all competitions according to the competition rules (WBO ) and the LPO, under this abbreviation the performance tests are summarized. If you want to start riding at tournaments, you should first compete in competitions with other riders. In the WBO one can find in addition to the classic tests also riding games or skill tests that have to be done with the horse. The first competitions are basically those of the leading reins class, the rider or showjumper competition. So you should consider in advance whether you would like to start with jumping or dressage. Since most entry-level competitions are age-restricted, older beginners can also take exams starting with class E, some of which are also offered as a competition. Starting in competitions offers a big advantage: your horse or pony does not have to be registered as a tournament horse and you do not need a tournament license either. So you have time to consider if you are interested in tournament sport.





It is basically divided into different age groups:

Juniors: You may not be older than 18 years old.

Young Riders: You are not older than 21 years old.

Rider: All riders starting from age 22 years.


II. How Do I Find The Right Exam?

For this question, it is especially important that you consult with your riding instructor. He/She can best judge how far you are and what you can expect. The respective information about the tournaments and the individual exams can usually be found in the magazine of your association (tournament invitation). For the Equestrian Sports Association of Westphalia, the association magazine is for example "Horses & Riders in Westphalia".

If you already have enough equestrian experience and would like to start directly in an exam of the LPO, there are also some specifications that you have to keep in mind:

First of all, you have to be a member of a riding club. Obligatory, you choose the club in which you are already riding or have your horse at. This proof will then be sent to the German National Equestrian Federation (FN) with your certificate of successful registration of the Riding Badge (see below) and the "Application for a Year Tournament License" form. You can easily download the documents on the FN homepage. Now you have to enter your horse as a tournament horse. For this, the application and the horse passport must be sent to the FN. Within the passport, it will be noted that your horse is applicable for tournaments. If you are a pony rider, you should also register your pony in the same way. For this, you need proof from an authorized person about the size of your pony. This offers the advantage, above all in jumping, where the distances between the jumps are adjusted, this is called "pony compensation". For information about the measuring officer near you, contact the FN or your association.

In order to take part in an exam of the LPO, you have to log in with your login info on the page of the FN 'NeOn' ( Here you can find all the tournaments and exams you can take part in. Make sure you're allowed to ride the exam. So check in advance by age group, association, horse age and performance class. In order to participate in competitions, you do not need a tournament license, nor does your horse need to be registered. The entries for competitions can be found on the internet. This form needs to be printed and sent to the tournament administrator, who is specified in the announcement.

III. What's Up With The Riding Badges?

Most tests of the LPO are divided into different performance classes. The performance class determines whether you are eligible to start an exam or not. The procedure of the performance classes is closely linked to the riding insignia:

The riding badges are divided into different ranks, where almost every equestrian discipline awards its own badge. Thus, in addition to the 'normal' riding badge, there is also the lunge badge, the driving badge or the Western riding badge.

Riding Badge Dressage and Jumping 





Taking a Theoretical Exam for all Badges (Oral or Written)



RA 1 - Dressage-Riding-Exam Class M Curb and Style Jumping Exam Class M

RA 2 - Dressage-Riding-Exam Class L Curb and Style Jumping Exam Class L 

RA 3 - Dressage-Riding-Exam Class L and Style Jumping Exam Class A ** 

RA 4 - Dressage-Riding-Exam Class A and Style Jumping Exam Class A 

RA 5 - Dressage-Riding-Exam Class E and Stilspringprüfung Class E 

Basic-Pass Horse Knowledge or RA 7 and RA 6

RA 6 – Dressage-Riding-Task in Accordance to Class E and Show-Jumping-Competition

RA 7 – Dressage-Task According to Instructions and Riding in a Light Seat

RA 8 – Division-Riding According to Instructions

RA 9 – Step, Trot, Gallop

RA 10 – Step, Trot

Starting with the riding badge 5 the exams can be taken also discipline-specific. Accordingly, instead of a dressage tester class E and a style competition class E, only a dressage tester class A would be completed for the RA 5. In addition to the practical exams, there is always a theoretical exam, measured by the required teaching content. The RA 4 and RA 5 must be taken in order to ascend in the performance class. All other performance classes are measured only on certain successes. For example, you do not automatically get the LK 5 by taking the RA 4, but you must have received at least a 6.0 in a jumping or dressage test in order to apply for an upgrade to the next performance class. The ideal entry point is provided by the basic pass horse knowledge, which is the base for the other riding insignias. The riding badges 10 - 6 are also referred to as motivational badge, to teach children about fair and horse-friendly handling, while having fun.

The badges can be received during seminars. Thus, almost every rural stud and larger horse farm offers the opportunity to do so. During this course, you will receive intensive dressage, jumping and theory lessons so that you are optimally prepared for the exam. What you need for your first tournament and the exam, you can read in our blog post "The Tournament Preparation".


This book offers you the best preparation for the exam.