Dressage is a competitive equestrian sport, defined by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) as “the highest expression of horse training”, where “horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements.”
Competitions are held at all levels from amateur to the World Equestrian Games.
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, the horse will respond smoothly to a skilled rider’s minimal aids. The rider will be relaxed and appear effort-free while the horse willingly performs the requested movement.
In dressage competition, successful training at the various levels is demonstrated through the performance of “tests”, prescribed series of movements ridden 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 is very good and is a high mark, while a competitor achieving all 6s (or 60% overall) should be considering moving on to the next level.
For more information go to www.dressagesa.com