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Encyclopedia > Dressage
An upper-level dressage competitor performing an extended trot
An upper-level dressage competitor performing an extended trot

Dressage (a French term meaning "training") is a path and destination of competitive horse training, with competitions held at all levels from amateur to the Olympics. Its fundamental purpose is to develop, through standardized progressive training methods, a horse's natural athletic ability and willingness to perform, thereby maximizing its potential as a riding horse. At the peak of a dressage horse's gymnastic development, it can smoothly respond to a skilled rider's minimal aids by performing the requested movement while remaining relaxed and appearing effortless. Dressage is occasionally referred to as "Horse Ballet" (cf. nl:Dressuur). Although the discipline has its roots in classical Greek horsemanship, mainly through the influence of Xenophon, dressage was first recognized as an important equestrian pursuit during the Renaissance in Western Europe. The great European riding masters of that period developed a sequential training system that has changed little since then and classical dressage is still considered the basis of trained modern dressage. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1461x1913, 574 KB) Hannoverian as presented on the german horsefair de:Equitana during the Equitanian Stallion Masters(Dressurkör der KLasse S für gekörte Hengste) 02. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1461x1913, 574 KB) Hannoverian as presented on the german horsefair de:Equitana during the Equitanian Stallion Masters(Dressurkör der KLasse S für gekörte Hengste) 02. ... WikiProject horse training is about methods of training horses, and all the related aspects of the relationship between people and horses. ... Equestrianism made its Summer Olympics debut at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. ... A young rider at a horse show in Australia. ... Painting of ballet dancers by Edgar Degas, 1872. ... Xenophon, Greek historian Xenophon (In Greek , ca. ... The Renaissance (French for rebirth, or Rinascimento in Italian), was a cultural movement in Italy (and in Europe in general) that began in the late Middle Ages, and spanned roughly the 14th through the 17th century. ... The borders of Western Europe were largely defined by the Cold War. ... Classical dressage evolved from cavalry movements trained for the battlefield, and has since developed into competitive dressage seen today. ...


Early European aristocrats displayed their horses' training in equestrian pageants, but in modern dressage competition, successful training at the various levels is demonstrated through the performance of "tests," or prescribed series of movements within a standard arena. Judges evaluate each movement on the basis of an objective standard appropriate to the level of the test and assign each movement a score from zero to ten - zero being "not executed" and 10 being "excellent." A score of 9 (or "very good") is considered a particularly high mark, while a competitor achieving all 6s (or 60% overall) should be considering moving on to the next level. Aristocracy is a form of government in which rulership is in the hands of an upper class known as aristocrats. ... A beauty contest, or beauty pageant, is a competition between people, based largely, though not always entirely, on the beauty of their physical appearance. ... Animal training is a method to teach animals to perform specific acts in response to conditions or stimuli. ... A scale of one to ten or scale from one to ten is a general and largely vernacular concept used for rating things, people, places, ideas and so on. ...

Contents

Dressage horses

An Andalusian at the collected trot
An Andalusian at the collected trot

Any riding horse can benefit from use of dressage principles and training techniques. However, horse breeds most often seen at the Olympics and other international FEI competitions are in the warmblood horse breeds category. Dressage is an egalitarian sport in which all breeds are given an opportunity to successfully compete. Therefore, many other breeds are seen at various levels of competition. Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 636 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (864 × 814 pixel, file size: 212 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 636 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (864 × 814 pixel, file size: 212 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... // This page is a list of horse and pony breeds, and also includes terms used to describe types of horses that are not breeds but are commonly mistaken for breeds. ... Equestrianism made its Summer Olympics debut at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. ... The Fédération Equestre Internationale (commonly known as the FEI, or informally in English as the International Equestrian Federation) is the international governing body of equestrian (horse) sports. ... Warmbloods are a group of sport horse breeds and the term simply distinguishes this type of horse from the cold bloods (draft horses) and the hot bloods (Thoroughbreds and Arabians). ...


