How to Provide Successful Musical Accompaniment for Your Freestyle

In the past few weeks of dressage competitions (on both coasts), I have run into problems with people providing CDs for their freestyles with different formats “burned” onto them - MP3, WAV, WMA, etc. In 2011, there was an USEF rule instituted that required riders to provide a CD with an MP3 format. The MP3 format requirement actually caused a great deal of trouble for show management. Thus, the rule has now been overturned so dressage riders should submit their music recorded as WAV and WMA files - the ‘normal’ format. Many competitions that have PA systems for freestyles do not have the capability to play the MP3 format and older CD players do not play or recognize the MP3 format. Even though you may be able to play it in your truck (most current vehicle DC players support the MP3 format), many PA system CD players cannot play music in the MP3 format! Pass this along to all freestyle dressage riders you know. Thanks, see you on the centerline!

“To Do” List for Your Musical Freestyle Test

  • Music is mandatory.
  • Submit a compact disc (CD) to competition management no later than two (2) hours prior to the start of the class.
  • Your music should be saved in either WAV or WMA format. Please do not submit your music in MP3 format!

DR 129.6 (Musical Freestyle Ride: Music)
a. Music is mandatory. It is the responsibility of the competitor to select the appropriate music
for the ride and present to competition management a compact disc (CD) recording, to be
given to the announcer at least two (2) hours prior to the start of the class.
b. The rider may request a sound check of his CD in advance of the class at a time agreeable
to competition management.
c. Each rider will be permitted one representative in the sound system booth to supervise the handling of the CD if so desired by the competitor.
d. In case of rider’s music failing during a Freestyle Test and in cases where there is no backup system, the rider can, with permission of the judge at “C”, leave the arena. There should be minimum interference with the starting times of the other riders and the affected rider should return to complete or restart his/her test during a scheduled break in the competition or at the end of the competition. The rider may decide whether to restart the test from the beginning or to commence from the point where the music failed. Judging must restart at the point of interruption. In any case, the marks already given will not be changed.
e. Under penalty of elimination, a rider must enter the arena within 20 seconds of the music starting. Exception: For USEF High Performance qualifying and selection trials, and observation classes, see DR122.5. [Per DR122.5: Entering the arena after more than 20 seconds of music but within 90 seconds is counted as an error in USEF HP qualifying and selection trails, and observation classes.] The music must cease at the final salute.