Dressage 101

Hello and hi. Are you enjoying the Olympics? Hope so. Did you happen to catch any athletes in the dressage competition? If you are anything like me (and I hope you are) you watched this so-called sport with acute fascination and disbelief in equal measure. I have some thoughts on dressage. I hope you are ready for them. Ok, let’s do this.

  1. What on earth?
  2. The horse appears to be blindfolded-or rather, it has blinders on. Did the horse agree to this?
  3. The horse is prancing and lifting up alternating legs while doing so. Sometimes the horse does this moving sideways. Good grief.
  4. This prancing and moving sideways business is not normal horse behaviour. Come.On. I know it and the horse knows it too.
  5. This dressage appears to be an elitist sport. The Brazilian kids who live in the favela’s will probably never, ever compete in this sport. Ever.
  6. Do you even know how expensive it is to even own a horse? Have you noticed that several people will own a horse. Several RICH people. So not only does the horse have to move in strange lilting ways but you have to have the money to own/rent or buy this strange moving horse. This is NOT an Olympic sport…this is a lifestyle choice.
  7. And what is up with that uniform? After dressage, will the person work the night shift at a fancy hotel? Lordy.

I have a friend, who like me, thinks this sport is simply ridiculous. He thinks a better sport would be to have HUMANS prancing about with pointed toes and then get scored accordingly. And maybe, just maybe, it would be the horses who are the judges..let’s hope they don’ have their blinders on.

Dressage 101

All that silliness aside. Here is some background information on dressage. Knowledge is power, people.  Dressage is a French term-when translated, means ‘training.’ It is a highly skilled form of riding performed in exhibition and competition, as well as an ‘art’ sometimes pursued soley for the sake of mastery. Oh my. That sort of ‘art’ I can do without. Come. On.

Dressage is an equestrian sport defined and described by the International Equestrian Federation “the highest expression of horse training, where horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predermined movements.”

Competitions are held at all levels from amateur to the Olympic Games and 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 maximising its potential as a riding horse. Say what? And while the above clearly came from the ‘horses’s mouth’ or rather the International Equestrial Federation-it is rubbish. I have seen a lot of horses in my day, and let me tell you-they want nothing more than an easy life. They simply want some hay and a bit of some cantering… but that is it. That nonsense prancing sideways thing is not for them. If you want to horse around, fine. Go. But horses are for fields.

Further, in dressage, you will find that the rider is relaxed, while the horse peforms ALL the requested movement. Well played, rider. Way to go. Slowclap.

Apparently, this discipline-this so-callled sport, has a rich history with ancient roots in the writings of Xenophon (An Athenian historian, soldier and student of Socrates). Modern dressage has evolved as an important equestrian pursuit since the Renaissance when Federico Grisone’s “The Rules of Riding” was published in 1550, the first treatise on equitation in over 1000 years since Xenophon’s On Horsemanship (available on Amazon. Or not)

There is a lot more I could say about dressage, but I have provided you with the basics here.  As for me, I am waiting for ostrich dressage in the upcoming Olympics. You read it here first, people. Yes, yes you did.




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