In non-competitive performances of classical dressage that involve the "Airs above the ground" described below, the "Baroque" breeds of horses, most notably the Lipizzaner, are most often seen. Classical dressage evolved from cavalry movements trained for the battlefield, and has since developed into competitive dressage seen today. ... A Lipizzaner The Lipizzan horses, or Lipizzaner, are very closely associated with what is called the Spanish Riding School, which is the oldest riding academy in the world. ...


The arena

60x20 letter arrangement

There are two sizes of arenas: small and standard. Each has letters assigned to positions around the arena for dressage tests to specify where movements are to be performed. Image File history File links DressageArenaLetters. ... Image File history File links DressageArenaLetters. ...


The small arena is 20 m by 40 m, and is used for the lower levels of dressage and three-day eventing dressage. Its letters around the outside edge, starting from the point of entry and moving clockwise, are A-K-E-H-C-M-B-F. Letters also mark locations in the middle of the arena: Moving down the center line, they are D-X-G, with X in the center. Since the combination of Equine Canada (EC) and United States Dressage Federation (USDF) tests in 2003, the small size arena is no longer utilized in rated shows in North America. The metre (American English:meter) is a measure of length. ... Eventing is an equestrian event which comprises dressage, cross-country and show-jumping. ... The United States Dressage Federation, or the USDF, is the national governing body for the sport of dressage. ...


The standard arena is 20 m by 60 m, and is used for tests in both dressage and eventing. The standard dressage arena letters are A-K-V-E-S-H-C-M-R-B-P-F. (There is speculation as to why these letters were chosen. Most commonly it is believed because the German cavalry had a 20 x 60 meter area in between the barracks which had the letters posted above the doors) The letters on the long sides of the arena nearest the corners are 6 m in from the corners, and are 12 m apart from each other. The letters in the middle of the arena are D-L-X-I-G, with X marking the center. Eventing is an equestrian event which comprises dressage, cross-country and show-jumping. ...


At the start of the test, the horse enters at A. There is always a judge sitting at C (although for upper-level competition, there are up to five judges at different places around the arena).


The dressage arena also has a centerline (from A to C, going through X in the middle), as well as two quarter-lines (halfway between the centerline and long sides of each arena).


Competition

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 levels, with tests of increasing difficulty at each level, until the most accomplished horse and rider teams compete at the Grand Prix levels and international competition, such as the Olympic games. Equestrianism made its Summer Olympics debut at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. ...


Dressage consists of the lower levels: Introductory, Training, First, Second, Third and Fourth;(In Australia the levels are as follows Prep, Preliminary, Novice, Elementary, Medium and Advanced.) and the FEI (Federation Equestrian International) levels: Prix St. Georges, Intermediare I, Intermediare II and Grand Prix. The higher the level the more money won when competing.


Apart from competition, there is a tradition of classical dressage, in which the tradition of dressage is pursued as an art form. The traditions of the Old Masters who originated Dressage are kept alive by the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria and the Cadre Noir in Saumur, France.This type of schooling is also a part of the Portuguese and Spanish bullfighting exhibitions. Classical dressage evolved from cavalry movements trained for the battlefield, and has since developed into competitive dressage seen today. ... The Cadre Noir are an equestrian display team based in the city of Saumur in western France. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Olympic level

Dressage at the 1980 Summer Olympic games
Dressage at the 1980 Summer Olympic games

The dressage tests performed at the Olympic Games, which were accepted as sport in 1912, are those of the highest level: Grand Prix. They are judged under the rules of the FEI. This level of test demands the most skill and concentration from both horse and rider. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 404 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (745 × 1105 pixel, file size: 187 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 404 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (745 × 1105 pixel, file size: 187 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Equestrianism made its Summer Olympics debut at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. ... The Fédération Equestre Internationale (commonly known as the FEI, or informally in English as the International Equestrian Federation) is the international governing body of equestrian (horse) sports. ...


