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Dressage



“A horse is a thing of such beauty...none will tire of looking at him as long as he displays himself in his splendour”
                                                Xenophon

 
Roughly translated from the French term for “training”, dressage is a highly technical and controlled equestrian discipline with roots that can be traced back to Ancient Greece. Many of the principles of classical dressage derive from the Greek general Xenophon’s work entitled On Horsemanship. Xenophon stressed the importance of harmony between horse and rider, and introduced the notion of being able to direct and control the horse with precision through the use of weight, seat and leg aids whilst leaving the hands free to carry weapons of war.

Classical dressage accentuates such notions, and its principles have carried through into modern or competitive dressage, whose governing body in the UK, British Dressage, states:
“The object of dressage is the harmonious development of the physique and ability of the horse. As a result it makes the horse calm, supple, loose and flexible, but also confident, attentive and keen, thus achieving perfect understanding with his rider.”

Whilst British Dressage oversees all of the nation’s affiliated competitions, dressage is a horse sport accessible to all levels from amateur to Olympic.  As popular with riding clubs as FEI riders, all dressage competitions are held under British Dressage rules, and are held in either a short (20 x 40 metre) or long (20 x 60 metre) arena. Each arena is clearly marked with the letters A-K-E-H-C-M-B-F (short)  or A-K-V-E-S-H-C-M-R-B-P-F (long), and has a centre line that runs from A to C holding the invisible markers of D-(L)-X-(I)-G, with X defining the central point. 

Each competitor is required to enter the arena individually and perform a set series of specific movements, known as a dressage test, in front of a judge who will reside at ‘C’ (or indeed multiple judges at the higher levels). The judge will award each movement with a score of 0 to 10, with 0 standing for “not executed” and 10 representing “excellent”. These scores are then added together to give a percentage, and the combination with the highest percentage wins. In affiliated dressage points are awarded in relation to the score, and as these points are accumulated the horse is progressed to the next level.
The difficulty of the dressage test depends on the level at which the horse is competing, and these start at Introductory, working up to Preliminary, Novice, Elementary, Medium, Advanced Medium, Advanced, Prix St. George, Intermediate I, Intermediate II and finally Grand Prix.

The latter four levels are of International standard and thus governed by the F.E.I. As horse and rider progress through the stages, the movements required within each test become more gymnastic and demanding, with lateral movements such as the leg yield and shoulder-in being introduced at elementary, until the likes of passage, piaffe and tempi changes are performed at Grand Prix.
Rules for permitted tack and equipment are strict in dressage competitions, with only the snaffle bit (and some of its variations) being allowed up to Elementary level, and a double bridle is permitted thereafter (and becomes compulsory in International PSG to Grand Prix tests). Here at
www.worldof-horses you will find a huge array of tack shops selling horse equipment suitable for dressage, as well as other related listings and news.
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Alden EquiCentre (Didcot, Horse Dressage)
Alden EquiCentre (Didcot, Horse Dressage)
Alden Equicentre has some of the best horse livery and training facilities in the UK, plus miles of outdoor rural riding along the Oxfordshire ridgeway and bridleways, without touching tarmac. With...
Longwood Equestrian Centre
Longwood Equestrian Centre
Welcome to our web site. Longwood has been established for over 30 years not only as a competition centre but as a B.H.S. Approved Riding School with on-site facilities including viewing gallery,...
Middleton Park Equestrian Centre Ltd  (Leeds, Horse Dressage)
Middleton Park Equestrian Centre Ltd (Leeds, Horse Dressage)
Middleton Park Equestrian Centre is situated on the edge of Middleton Park, making it a rural retreat 10 minutes from the cosmopolitan city of  Leeds in West Yorkshire. The Centre has developed...
Moorview Equestrian Centre (Darwen, Horse Dressage)
Moorview Equestrian Centre (Darwen, Horse Dressage)
Moorview Equestrian Centre, a British Horse Society and A.B.R.S. Horse Riding Centre of Excellence....Located in the heart of the Lancashire countryside. We have built up an enviable reputation...
Tiptree Equestrian Centre (Colchester, Horse Dressage)
Tiptree Equestrian Centre (Colchester, Horse Dressage)
We offer riding lessons on well schooled horses and ponies. All types of livery for your horse or pony are available and we hold regular shows and classes in dressage and show jumping and are...
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