Dressage (/ˈdrɛsɑːʒ/ or /drɪˈsɑːʒ/; a French term, most commonly translated to mean "training") is a highly skilled form of riding performed in exhibition and competition, as well as an "art" sometimes pursued solely for the sake of mastery. As an equestrian sport defined by the International Equestrian Federation, dressage is "the highest expression of horse training" where "horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements."
Competitions are held at all levels from amateur to the Olympic Games and World Equestrian Games. Its fundamental purpose is to develop, through standardized progressive training methods, a horse's natural athletic ability and willingness to perform, thereby maximizing its potential as a riding horse. At the peak of a dressage horse's gymnastic development, the horse responds smoothly to a skilled rider's minimal aids. The rider is relaxed and appears effort-free while the horse willingly performs the requested movement.
The discipline has a rich history with ancient roots in the writings of Xenophon. Modern dressage has evolved as an important equestrian pursuit since the Renaissance when Federico Grisone's "The Rules of Riding" was published in 1550, the first treatise on equitation in over a thousand years since Xenophon's On Horsemanship. Much about training systems used today reflects practices of classical dressage.
In modern dressage competition, successful training at the various levels is demonstrated through the performance of "tests", prescribed series of movements ridden within a standard arena. Judges evaluate each movement on the basis of an objective standard appropriate to the level of the test and assign each movement a score from zero to ten – zero being "not executed" and 10 being "excellent". A score of 9 is very good and is a high mark, while a competitor achieving all 6s (or 60% overall) should be considering moving on to the next level.
An upper-level dressage competitor performing a working trot
|Highest governing body||International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI)|
|Team members||Individual and team at international levels|
|Equipment||Horse, appropriate horse tack|
|Venue||Arena, indoor or outdoor|
|Country or region||Worldwide|
All riding horses can benefit from use of dressage principles and training techniques. The most popular horse breeds seen at the Olympics and other international FEI competitions are warmblood horses bred for dressage.
There are two sizes of arenas, small and standard. Each has letters assigned to positions around the arena for dressage tests to specify where movements are to be performed. Cones with letters on them are positioned on the sidelines of the arena for reference as to where a movement is to be performed.
The small arena is 20 by 40 m (66 by 131 ft) and is used for the lower levels of eventing in the dressage phase, as well as for some pure dressage competitions at lower levels. Its letters around the outside edge, starting from the point of entry and moving clockwise, are A-K-E-H-C-M-B-F. Letters also mark locations along the "center line" in the middle of the arena. Moving down the center line from A, they are D-X-G, with X being directly between E and B.
The standard arena is 20 by 60 m (66 by 197 ft), and is used for tests in both pure dressage and eventing. The standard dressage arena letters are A-K-V-E-S-H-C-M-R-B-P-F. The letters on the long sides of the arena, nearest the corners, are 6 m (20 ft) in from the corners, and are 12 m (39 ft) apart from each other. The letters along the center line are D-L-X-I-G, with X again being halfway down the arena. There is speculation as to why these letters were chosen. Most commonly it is believed because the German cavalry had a 20 × 60-meter area in-between the barracks which had the letters posted above the doors.
As well as the center line, the arena also has two "quarter lines" which lie between the center line and the long side of the arena, however these are infrequently, if ever, used for competition except in a freestyle.
At the start of the test, the horse enters the arena at an opening at A. Ideally this opening is then closed for the duration of the test. However, this is not always logistically possible, particularly at smaller competitions with few volunteers.
Judges are registered through their national federation depending on the judge's experience and training, with the highest qualified being registered with the FEI for international competition. Judges are strictly regulated to ensure as consistent marking as possible within the limits of subjectivity, and in FEI competitions, it is expected that all judges' final percentage be within five percent of each other.
There is always a judge sitting at C, although for upper-level competition, there can be up to seven judges at different places around the arena — at C, E, B, K, F, M, and H — which allows the horse to be seen in each movement from all angles. This helps prevent certain faults from going unnoticed, which may be difficult for a judge to see from only one area of the arena. For example, the horse's straightness going across the diagonal may be assessed by judges at M and H.
Although the judge's positions are known by their closest letter, only C, B, & E are actually directly behind their respective marker, with the other judges being on the short sides (on a plane with C, and two metres in from the edge of the arena for M & H, and at the A end of the arena and five metres in from the long side of the arena for F & K) rather than on the longside where the letter would seem to indicate.
Dressage competitions consist of a series of individual tests with an increasing level of difficulty. The most accomplished horse and rider teams perform FEI tests, written by the international equestrian governing body called the Fédération Équestre Internationale or FEI. The highest level of modern competition is at the Grand Prix level. This is the level test ridden in the prestigious international competitions (CDIs), such as the Olympic games, Dressage World Cup, and World Equestrian Games. Dressage governed by the rules of the FEI include the following levels: "small tour" (Prix St. Georges and Intermediate I) Intermediate A, Intermediate B and "big tour" (Intermediate II, Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special).