Gaits and movements performed at this level include collected and extended walk, trot, and canter; trot and canter half-pass (a movement where the horse travels on a diagonal line keeping its body almost parallel with the arena wall while making both forward and sideways steps in each stride); passage (a slow-motion, suspended trot); piaffe (an approach to "trot in place"); one, two, & three tempi changes (where the horse changes from one lead to the other in the canter); and canter pirouettes (a 360-degree circle that is almost in place). The half-pass is a dressage movement in which the horse moves forward and sideways at the same time. ... The passage is a movement seen in upper-level dressage, in which the horse performs a highly-elevated and extremely powerful trot. ... The piaffe is a high school dressage movement where the horse is in a highly collected and cadenced trot, in place or nearly in place. ... The flying change is a movement performed by a horse in which he changes leads at the canter. ... Horse gaits are the different methods by which a horse, either naturally or through human training, moves itself. ... A pirouette is a movement asked of a horse in dressage. ...


Tests ridden at the Olympic Games are scored by a panel of five international judges. Each movement in each test receives a numeric score from 0 (lowest) to 10 (highest) and the resulting final score is then converted into a percentage, which is carried out to three decimal points. The higher the percentage, the higher the score.


Olympic team medals are won by the teams with the highest, second highest, and third highest total percentage from their best three rides in the Grand Prix test.


Once the team medals are determined, horses and riders compete for individual medals. The team competition serves as the first individual qualifier, in that the top 25 horse/rider combinations from the Grand Prix test move on to the next round. The second individual qualifier is the Grand Prix Special test, which consists of Grand Prix movements arranged in a different pattern. For those 25 riders, the scores from the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special are then combined and the resulting top 15 horse/rider combinations move on to the individual medal competition-the crowd-pleasing Grand Prix Musical Kur.


For their freestyles, riders and horses perform specially choreographed patterns to music. At this level, the freestyle tests may contain all the Grand Prix movements, as well as double canter pirouettes, pirouettes in piaffe, and half-pass in passage. For the freestyle, judges award technical marks for the various movements, as well as artistic marks. In the case of a tie, the ride with the higher artistic marks wins. [1]


The Training Scale

The dressage training scale is arranged in a pyramid fashion, with “rhythm and regularity” at the bottom of the pyramid and “collection” at the top. The training scale is used as a guide for the training of the dressage horse (or any horse, for that matter). Despite its appearance, the training scale is not meant to be a rigid format. Instead, each level is built on as the horse progresses in his training: so a Grand Prix horse would work on the refinement of the bottom levels of the pyramid, instead of focusing on only the highest level: “collection.” The levels are also interconnected. For example, a crooked horse is unable to develop impulsion, and a horse that is not relaxed will be less likely to travel with a rhythmic gait. Impulsion can only occur if the horse is coming properly up through his back, as seen here. ...


Rhythm and Regularity (Takt)

Rhythm, gait, tempo, and regularity should be the same on straight and bending lines, through lateral work, and through transitions. Rhythm refers to the sequence of the footfalls, which should only include the pure walk, pure trot, and pure canter. The regularity, or purity, of the gait includes the evenness and levelness of the stride. Once a rider can obtain pure gaits, they are ready to learn difficult movements such as the piaffe, when the horse trots in place raising the front legs to where the hooves are level with the cannon bone.


Relaxation (Losgelassenheit)

The second level of the pyramid is relaxation (looseness). Signs of looseness in the horse may be seen by an even stride that is swinging through the back and causing the tail to swing like a pendulum, looseness at the poll, a soft chewing of the bit, and a relaxed blowing through the nose. The horse will make smooth transitions, be easy to position from side to side, and will willingly reach down into the contact as the reins are lengthened.


Contact (Anlehnung)

Contact—the third level of the pyramid—is the result of the horse’s pushing power, and should never be achieved by the pulling of the rider’s hands. The rider drives the horse into soft hands that allow the horse to come up into the bridle, and should always follow the natural motion of the animal’s head. The horse should have equal contact in both reins.


Impulsion (Schwung)

An upper level dressage horse at the canter.
An upper level dressage horse at the canter.

