Dressage is a horseback riding discipline that shows off the elegance and gracefulness of a horse through a predetermined course of movements. The purpose is to show a horse’s willingness to perform and obey and the rider’s ability to communicate with their horse.
Preparing For Your First Dressage Test
To compete in a dressage competition, you need to register for the division that matches your abilities. Once registered, you’ll receive the course movements to memorize. Instead of memorizing a path of horse jump roll tops like in a jumping competition, you will memorize what needs to be performed at specific letters placed around the arena. Be aware of the timing requirements for entering the arena, understand what you’re being judged on and enjoy receiving your first score.
Popular Dressage Movements
There are plenty of moves to learn in dressage, here are a few of the most common ones. A circle is a common move that shows the suppleness of a horse as you turn it around. Changing rein is when you change the direction of the horse by changing its bend. A counter canter move is when you lead your horse with the outside lead instead of the inside lead. Halting is when you stop your horse. A fantastic halt is when your horse stops with its feet square. When you ask your horse to move backwards, it’s called a rein back.
Lower level competitions don’t require special gear, but if you advance to higher levels you may consider purchasing a dressage saddle, pad and girth that are specifically designed for enhanced communication between the rider and the horse and increased mobility for the horse.
Learning dressage can be an exciting and fulfilling way to connect with your horse during training and shows while focusing on the relationship you are building together.
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