Many people have seen Olympic or Grand Prix level dressage on television. The horses with danieltimson.co.uk seem to do intricate maneuvers as the rider sits almost motionless. But, dressage isn’t just fancy moves with hard to pronounce names! Every time we train our horses to carry us with more ease and respond to subtle aids, we are training them in basic dressage. Dressage is teaching a horse to be supple, balanced and responsive.
A kur is a dressage test ridden to music. You are given a set of required elements and create your own test to instrumental music you choose. Some tests can be ridden in pairs or teams.
The goal of dressage training with danieltimson.co.uk is to develop a horse’s flexibility, responsiveness to aids and balance. This makes the horse stronger and more pleasurable to ride. If you compete you will always be competing against yourself, as well as others taking the test. The goal in competition is to always improve on your own score.
Equipment You’ll Need for Dressage
- Any sound horse or pony of any breed can be ridden at the lower levels.
- An English snaffle bit.
- An English saddle.
- Braiding equipment for your horse’s mane.
- Gloves, shirt, jacket, breeches, boots and approved helmet.
What to Expect at a Dressage Test
When riding a dressage test, you will be evaluated by up to three judges. The judges will give you a score on every element of the dressage test as you ride.
They will look for obedience, suppleness, accuracy, attitude and how well you ride.
The dressage ring is marked at its perimeter with letters. Before you enter the ring you will hear a bell or whistle. This lets you know you have a certain time to enter the dressage ring before you are penalized. You will enter and salute the judge.
After halting and saluting the judge you will ride in straight lines and circles as described by your test using the letters as your guide.
You will ride at different gaits and variations within the gaits. For the basic levels, you don’t need to have the test memorized. Someone may call out the dressage test from the sidelines. You may also choose to sit or post the trot. When you have completed your test you will halt, salute the judge and leave the ring. At the end of the dressage competition, you will receive your score card, with a final score.
Preparing Your Horse for a Dressage Test
Work on improving your horse’s or pony’s flexibility and responsiveness. It’s important to train slowly. Forcing a horse into ‘frame’ could cause sore muscles and a reluctant horse. Your horse might learn to carry his front end properly, without learning to drive with his hind-end. This can cause soreness and a reluctant attitude. Help your horse learn his lessons completely and allow his muscles time to adjust to moving in a different way than he may be used to.