The pushing power (thrust) of the horse is called “impulsion,” and is the fourth level of the training pyramid. Impulsion is created by storing the energy of engagement (the forward reaching of the hind legs under the body). Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 685 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (967 × 847 pixel, file size: 240 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 685 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (967 × 847 pixel, file size: 240 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Horse gaits are the different methods by which a horse, either naturally or through human training, moves itself. ... Impulsion can only occur if the horse is coming properly up through his back, as seen here. ...


Proper impulsion is achieved by means of: • Correct driving aids of the rider • Relaxation of the horse • Throughness (durchlässigkeit): the flow of energy through the horse from front to back and back to front. The musculature of the horse is connected, supple, elastic, and unblocked, and the rider’s aids go freely through the horse. A diagram showing the flow of energy in a through horse Throughness (durchlässigkeit) is the flow of energy through the horse from front to back and back to front. ...


Impulsion can occur at the walk, trot and canter. It is highly important to establish good, forward movement and impulsion at the walk, as achieving desirable form in the trot and canter relies heavily on the transition from a good, supple, forward walk.


Impulsion not only encourages correct muscle and joint use, but also engages the mind of the horse, focusing it on the rider and, particularly at the walk and trot, allowing for relaxation and dissipation of nervous energy.


Straightness (Geraderichtung)

A horse is straight when his hind legs follow the path of his front legs, on both straight lines and on bending lines, and his body is parallel to the line of travel. Straightness causes the horse to channel his impulsion directly toward his center of balance, and allows the rider’s hand aids to have a connection to the hind end.


Collection (Versammlung)

At the apex of the training scale, collection may be used occasionally to supplement less vigorous work, but is only focused on (through the collected gaits and more difficult movements, such as flying changes) in more advanced horses. Collection requires greater muscular strength, so must be developed slowly. Collection is when a horse carries more weight on his hindlegs than his front legs. ... The flying change is a movement performed by a horse in which he changes leads at the canter. ...


When a horse collects, he naturally takes more of his weight onto his hindquarters. The joints of the hind limbs have greater flexion, allowing the horse to lower his hindquarters, bring his hind legs further under his body, and lighten the forehand. A collected horse is able to move more freely. When collected, the stride length should shorten, and increase in energy and activity.


Airs above the ground

The pesade.
The pesade.

These are a series of higher-level dressage maneuvers where the horse leaps above the ground. These include the capriole, courbette, croupade, and levade. None are typically seen in modern competitive dressage, but are performed by horses of various riding academies, including the Spanish Riding School in Vienna and the Cadre Noir in Saumur. Horses such as the Andalusian, Lusitano and Lipizzan are the breeds most often trained to perform the "airs" today, in part due to their powerfully-conformed hindquarters, which allow them the strength to perform these difficult movements. There were originally seven airs, many of which were used to build into the movements performed today. Image File history File links Pesad,_Nordisk_familjebok. ... Image File history File links Pesad,_Nordisk_familjebok. ... Binomial name Equus caballus Linnaeus, 1758 The horse (Equus caballus, sometimes seen as a subspecies of the Wild Horse, Equus ferus caballus) is a large odd-toed ungulate mammal, one of ten modern species of the genus Equus. ... A riding academy is a school for instruction in horse riding, or for hiring of horses for pleasure riding. ... A Lipizzan horse in the Winter Riding School The Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria, is a traditional riding school for Lipizzan horses. ... “Wien” redirects here. ... The Cadre Noir are an equestrian display team based in the city of Saumur in western France. ... Saumur is a small city and commune in the Maine-et-Loire département of France on the Loire River, with an approximate population of 30,000 (in 2001). ... The Andalusian horse or Spanish horse is one of the oldest breeds of horses in the world today. ... The Lusitano is a breed of horse from Portugal that closely resembles the Andalusian. ... A modern Lipizzan The Lipizzan, or Lipizzaner (Slovene Lipicanec), is a breed of horse closely associated with the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria where the finest representatives demonstrate the high school movements of classical dressage, including the highly advanced airs above the ground. ...


