How to prepare for and take part in Petplan Equine Area Festivals Freestyle Dressage *PROMOTION*

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The Petplan Equine Area Festival Freestyle classes were introduced in 2021 and take place at the Summer Area Festivals and the Summer Championship at Arena UK in October each year. Freestyle classes are becoming increasingly popular with more and more riders taking part. If this sounds like something you’d love to be a part of, but aren’t sure where to begin, here’s our guide to help you get involved.

Taking the leap into dressage to music can seem daunting, but making a freestyle test is great fun and can be done easily at home, or with the help of your trainer. To get you started, here’s some of the jargon, simplified:

Floor plan

For your competition level, design a test floor plan to include the all-important compulsory movements. Take a look at our video for some great tips on creating your floor plan:

Technical marks

Dressage to music is marked differently to standard tests with two marked categories: technical marks critique your compulsory moves, just like a normal test.

Artistic marks

These are like collectives in a standard test. Artistic marks are for harmony, degree of difficulty, music and interpretation of the music. These marks are x 4, which means they are very influential on your final mark.


Freestyle tests have a maximum length, so design your test to show your horse’s best bits within the time allowed.


Try to choose music where the downbeat matches your horse’s footfall. The tempo of the music and your horse is what will define how you match feet and beat!

Be creative with your floor plan and music

You can choose to ride to any music that you like, but there are three simple steps you need to follow in order to dance with British Dressage:

  1. Complete a music licence record form and a music sub-licence agreement. This allows you to use any music of your choice from the PPL copyright database.
  2. Once you have completed the above, please send via email to where the team will update your member records.
  3. You’ll be sent PPL music stickers, which need to be completed with your music details and kept safely with your music CD or USB.

The best thing about freestyle dressage is that you have the freedom to be creative with your test floor plan and music choices. Combine the two for a winning test! Remember to follow the compulsory movements, and use the music to represent your horse’s body, character and your own personal tastes. Highlight your best bits, ride what you love, and be creative.

For more information on Petplan Equine and the Area Festivals, visit

Petplan Equine is a trading name of Pet Plan Ltd and Allianz Insurance plc. Main image by Ben Clark

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