An Introduction To Dressage
 By EquestrianLady   •   18th Dec 2009   •   3,395 views   •   5 comments
An Introduction To DressageOver the next few weeks Iíll be talking about dressage. Among the topics will be: how to ride dressage, finding the right level for you and your horse to compete at, the best type of show to enter and how to prepare for it, plus tips for a successful dressage show experience.

But letís start at the beginning.

An Introduction to Dressage

When you think of dressage your mind may conjure up images of canter pirouettes by famous riders at the Olympics, or the beautiful gray stallions at the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, kicking out their hind legs in a capriole. It seems impossible that dressage could be something for ordinary mortals.

What is dressage?

The word Ďdressageí comes from the French dresser meaning Ďto train.í It doesnít necessarily require a series of fancy movements by professional riders on expensive horses. It can also exhibit the normal walk, trot and canter gaits on normal horses.

Dressage is beneficial to any horse, regardless of his usual riding routine, because it is mental and physical training aimed at creating total harmony between horse and rider. As such itís the foundation for all the English disciplines Ė including jumping and eventing. In countries like Germany, you arenít even allowed to enter jumping and eventing competitions unless you obtain a special certificate proving that youíve mastered the basics of dressage.

Dressage trains the horse to carry his rider easily in walk, trot and canter. As a result he becomes fully equipped to perform whatever is required of him. He works better and obeys more willingly than a stiff, untrained horse.

Can anyone do dressage?

Dressage requires a commitment to work at producing a smooth ride. The goal is to have your horse relaxed and moving forwards in a steady rhythm, while responding to your aids. He should accept the contact between his mouth and your hands through the reins and perform the required movements with lightness and ease.

Luckily dressage shows start at an easy level, with simple figures such as large trot circles and diagonals across the arena. You can begin with a test that requires no canter at all. So if youíre pretty confident at walk and trot but would rather not canter in public yet, it doesnít matter Ė you can still compete!

Do you need a special horse for dressage?

Certain breeds of horse are better suited to the demands of the higher levels of dressage. But lower level dressage Ė which most enthusiasts ride - benefits every horse. No matter what breed, size, height or color your horse is, you can take him to a dressage show and have fun.

So if youíre prepared to put in the work, you can do dressage!

In my next article Iíll be talking about how to begin riding dressage and find which level of competition will suit you and your horse.
Horse News More In This Category:  Dressage      Horse News More From This Author:  EquestrianLady
Great information, thank you for posting :] i am thinking of doing Dressage with my horse but it is finding the time to train him :/
  Dec 18, 2009  •  2,510 views
yeah. same here!! its just so hard as it takes time and efford consistantly :)
  Dec 18, 2009  •  2,569 views
Oak Valley  
Great article. I love dressage ((: Working on lateral movement right now
  Dec 18, 2009  •  2,549 views
I wish my mom would let me do Dressage. I am very interested in it and this is a great article!
  Dec 19, 2009  •  2,523 views
I do Dressage.I ride my horse, April Country Rose.My first test will be in Fall at Otter Creek Farms.
  Apr 27, 2010  •  2,560 views
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