Popular myth claims that these moves were originally taught to horses for military purposes, but while agility was necessary on the battlefield, most of the airs as performed today would have actually exposed horses' vulnerable underbellies to the weapons of foot soldiers.[1]

The capriole (above), and working at the piaffe between the pillars
The capriole (above), and working at the piaffe between the pillars

The pesade and levade are the first airs taught to the High School horse, and it is from these that all other airs are taught. In the pesade, the horse raises his forehand off the ground and tucks his forelegs evenly, carrying all his weight on his hindquarters, to form a 45 degree angle with the ground. The levade was first taught at the beginning of the 20th century, asking the horse to hold a position approximately 35 degrees from the ground, making it much more strenuous. It is also a transition movement between work on the ground and the airs above the ground, and it requires enormous strength of the horse — not many horses are capable of a good quality levade. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 443 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2592 × 3508 pixel, file size: 291 KB, MIME type: image/png) Planches de lEncyclopédie de Diderot et dAlembert, volume 6. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 443 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2592 × 3508 pixel, file size: 291 KB, MIME type: image/png) Planches de lEncyclopédie de Diderot et dAlembert, volume 6. ...


The horse is asked to enter the pesade or levade from the piaffe. At the beginning of the movement, the hind feet come under the horse's center of gravity with the hocks coming lower to the ground, so that the horse appears to sink down in back and rise in front. The position is held for a number of seconds, and then the horse quietly puts the forelegs back on the ground and proceeds at the walk, or stands at the halt. These movements are the pinnacle of collection, as the horse carries all of his weight on his back legs. They are also excellent to test that the horse is truly straight and obedient. Video of the Pesade Video of the Levade The piaffe is a high school dressage movement where the horse is in a highly collected and cadenced trot, in place or nearly in place. ...

The croupade (above) and ballotade (below)
The croupade (above) and ballotade (below)

In the capriole (meaning leap of a goat), the horse jumps from a raised position of the forehand straight up into the air, kicks out with the hind legs, and lands more or less on all four legs at the same time. It requires an enormously powerful horse to perform correctly, and is considered the most difficult of all the airs above the ground. It is first introduced with the croupade, in which the horse does not kick out at the height of elevation, but keeps his hind legs tucked tightly under, and remains parallel to the ground. The horse is then taught the ballotade. In this movement, the horse's hind hooves are positioned so one can see its shoes if watching from behind, but the horse is not asked to kick out. When the horse demonstrates proficiency in the ballotade, the capriole is introduced. Video of the Capriole Image File history File links Size of this preview: 443 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2592 × 3508 pixel, file size: 235 KB, MIME type: image/png) Planches de lEncyclopédie de Diderot et dAlembert, volume 6. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 443 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2592 × 3508 pixel, file size: 235 KB, MIME type: image/png) Planches de lEncyclopédie de Diderot et dAlembert, volume 6. ...


In the courbette, the horse raises his forehand off the ground, tucks up his forelegs evenly, and then jumps forward, never allowing the forelegs to touch down, in a series of "hops". Extremely strong and talented horses can perform five or more leaps forward before having to touch down with the forelegs, although it is more usual to see a series of three or four leaps. The courbette, like the capriole, is first introduced through the easier croupade. Video of the Courbette


In the mezair, the horse rears up and strikes out with its forelegs. It is similar to a series of levades with a forward motion (not in place), with the horse gradually bringing its legs further under himself in each successive movement and lightly touching the ground with his front legs before pushing up again. The meziar was originally called the courbette by the old dressage masters, and it is no longer practiced at the Spanish Riding School.