In addition, there are four to six lower levels, occasionally more, regulated in individual nations by their respective national federation (such as the USDF in America, British Dressage, Dressage Australia etc.). The lower levels ask horses for basic gaits, relatively large circles, and a lower level of collection than the international levels. Lateral movements are not required in the earliest levels, and movements such as the leg yield, shoulder-in, or haunches-in are gradually introduced as the horse progresses, until the point at which the horse can compete in the FEI levels.
Apart from competition, there is the tradition of classical dressage, in which the traditional training of dressage is pursued as an art form. The traditions of the masters who originated Dressage are kept alive by the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria, Escola Portuguesa de Arte Equestre in Lisbon, Portugal, and the Cadre Noir in Saumur, France. This type of schooling is also a part of Portuguese and Spanish bullfighting exhibitions.
Dressage tests are the formalized sequence of a number of dressage movements used in competition. Although horses and riders are competing against each other, tests are completed by one horse and rider combination at a time, and horses and riders are judged against a common standard, rather than having their performance scored relative to the other competitors.
At the upper levels, tests for international competitions, including the Olympics, are issued under the auspices of the FEI. At the lower levels, and as part of dressage training each country authorizes its own set of tests. For example, in the US it is the United States Equestrian Federation and the United States Dressage Federation. In Great Britain, dressage is overseen by British Dressage. Pony Clubs also produce their own tests, including basic walk/trot tests which cater for child riders. The Annual Pony Club National Championships include a dressage element with very high level riders attending, most notable being Callum Barker (Emmanuel School) who is known for his Dressage skill and well groomed pony.
Each test is segmented into a number of sequential blocks which may contain one or more movements. Each block is generally scored between zero and ten on a scale such as the following:
Since 2011, all international tests, and some national tests have also allowed half marks (0.5 – 9.5) in all blocks.
Along with each mark a "comment" may be given, which can describe things a rider and horse lack during the movement, or what they have. Any of the definitions of each numeric mark can only be used in the comment if the mark corresponds with the definition
In addition to marks for the dressage movements, marks are also awarded for more general attributes such as the horse's gaits, submission, impulsion and the rider’s performance. Some segments are given increased weight by the use of a multiplier, or coefficient. Coefficients are typically given a value of 2, which then doubles the marks given for that segment. Movements that are given a coefficient are generally considered to be particularly important to the horse's progression in training, and should be competently executed prior to moving up to the next level of competition. The scores for the general attributes of gait, submission, impulsion, and rider performance mentioned above are scored using a coefficient.
Scribing (also known as pencilling or writing) is the writing down of the scores and comments of judges at dressage events so that the judge can concentrate on the performance. In addition to this, the scribe should check the identity of each competitor, and ensure that the test papers are complete and signed before handing them to the scorers. The scribe should have some knowledge of dressage terminology, be smartly dressed and have legible handwriting. The scribe should also be professional in manner, neutral and not engage in small talk or make comments. It is permissible to use abbreviations provided they are accepted and intelligible.
According to the United States Dressage Federation, "Anyone can volunteer at a schooling show to scribe. Schooling shows are not recognized as official shows but are a great way to practice riding tests or to learn to scribe for a judge. Once you have scribed at a schooling show and at the lower levels, you may ask to scribe at a recognized show and perhaps even the FEI levels of competition." Scribing or pencilling is also an integral part of a judge's training as they look to become accredited or upgrade to a higher level.
At the international level, dressage tests governed by the FEI are the Prix St. Georges, Intermediare I, Intermediare II, and Grand Prix. The dressage tests performed at the Olympic Games dressage competition are Grand Prix. This level of test demands the most skill and concentration from both horse and rider.
Movements included in Grand Prix dressage tests are:
Tests ridden at the Olympic Games are scored by a panel of seven international judges. Each movement in each test receives a numeric score from 0 (lowest) to 10 (highest) and the resulting final score is then converted into a percentage, which is carried out to three decimal points. The higher the percentage, the higher the score. However, in eventing dressage the score is calculated by dividing the number of points achieved by the total possible points, then multiplied by 100 (rounded to 2 decimal points) and subtracted from 100. Thus, a lower score is better than a higher score.
Olympic team medals are won by the teams with the highest combined percentages from their best three rides in the Grand Prix test.
