…Why Dressage?

Unfortunately, there seems to be some misapprehension amongst English riders as to the nature of “School Riding”. More often than not it is confounded with “Haute Ecole”; some even go so far as to call it “trick riding”. It is nothing of the sort. Ordinary “School Riding” is the fundamental education of both rider and horse; it is, if I may be allowed to coin a phrase, the Grammar School for man and mount alike, and it is regarded as such by practically every Continental horseman, no matter what his particular “horsey” creed.  There are even trainers of racehorses, especially hurdlers and steeplechasers, who take pupils regularly to school (it need not always be a covered one) during the off-season, to make them “handy” and obedient, or to break them of bad habits, such as rushing their fences, storming away, being difficult to turn, ets. Ordinary School Riding comprises all forward movements in all three gaits, all turns, and side-steps, and the rein back, as well as all those “exercises” and “lessons” which help to develop suppleness and complete obedience in the horse. (F.W. Schiller, 1937)