Dressage Masters

  • Xenophon (427-355 BCE): the first recognized European master, the Greek General wrote The Art of Horsemanship which advocated the use of sympathetic training of the horse. Despite living over 2000 years ago, his methods and ideas are still widely praised.
  • Federico Grisone (mid-1500s): one of the few to write on horsemanship since Xenophon. Was considered a master of his time, despite his extremely harsh and cruel methods.
  • Giovanni Battista Pignatelli (mid- to late-1500s)
  • Solomon de la Broue (1530-1610 )
  • Antoine de Pluvinel (1555-1620): The first of the French riding masters, author of L’Instruction du Roy en l’Exercise de Monter a Cheval, tutor to King Louis XIII, and is the first notable writer to advocate for gentle training since Xenophon.
  • Francois Baucher ( 1796-1873): introduced the one-tempi flying change, his method, which is still hotly contested, was based on the fact that the horse's jaw is the source of all resistance. His methods include some which relate to the rollkur training practices of today.
  • Count Antoine Cartier D'Aure
  • James Fillis

Xenophon, Greek historian Xenophon (In Greek , ca. ... On Horsemanship written c. ... Naple-resident Federico Grisone is considered one of the first masters of dressage and courtly riding, despite the fact that many of his training methods are not practiced today due to their harsh, unfeeling treatment of the horse. ... Giovanni Battista Pignatelli was an Italian riding master who had influence on horse training and dressage during his time. ... Antoine de Pluvinel (1552-1620) was the first of the French riding masters, and has had great influence on modern dressage. ... Louis XIII (September 27, 1601 – May 14, 1643), called the Just (French: le Juste), was King of France from 1610 to 1643. ... William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle (1592 - December 25, 1676) was an English soldier, politician and writer. ... François Robichon de la Gueriniere (1688-1751) is a French riding master who has had a profound effect on dressage and the training of the horse. ... The flying change is a movement performed by a horse in which he changes leads at the canter. ... A Lipizzan horse in the Winter Riding School The Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria, is a traditional riding school for Lipizzan horses. ... The baucher is also a type of bit, named after the man. ... The flying change is a movement performed by a horse in which he changes leads at the canter. ... Rollkur [1][2], now officially known as hyperflection of the neck, is a training technique used by several dressage riders today, including Athens Individual Gold Medalist Anky van Grunsven and Nicole Uphoff. ... Count Antoine Cartier DAure was a riding master in France. ... James Fillis (1834-1913) was a well-known French riding master. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article needs to be wikified. ...

Tack and dressage

A dressage saddle
A dressage saddle

Dressage horses are shown in minimal tack. They are not permitted to wear boots (including hoof or bell boots) or wraps (including tail bandages) during the test, nor are they allowed to wear martingales or training devices such as draw or running reins or the gogue anywhere on the showgrounds during the competition. Due to the formality of dressage, tack is usually black leather, although dark brown is seen from time to time. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (475x726, 105 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Dressage English saddle Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or scanner used... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (475x726, 105 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Dressage English saddle Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or scanner used... Tack is any of the various accessories worn by horses in the course of their use as domesticated animals. ... Bell boots worn by a show jumping competitor. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Draw reins are often confused with running reins. ... The Gogue or de Gogue is a piece of horse tack used for training purposes, and is very popular in Europe, with a similar place in training regimes as side reins. ...


An English-style saddle is required for riding dressage, specifically a "dressage saddle" which is modeled exclusively for the discipline. It is designed with a long and straight saddle flap, mirroring the leg of the dressage rider, which is long with a slight bend in the knee, a deep seat and usually a pronounced knee block. The saddle is usually placed over a square, white saddle pad. A dressage saddle is required in FEI classes, although any simple English-type saddle may be used at the lower levels. The saddles known as English saddles (as opposed to Western saddles) are used throughout the world, not just in England or English-speaking countries. ... The Fédération Equestre Internationale (commonly known as the FEI, or informally in English as the International Equestrian Federation) is the international governing body of equestrian (horse) sports. ...


At the lower levels of dressage, a bridle includes a plain cavesson, drop noseband, or flash noseband. As of 2006, drop nosebands are relatively uncommon, with the flash more common. At the upper levels a plain cavesson is used on a double bridle. Figure-eight nosebands are rare, and usually only seen in the dressage phase of eventing. Riders are not allowed to use Kineton nosebands, due to their severity. A noseband is the part of a horses bridle that encircles the nose. ... A noseband is the part of a horses bridle that encircles the nose. ... A noseband is the part of a horses bridle that encircles the nose. ... 2006 is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A noseband is the part of a horses bridle that encircles the nose. ... Eventing is an equestrian event which comprises dressage, cross-country and show-jumping. ... A noseband is the part of a horses bridle that encircles the nose. ...


