This is a place for all things dressage.
The foundation of our sport is in the classical training of horses. Horses in the military, were trained to demonstrate suppleness and obedience for maneuvers on the battlefield. Later the focus of the training was to demonstrate the horse and rider’s talents during performances for royalty or military parades.
Dressage training of horses forms the basis of all equestrian pursuits. This is true for the rider as well as her horse. Dressage training creates the foundation for allowing the horse to be a willing partner. The horse, in Dressage, is not coerced into action, but submits to the rider’s aids readily. The best Dressage riding appears effortless and the horse seems to be responding to imperceptable commands.
A welll ridden Dressage test will flow smoothly. The rider looks like she is doing very little, and required figures within the test are ridden with dead accuracy and the horse is focused, engaged and disciplined. This gives our sport the look of effortlessness.
It can be hard work, making a 700kg warmblood look smooth, instantly responsive, light and supple, loose and forward during an hour lesson. Most riders will agree that after a training session, we do actually work up a sweat.
We may be a small dressage community in Calgary, but we are fortunate to have many good coaches, trainers and barns that embrace our sport. There has been a movement of late within the eventing and show-jumping communities to come back to dressage training to learn from us the ways to balance, engage and get the half-halt through. While talking with riders of those disciplines, they say that the jumping courses are getting more technical all the time. The height of jumping courses are maximized, so it seems course designers are adding more difficulty with distances between the jumps, adding tighter turns and the like. Dressage training can help school the horses in accepting the half-halt between fences to make a critical distance work. Certainly a well balanced horse should be able to take a jump rounder than one which is on the forehand. I have seen collected work at the canter improve tight turns in a jumper.
This being said we don’t experience our sport in a vaccume. We as Dressage enthusiast have a lot to share with other disciplines. I hope this site offers opportunities for learning, sharing and expanding the reach of the Calgary Dressage community.