November 20, 2018

Product Review: 2019 TestPro USDF Dressage Test App

If you're like me, you have the spatial reasoning skills of a five year old, and reading through a written Dressage test makes your head swim.  If you're also like me, you've been using the EquiTests smartphone app for the last eight years to memorize your tests visually.

Me at 5.  Spatial reasoning skills stopped developing around this time.  Only halfway joking!

Sure, it wasn't without its faults, but it worked great.  Unfortunately the developer EOL'd it a couple of years ago, so I was excited when the USDF stepped in and said they'd release an app in time for the 2019 tests.  That app is now out as of today (*sort of - see the end of this post), so I wanted to do an in-depth review so you could decide if you wanted it or not.

(I am still having Blogger photo problems, so if you're reading this in an RSS reader please click through to my actual site to see clear photos of the app.  Thanks!)

First thing's first: this app does everything the EquiTests app did and more.  You can still move forward and back through test instructions that are also laid out visually on a Dressage court.  Unlike EquiTests, the 2019 TestPro app also shows you the entire test on the left and highlights it as you go (if you want - you can toggle that) so that you know where in the test you are.

On.  This is a much more efficient use of screen real estate than the same screen on the EquiTests app, which had a ton of blank space.

Off.  No it does not center or give you more real estate when the test is toggled off, so that option is really only good for reducing visual clutter.

If the inline instructions aren't enough, you can click the blue "PDF" button next to the test title and pull up the judge's scorecard for that test instantly.

The "gear" icon brings up tons of settings, including color choices, playback speed options, and competition mode, which we'll get to in a bit.

 You can also optionally turn on "previous movements" and "forward highlights" to remind you where you're going to and coming from in a test.

And you can optionally turn on the center lines, the centerline letters, or an overlay of 1m squares.

All of that off

1m gridlines and centerline letters on

Centerline letters and centerlines on

I've shown you screenshots of a lot of trotting so far, so I wanted to point out that just like EquiTests, this app also delineates gait and sub-gait with color and...ant sizes...?

Collected walk is small gold ants in purple, extended walk is long white ants in purple.  Don't tell me those are horses because this totally looks like ant Dressage to me!
For what it's worth, they do seem to also delineate bend direction with the ants, which is cool.

Now for the biggest "new" feature compared to the old EquiTests app: you can turn on Competition Mode to hide the test panel and trace your test with your finger to test yourself.

If you get it right, it highlights it automatically with the ant horses.  If you get it wrong, I had thought it was supposed to tell me I was wrong, but instead it just...sits there and lets you doodle until you hit the "play" button to check your work.

I kinda want to ride this test pattern...
So either I haven't fully figured that feature out, or they have a bit of a problem with what is otherwise a pretty intuitive user experience (or both, because good UX should be easily understood, JENJ WHERE YOU AT!)

Finally, once you get used to this app, it's going to be this UI your whole career, even when you hit FEI (although you do have to re-buy each version).  It was NOT written by the USEF/USDF, but by a company called Lion Dog Apps Limited that has re-used this same app for FEI Dressage, FEI Eventing Dressage, FEI Para Dressage, and Dressage Ireland and British Dressage.

Now for a couple bummers.  First, this app is $16.99.  Which, fine, the old one was $9.99, but the old one was basically maintained by a single person as far as I could tell from release notes.

I have a suspicion this unusually high price is because of either the relatively small number of Dressage riders out there and the even smaller percentage of them that are tech-forward enough to want this app (read: gotta charge more to make it worth the developer's time when your audience is that small), or because of the usual "equestrian stuff costs more" thing.  Or both.  Or maybe the USEF is taking a cut.  I have no idea.

Either way...I bought it, and you probably will too.  It's not like anyone else is waiting in the wings to develop one of these apps, this is not an app anyone is going to get rich on, let's be real with ourselves.  And since it's either this or my poor spatial reasoning skills, I choose to look at it as $4.25 per show season or four Starbucks lattes or one meal at Chipotle (because who goes to Chipotle and doesn't get chips and guac, am I right?)

The other bummer:  they're not going to release an Android version of this until June of 2019.  That's something that used to happen a lot in the early days of smartphones but isn't super common these days, so it's a bummer that they're treating the #1 smartphone by US market share as a second class citizen.

Just sayin'.  #teamandroid #openecosystem

That said, I put this on my work iPad, and I'm honestly glad it's not on my phone.  I don't have an iPhone to test with, but it's a really pleasant user experience to have this much real estate on the iPad to work with in the app, especially for Competition Mode.  If you have a tablet available, I would strongly consider downloading this app to it in addition to your phone. 

Bottom line: Yes, it's expensive for an app.  Yes, it's worth it.

What: 2019 TestPro USDF Dressage Test App
Price: $16.99 for up to six devices that use the same Apple ID
Supported Operating Systems: iOS today, Android support expected mid-2019

I bought this app with my own hard earned cash and this post was not sponsored by or influenced by any third parties.


  1. Love the competition mode! The thing I actually used in equitests was the ability to record a reading of the test. I used to use that to test myself. Thankfully there's other apps that record and I can still use that tactic. Now, if only they'd release Android!

    1. They actually do still have that ability, but I forgot to review it because I never used it myself. Thanks for pointing that out!

    2. Err...well, you can't record YOURSELF reading the test, but you can listen to robot lady read it to you. Does that help?

  2. Great review! I saw that it got released and was wondering how it actually worked.

    1. Thanks! I wanted to get this out fast especially since it's so expensive, I figured people would want to REALLY know what they were getting for the money.

  3. I think I have ridden that test that you traced out! I love that feature and will likely buy it for just that. I normally 'test' myself by drawing it on paper so this would work better.

    1. Hahaha! Yeah, I think I'll use the heck out of that feature. It's either that or closing your eyes and drawing it in the air in front of your stall.

  4. I am SO SO SO SO incredibly happy USDF did this. I have been super sad thinking I would have to go back to keeping a folded up copy of the test in my boot hahaha. I happily spent my $16.99 last night and have it on my iPhone. I really like it, and while it will take a little getting used to since I used the EquiTest for so long, I am just happy to have it.

    Now if only USEA would do the same for their tests, I would be an even happier girl! :-)

    1. Me too! I was a little taken aback at first with the price point, but the more I thought about the more I was 100% okay with it. Such a handy thing to have!

  5. Replies
    1. Yeah! I could not live without an app like this.

  6. This is awesome! I had no idea that something like this existed. I typically just use a whiteboard to trace out my text but it’s annoying to do. I’m totally going to get this ap.

    1. Oh dude, you have been missing out! Haha. I seriously could not memorize my tests if I had to do the paper ones. And yes that makes me kind of a baby and totally lost without my phone, but so be it. This thing makes my life a lot easier.

  7. Spatial analysis and developing online apps are a huge part of my job...and yet I have been using the whiteboard method combined with walking the test around my living room to combat my extremely poor spatial awareness. Filing this under "Why didn't I think of that?" Lol. Thanks for the review, I'm buying this app.

  8. I'm glad this was finally released. USDF charges a very expensive licensing fee, so I am sure that's part of the expense.