Dressage -the art of riding and training a horse in a manner that develops obedience, flexibility, and balance
Quite often riders are daunted by the prospect of doing dressage but in reality it is simply flat-work and all it requires is the ability to ride straight (even when on a circle) and maintain a consistent rhythm. How hard can it be to follow a series of instructions and produce an accurate change of direction or pace?? Dressage tests are designed to gradually progress the horse from the very simple movements at entry level to highly advanced movements at the upper echelons of the sport. If you can walk and trot independently there is a dressage test suitable for you to do. If you have mastered the canter then the world is your oyster in the dressage arena. So whilst we might not all aspire to top hat and tails we can certainly do dressage and enjoy the satisfaction of feeling our horses gradually improving through regular schooling. After all, dressage is simply good schooling and flatwork and is the basis for success in all other disciplines. A dressage test is no more than a series of school movements carried out in a set order and within a designated space.
Dressage can be either ‘Pure Dressage’ or can be an element of ‘Horse Trials’. The scoring system used for each one differs slightly, as does the tack the horse may wear. Checkout the relevant tack sheets on the links below.