Yesterday I learned the new USEF First Level Test 1 while riding Douwe with the girls at the barn. I haven't been able to print off the tests from the USEF website yet, it goes to open the .pdf file and then stops blank...?? Oh well, I will keep trying! So I rode through the test on Douwe and liked some of the changes. I like that the chew-down trot circle is nearer to the beginning of the test, it helps the horse to stretch through his back. I also really like the changes in the Collective Marks where they have divided the Rider's score into three parts. One score for Position and Seat, one score for Correct and Effective Use of the Aids, and the last score for Harmony Between Horse and Rider. They also took the Gaits score down to 1 co-efficient which is beneficial to riders that do not have a fancy moving horse. I did not like the addition of the lengthened canter or the deletion of the trot halfturns. When I am judging First Level I see a lot of horses that are not correctly balanced and already running in the canter anyways. To add the lengthen canter, I feel, will make the unbalanced horses and riders scramble even more. Even though these riders should probably not becompeting First Level in the first place you will still see plenty of them anyway. Overall the test rode smoothly and I will probably show Douwe this winter to try it out.