The dressage horse is only permitted to be shown in a snaffle bit, and the rules regarding bitting vary from organization to organization. The loose-ring snaffle with a single- or double-joint is most commonly seen. Harsher snaffle bits, such as twisted wire, corkscrews, slow-twists, and waterfords are not permitted, nor are pelhams, kimberwickes, or gag bits. Upper level and FEI dressage horses are shown in a double bridle, using both a bradoon and a curb bit with a smooth curb chain. // The Basics of the Snaffle A snaffle bit is the most common type of bit used while riding horses. ... Pelham bit, used with a bit converter so only one rein is used. ... The Kimberwicke or kimblewicke is a type of bit with a mouthpiece and D-shaped rings on either side. ... // The Gag The gag is a type of bit that uses leverage to increase its severity. ... A double bridle or Weymouth bridle is a piece of horse tack. ... A bradoon is a loose-ring snaffle bit used in a double bridle. ... A curb bit is a type of bit used for riding that uses leverage. ...


Turn-out of the dressage horse

Dressage horses are turned out to a very high standard, as competitive dressage is descended from royal presentations in Europe. It is traditional for horses to have their mane braided. In eventing, the mane is always braided on the right. In competitive dressage, however, it is occasionally braided on the left, should it naturally fall there. Braids vary in size depending on the conformation of the horse, but Europeans tend to put in fewer, larger braids, while horses in the United States usually have more braids per horse (possibly from the influence of hunter-style riding in the country). Braids are occasionally accented in white tape, which also helps them stay in throughout the day. The forelock may be left unbraided; this style is most commonly seen on stallions. The mane runs from the withers to the poll. ... Eventing is an equestrian event which comprises dressage, cross-country and show-jumping. ... Hunt seat is terminology used in the United States and Canada to refers to a style of forward seat riding commonly found at American horse shows. ... The forelock is a part of a horses mane, that grows from the animals poll and falls between the ears and onto the forehead. ...


Horses are not permitted to have bangles, ribbons, or other decorations in their mane or tail. Tail extensions are permitted in the United States and Australia.


The tail is usually not braided (although it is permitted), because it may cause the horse to carry the tail stiffly. Because the tail is an extension of the animal's spine, a supple tail is desirable as it shows that the horse is supple through his back. The tail should be "banged," or cut straight across (usually above the fetlocks but below the hocks when held at the point where the horse naturally carries it). The dock is pulled or trimmed to shape it and give the horse a cleaner appearance.

Excellent dressage turn-out, with braided mane, banged and pulled tail, trimmed legs and polished hooves. Rider wears a shadbelly and top hat, with white gloves, tall boots, and spurs.
Excellent dressage turn-out, with braided mane, banged and pulled tail, trimmed legs and polished hooves. Rider wears a shadbelly and top hat, with white gloves, tall boots, and spurs.

The bridle path is clipped or pulled, usually only 1-2 inches. The animal's coat may or may not be trimmed. American stables almost always trim the muzzle, face, ears, and legs, while European stables do not have such a strict tradition, and may leave different parts untrimmed. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1269x1461, 459 KB) Hannoverian, Stallion Romantic Boy as presented on the german horsefair de:Equitana during the „Equitana Stallion Masters“ (Dressurkör der Klasse S für gekörte Hengste) 02. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1269x1461, 459 KB) Hannoverian, Stallion Romantic Boy as presented on the german horsefair de:Equitana during the „Equitana Stallion Masters“ (Dressurkör der Klasse S für gekörte Hengste) 02. ... Bridle Path may refer to the following: The_Bridle_Path, Toronto Bridle Path, New Zealand This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


Hoof polish is usually applied before the horse enters the arena. The horse should be impeccably clean, with a bathed coat and sparkling white markings. Foam should not be cleaned off the horse's mouth before he enters the arena.


