What is Dressage?
Dressage is a French term meaning ‘training’ and its purpose is to develop the horse’s natural athletic ability and willingness to work making him calm, supple and attentive to his rider. In the discipline of Dressage, the horse and rider perform a series of predetermined movements. These are known as ‘movements’ or ‘figures’.
The arena in which these are performed is either 20m x 60m metres or in the case of the Dressage discipline in Eventing, a 20m x 40m arena. The arena has 12 lettered markers placed symmetrically around the arena. These letters mark where movements are to start and finish within a Dressage Test. These are also the points where changes of pace or change of rein will occur. A Dressage Test has to feature 3 different paces, these being walk, trot and canter.
It is very important that the transition between these are smooth. When an athlete reaches Grand Prix level, movements become more complicated and riders are required to do collected movements such as Piaffe and Passage. More about these movements below.
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DRESSAGE SOUTH AFRICA
President: Dianne Smith