What is Dressage?
Dressage is a logical appreach to schooling horses.  As an equitation term, dressage means the gradual harmonious development of the horses's physical and mental condition with the aim to achieve improvement of its natural gaits & perfect understanding with its rider.

Dressage is a state of mind.  While physical self-discipline is required, the riders positive mental attitude and acquired knowledge and skill, guide his physical development. Much like learning to play a musical instrument and like striving for harmony with that instrument in and orchestra, dressage requires patience and skill, coupled with balance and rhythm.

Through the use of 'levels', the horse is trained in a regular, logical progression from easier to harder movements.  More is asked of the horse as it becomes mentally and physically ready to respond to those demands.  Each test consists of compulsory figures that are scored from 1-10.  Overall scores of 50% or better are considered good scores.  If scores are consistently 60% or better, riders should consider moving up to the next higher level.

is not a recognized level, but is the very beginning of dressage training.  As the title indicates, the horse is only judged at two gaits__the walk and trot.

Training Level
introduces the horse and rider to the basic principles of dressage and establishes that the correct foundation is being laid for training the dressage horse.  The green horse is required to move freely forward in working gaits in balance, while accepting the bit with relaxation, through gradual transitions and large 20 meter circles.  Tests 1 thru 4 are gradually more difficult.

First Level
establishes that the horse has become more balanced and supple than at training level with more activity of the haunches in working gaits, while consisitently stretching onto the bit.  This is demonstrated with smaller circles (10-15 meters), lengthened strides, change of lead through trot, and lateral yielding to the riders leg.
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What is Dressage?
Clinic Information...2002 Schedule...Cynthia Spalding, Instructor
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This page was last updated on: January 20, 2011