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Additional Information for Learners


How to Get Experience as a Learner at a Competition:


  • Working as a Learner begins with asking and receiving specific permission directly from the official with whom you want to work.
  • The official must be an ADS official; preferably ADS Registered ("R") with only one learner per competition.
  • In addition to the official, you must also seek and receive personal permission from the competition organizer to be a learner at the competition. There is no requirement for a competition or official to accept a Learner.
  • You may not be a competitor, official, clinic attendee or a member of management at the same competition.
  • You are expected to be present and to observe the entire competition unless granted special permission by the official with whom you are working.
  • When picking competition locations, remember that officials must have experience in both large and small competitions and in two or more ADS regions.

Additional Training:

To meet other criteria, you may need to attend clinics or educational experiences outside the ADS. (For example, specialized training in pairs and multiples or emergency management training.) If you intend to seek credit for non-ADS events, you must receive approval from the ADS LOC prior to the event.

Conduct as a Learner:

As a Learner you are neither an Official nor a worker at shows. Rather you are a learning observer. You are expected to assist officials in their work, but you are not authorized to make rulings or express your opinion to anyone except the officials with whom you are training. You are required to be present whenever other officials are present and should be included when official activities are happening. You are expected to act like an official in every manner including dressing appropriately as an official and maintaining a professional relationship with the competitors. You are bound by the Official Ethics of the ADS which can be found at the end of the Licensed Officials section of the Rulebook as Appendix A.

Preparation as a Learner:

Bring a copy of the current ADS Rulebook and Omnibus listing for the competition and the supplies necessary to perform the duties of your position. For dressage competitions, the Learner is required to bring their own copies of the dressage test for each competitor in the competition. You should check with the official with whom you are working to ask if you need to supply your own scribe. Check with the competition manager for the correct tests and amounts. As a TD, you will need supplies like measuring equipment and stop watches. Check with your official prior to arrival for suggestions. As a Learner, you are always responsible for your own reservations and expenses - including meals, lodging and fees.

The Evaluation Process:

At the end of each Learner or recorded experience, you are expected to provide each official with whom you worked with a prepared evaluation form (available online or from the ADS office) that will be sent directly to the ADS by that official. It is customary to include a stamped envelope for delivery of your evaluation to the ADS. This evaluation is held by the ADS office until such time as you apply to upgrade your license. It is your responsibility to assure an evaluation has been sent to the ADS for each official experience because the ADS office has no prior knowledge of your experiences. If an official fails to return an evaluation, please ask the office for assistance to assure your evaluation has been received. If the evaluation is necessary to demonstrate a specific criterion - for example, course design - make sure to ask the official to include a specific statement about the criterion.


According to the ADS Rules for officials Article 132.7, all ADS officials are required to attend and complete a clinic once each three years. As a part of the clinic, you must take and pass a written test with a score of 85% or better. If you are unable to pass the test,you do NOT receive credit for the clinic and there is no opportunity to retake the test. You will be required to attend another clinic and test to meet the clinic requirement. You are encouraged to attend as many clinics and educational experiences as possible as an official. If you are seeking credit for a non-ADS clinic, you are required to seek prior approval from the LOC by request via the ADS office. You will need to provide information about the dates of the clinic, clinic presenters, and a clinic syllabus to the LOC.

Clinics before you are licensed:

ADS official clinics are not open to the general public. To assist in adding to the list of ADS officials, the LOC has granted interested ADS members the privilege of attending clinics prior to their application to become an ADS official. Clinic attendance does not guarantee acceptance as an ADS official as there are additional required criteria.

Further Promotions:

After promotion to become a recorded ("r") official, you may seek further promotion to become a Registered ("R") official by meeting the following criteria:

  • A defined number of experiences as a recorded official (with some reduction for higher-level competition experience) at both small and large ADS competitions in two or more ADS regions.
  • Specialized work as an official such as president of the jury, higher-level official experience, or specialized training.
  • Clinic attendance with successful completion of the required test.
  • Proof of listed specialized training or experience like dressage, pleasure clinics, scoring, or safety training for horses or people.
  • Specific experience with pairs and multiples as defined.
  • Meet the age requirements.


If you have questions, contact the ADS Licensed Officials Committee by sending an email to the ADS office or calling Abbie Trexler at 530.902.8065. It is not appropriate to inquire about your application with any members of the LOC, who must maintain confidentiality.

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Cross Plains, WI 53528, USA

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