Have you ever felt like riding your horse was a little like dancing? In dressage, horse and rider very much dance together. Dressage tests are demanding and difficult to perform, but when done well, they showcase a horse’s movement and a rider’s skill in a beautiful dance.
But getting to the point where riding is a dance? That takes work. A rider’s aides are supposed to be seamless, and horses don’t always agree with what we’re asking them to do. Being able to dance with a horse takes time, extensive training, and dedication. And a little bit of skill always helps, too.
Dressage, according to Dressage Academy, creates a synergistic relationship between horse and rider. A good dressage horse and rider can communicate seamlessly with each other. It looks like the horse is performing amazing movements, and like the rider is just along for the ride. Of course, the rider is actually much more engaged, but a great rider can make dressage look easy.
Classical dressage was founded over 2,000 years ago, and many of its principles are still present in the dressage training of today. Riders and horses gradually advance through different training levels, but they are tested at each level with dressage shows and competitions. During shows, riders and horses perform dressage tests consisting of various movements. They are scored on each movement on a scale of 1-10, with the 10 meaning that the movement was excellent.
In the sport of dressage, the details matter. Horses and riders may spend endless time perfecting movements such as the walk or the halt. When every movement and transition matters to your overall score, you have to learn how to get the best out of yourself and your horse on a consistent basic.
Dressage riders aren’t afraid of a challenge. With years of training and countless hours in the saddle, riders are sometimes lucky enough to experience the feeling of truly dancing with their horses.