North American Western Dressage

is pleased to announce that we have have worked with Andrew McLean, Ph.D, to develop an objective judging system for use with all NAWD and Dressage on a Dime tests in our virtual shows.

NAWD learned that Andrew McLean Ph.D. is working to enhance the existing judging system that uses the FEI training scale with the Principles of Learning Theory in Equitation (as outlined by the International Society of Equitation Science).

Dr. McLean has said that implementing an evidence-based scale will allow judging to become more accurate and fair. Because of the connection to the training scale, this judging system can be used in all equestrian sports. "The use of a more horse-aware judging criteria will ultimately improve the longevity of our equestrian partners", says Dr. McLean.

How many of us wonder how the judges determine what movement deserves what score? 

The judging system gives examples for every score category, giving the competitor solid answers to her questions. 

This system, coupled with our judges vast experience and their ability to leave detailed comments, is your best learning tool. 

The judging team at North American Western Dressage worked with Dr. McLean to further refine the system by using the same 0 to 10 scores and word meanings given in dressage.


 In addition, they tied these scores to the training scale and placed it in alignment with more detailed reasons for scores.

Leveling the playing field

  • NAWD Licensed judges use the NAWD Objective Judging System to judge NAWD and Dressage on a dime tests.  
  • The scale provides consistency and uniformity across NAWD Six Feet on the Ground & long-reining, Western Dressage, NAWD Dressage on a Dime, Ranch Horse, and NAWD All-Around Freestyle. We provide consistency by linking judging to the classical training scale. When combined with a solid understanding of equine movement and bio-mechanics, the training scale provides the foundation for all horsemanship activities.
  • Therefore, the NAWD system enhances the rider's education. The NAWD objective judging system does not replace the FEI judging program. Rather, it provides more detail for the rider regarding what they need to do to receive a score.  
  • USEF/USDF tests for and traditional dressage shall be judged based on the guidance provided by those organizations.