It’s been said that a good dressage horse seems to be dancing, and that’s just what this video exemplifies. Carl Hester and his mount, Nip Tuck, perform their winning dressage freestyle which sealed them a win at Olympia 2016.
What’s beautiful about this freestyle is the fact that Hester and Nip Tuck are so perfectly coordinated with the music. The music enhances the performance – which is already excellent – and Nip Tuck appears to be dancing along with the beat.
Dressage freestyle tests are perhaps the most entertaining dressage tests to watch. The performances are carefully paired with music chosen to match up with the horse’s tempo and the movements being performed. But that same factor which makes freestyles so entertaining also makes them incredibly challenge to plan and perform. Choose the wrong music or miss a transition and the whole performance can go down the drain.
According to Horse Collaborative, choosing them music may be the most important part of designing your freestyle. You should know what your horse’s average tempo is at each gait. The tempo is measured in beats per minute, and knowing your horse’s natural tempo will help you to choose a song which is the appropriate speed for him. Of course, you’ll need to do some editing and splicing of music, since your horse doesn’t stay at the same gait for the whole test.
Even once riders have found music that matches their horse’s natural tempo, training still plays an important role. Horses don’t always move at the same speed – sometimes your horse may be feeling lazier or more energetic – so being able to regulate and control your horse’s tempo is essential in performing a good freestyle.
Dressage freestyle tests can be works of art when done well, but a lot of hard work and planning goes into a successful freestyle test.