French word “dressage” comes from the verb dresseur which means to train. Dressage, a discipline of riding horses, is unique. It is unique in the same way as Tennessee Walkers, Hunter/Jumpers as well as Reining and Endurance, Eventing, and any other disciplines that may come to mind. Dressage is an Olympic discipline and enjoys great international fame. An increase in interest has been achieved by the addition of the musical freestyle and the required rides for winning an individual medal.
How is the dressage competition held?
A dressage test evaluates horse and rider on how they can perform a number of predetermined movements. From the Training (beginner), up to Fourth Level and USA National levels, the difficulty levels go up until the FEI (Federal Equestrian International), levels. These are the exact same tests used in every nation around the world. Most tests take place in a 20 x60 meter ring, which is approximately 66′ x198′. However, sometimes a shorter band may be used. The movements are scored individually and flow together. While perfection is possible, excellence is not impossible. There are also four “general impressions”, which are scored for each ride. The total points for each ride are then added and divided by all possible scores. Therefore, 50% is considered sufficient. Many horses are not able and willing to learn and perform all of the Grand Prix movements. The pleasure of riding and watching correct lower-level tests is greater than the enjoyment of watching incorrect ones. The horse’s body and mind improves and so does his ability, which in turn leads to a horse that is more flexible, alert, confident, keen, and supple. Dressage requires that horses have 3 flexible, regular and elastic gaits. This includes a four beat walk, a two pace trot with no suspension and a time of suspension between each of the diagonal beats. A three beat canter must have a suspension period after each of the 3 beats. This is why it is so important to train your horse in these 3 gaits. To help their horse reach these goals, the rider must be able sit in a comfortable position and use their hands, weight, legs, or legs. This process is long for both horse, rider, and horse. It also creates trust and understanding between the two of them. When horses feel comfortable with their training level, less experienced riders can learn from them. It’s an interesting role reverse.
It is important to review the competition’s test, not just the movements. Also, make sure you have a copy of each test with the “Directive Ideas section” in the middle. This section gives an overview of the main factors in each movement. Also, the Purpose Statement appears at the top. Dressage is a mental sport that benefits horse, rider as well trainer, judge, judge, and spectator. The dressage community hopes you enjoy learning and enjoying this discipline.