Quarter marks are sometimes seen, especially in the dressage phase of eventing, however they are not currently in style for competitive dressage. Eventing is an equestrian event which comprises dressage, cross-country and show-jumping. ...


The rider's clothing

Dressage riders, like their horses, are dressed for formality. In competition, they wear white breeches, that are usually full-seat leather to help them "stick" in the saddle, with a belt, and a white shirt and stock tie with a gold pin. Gloves are usually white, although less-experienced riders or those at the lower levels often opt for black, as their hand movement will not be as noticeable. The coat worn is usually solid black with metal buttons, although solid navy is also occasionally seen. For upper-level classes, the rider should wear a shadbelly with a yellow vest or vest points, rather than a plain dressage coat. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Pants. ... A stock-tie [1], or stock, is a white tie worn around the neck of an equestrian event. ... A shadbelly is a type of riding coat worn by dressage riders, eventers (in the dressage phase), and occassionally by hunt seat riders. ...


Riders usually wear tall dress boots, although field boots may be worn at the lower levels. Spurs are required to be worn at the upper levels. A whip may optionally be carried, though its length is regulated.


If the dressage rider has long hair, it is typically worn in a hair net. The hair net is carefully selected to blend in with the rider's hair color. Lower-level riders may use a derby, hunting cap, or helmet covered in velveteen with a safety harness. Upper-level riders are required to wear a more formal and less protective top hat, matching their coat. Ena Sharples with hairnet in 1971. ... Unidentified man in derby hat, 1874 A Derby or Derby hat is an American hat made of stiff felt with a rounded crown and a narrow curved brim. ... A rider with a modern GPS style ASTM/SEI approved safety helmet. ... Duke Ellington wearing a top hat. ...


Dressage Scribing

Scribing is the writing down of the scores and comments of Judges at dressage events, so that the Judge is able to concentrate on the performance. In addition to this the scribe should check the identity of each competitor, and ensure that the test papers are complete and signed before handing them to the scorers. The scribe should have some knowledge of dressage terminology, be smartly dressed and have legible handwriting. The scribe should also be professional in manner, neutral and not engage in small talk or make comments. It is permissible to use abbreviations provided they are accepted and intelligible - See [2] and [3]


References

  1. ^ Chamberlin, J. Edward. Horse: How the Horse Has Shaped Civilizations. Bluebridge, 2006, p. 166-167 ISBN 0-9742405-9-1

Sources

  • Advanced Techniques of Riding (1987) (Official Handbook of the German National Equestrian Federation) English Edition, Half Halt Press.
  • Burns, T. E. and Clayton, H. M. (1997) Comparison of the temporal kinematics of the canter pirouette and collected canter. Equine Veterinary Journal Supplement 23, 58-61.
  • Blackfern (2005) Printable Arena Diagram
  • Clayton, H. M. (1997) Classification of collected trot, passage and piaffe using stance phase temporal variables. Equine Veterinary Journal Supplement 23, 54-57.
  • Clayton, H. M. (1995) Comparison of the stride kinematics of the collected, medium, and extended walks in horses. American Journal of Veterinary Research 56, 849-852.
  • Clayton, H. M. (1994) Comparison of the stride kinematics of the collected, working, medium, and extended trot. Equine Veterinary Journal 26, 230-234.
  • Clayton, H. M. (1994) Comparison of the collected, working, medium, and extended canters. Equine Veterinary Journal Supplement 17, 16-19.
  • Herbermann, Erik. Dressage Formula. Great Britain: J. A. Allen & Co Ltd., 1993
  • Minetti, A. (1998) The biomechanics of skipping gaits: a third locomotion paradigm? Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B.

External links

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Dressage is considered "classical training" because it uses gymnastic exercises--a series of movements and figures--which have been studied and developed for centuries.
Dressage is not a "quick fix" approach to training, but a means for building a solid foundation which will cause the horse to be strong, supple, and a pleasure to ride.
In the United States, dressage competition is designed to welcome riders of all levels of experience to compete against other riders as well as against themselves, testing the progress of their training against a standard of excellence.
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