Dressage competitions may begin in local communities with introductory level classes where riders need only walk and trot. Horses and riders advance through a graduated series of Nationally defined levels, with tests of increasing difficulty at each level. The most accomplished horse and rider teams perform the FEI tests, written by an international committee called the Fédération Équestre Internationale or FEI. The highest level of modern competition is at the Grand Prix level. This is the level test ridden in the prestigious international competitions, such as the Olympic games.
Dressage at the international level under the rules of the FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale) consists of the following levels: Prix St. Georges, Intermediare I, Intermediare II and Grand Prix. In addition, there are four to six lower levels, occasionally more, regulated in individual nations. The lower levels ask horses for basic gaits, relatively large circles, and a lower level of collection than the international levels. Lateral movements are not required in the earliest levels, and movements such as the leg yield, shoulder-in, or haunches-in are gradually introduced as the horse progresses.