Beginning with the Table of Contents, there are five sections to the guide. The sections dealing with USDF Awards and Championships are not very useful to me at this stage in my dressage career, but the rest is actually quite interesting.
- USDF Information and Membership Information: not to hard to understand. This section explains the various types of memberships and educational programs offered by USDF.
- USDF Awards: I am not eligible for any of these yet, and right now, I don't care about national recognition. I might never care, but I still like to educate myself. The one award that does appeal to me is the Rider Awards, and page twenty-two of the guide explains how to earn your Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medals. That is definitely something worth working for.
- Dressage Tests: now we're talking! I have a page (here) with all of the USDF tests available for download, but the Member Guide has all of the tests, Introductory A through the FEI tests. And they're listed in order. What a handy reference.
- Glossary of Judging Terms: This may well be the most helpful part of the Member Guide. The terms begin with Abduct: to move a limb away from the horse's midline and finishes nine pages later with Working (Trot or Canter): A Pace in which the horse goes forward energetically but calmly, with a length of stride between that of the collected and medium paces. The degree of uphill balance required is less than in the collected pace. The Member Guide then goes on to list foreign terms and their translations. Losgelassenheit anyone? How about Schwung? Included in this section is also the Pyramid of Training and an explanation of each term on the pyramid.
- Arena Set-Up: These two pages have very clear illustrations of both a standard and short arena. The first picture shows the correct measurements for the distances between letters (5m for each quarter line, 6m to the first letters, and 12m between the rest of the letters on the standard arena). There's also an illustration that shows the diagonal measurements: 44.72m for the short arena and 63.25m for the standard arena. The last picture shows how to achieve a true right angle at the corners. I am going to be using this picture during my Thanksgiving break. I don't think my short arena has very square corners.