Once the team medals are determined, horses and riders compete for individual medals. The team competition serves as the first individual qualifier, in that the top 25 horse/rider combinations from the Grand Prix test move on to the next round. The second individual qualifier is the Grand Prix Special test, which consists of Grand Prix movements arranged in a different pattern. For those 25 riders, the scores from the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special are then combined and the resulting top 15 horse/rider combinations move on to the individual medal competition—the crowd-pleasing Grand Prix Freestyle to Music (Kür).
For their freestyles, riders and horses perform specially choreographed patterns to music. At this level, the freestyle tests may contain all the Grand Prix movements, as well as double canter pirouettes, pirouettes in piaffe, and half-pass in passage. For the freestyle, judges award technical marks for the various movements, as well as artistic marks. In the case of a tie, the ride with the higher artistic marks wins.
Competitive dressage training in the U.S. is based on a progression of six steps developed by the German National Equestrian Foundation. This system is arranged in a pyramid or sequential fashion, with “rhythm and regularity” at the start of the pyramid and “collection” at the end. The training scale is helpful and effective as a guide for the training of any horse, but has come to be most closely associated with dressage. Despite its appearance, the training scale is not meant to be a rigid format. Instead, each level is built on as the horse progresses in training: so a Grand Prix horse would work on the refinement of the first levels of the pyramid, instead of focusing on only the final level: “collection.” The levels are also interconnected. For example, a crooked horse cannot develop impulsion, and a horse that is not relaxed will be less likely to travel with a rhythmic gait. However, this training scale as presented below is a translation from the German to the English. As such, it is possibly not as accurate as it could be. It has been suggested, for example, that Losgelassenheit might be more accurately translated as "Suppleness."
Rhythm, gait, tempo, and regularity should be the same on straight and bending lines, through lateral work, and through transitions. Rhythm refers to the sequence of the footfalls, which should only include the pure walk, pure trot, and pure canter. The regularity, or purity, of the gait includes the evenness and levelness of the stride. Once a rider can obtain pure gaits, or can avoid irregularity, the combination may be fit to do a more difficult exercise. Even in the very difficult piaffe there is still regularity: the horse "trots on the spot" in place, raising the front and hind legs in rhythm.
The second level of the pyramid is relaxation (looseness). Signs of looseness in the horse may be seen by an even stride that is swinging through the back and causing the tail to swing like a pendulum, looseness at the poll, a soft chewing of the bit, and a relaxed blowing through the nose. The horse makes smooth transitions, is easy to position from side to side, and willingly reaches down into the contact as the reins are lengthened.
Contact—the third level of the pyramid—is the result of the horse’s pushing power, and should never be achieved by the pulling of the rider’s hands. The rider encourages the horse to stretch into soft hands that allow the horse to lift the base of the neck, coming up into the bridle, and should always follow the natural motion of the animal’s head. The horse should have equal contact in both reins.
The pushing power (thrust) of the horse is called impulsion, and is the fourth level of the training pyramid. Impulsion is created by storing the energy of engagement (the forward reaching of the hind legs under the body).
Proper impulsion is achieved by means of:
Impulsion can occur at the walk, trot and canter. It is highly important to establish good, forward movement and impulsion at the walk, as achieving desirable form in the trot and canter relies heavily on the transition from a good, supple, forward walk.
Impulsion not only encourages correct muscle and joint use, but also engages the mind of the horse, focusing it on the rider and, particularly at the walk and trot, allowing for relaxation and dissipation of nervous energy.
A horse is straight when the hind legs follow the path of the front legs, on both straight lines and on bending lines, and the body follows the line of travel. Straightness allows the horse to channel its impulsion directly toward its center of balance, and allows the rider’s hand aids to have a connection to the hind end. When working on straightness in the horse, a common exercise is used called 'shoulder in'. The exercise is the beginning of straightness in the horse as well as collection and can increase impulsion in the horse.
At the apex of the training scale stands collection. It may refer to collected gaits: they can be used occasionally to supplement less vigorous work. It involves difficult movements (such as flying changes) in more advanced horses. Collection requires greater muscular strength, so must be advanced upon slowly. When in a collected gait, the stride length should shorten, and the stride should increase in energy and activity.
When a horse collects, more weight moves to the hindquarters. Collection is natural for horses and is often seen during pasture play. A collected horse can move more freely. The joints of the hind limbs have greater flexion, allowing the horse to lower the hindquarters, bringing the hind legs further under the body, and lighten and lift the forehand. In essence, collection is the horse's ability to move its centre of gravity to the rear.
The "school jumps," or "airs above the ground," are a series of higher-level classical dressage movements where the horse leaves the ground. These include the capriole, courbette, the mezair, the croupade, and levade. None are used in modern competitive dressage, but are performed by horses of various riding academies, including the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Escola Portuguesa de Arte Equestre in Lisbon, Portugal, and the Cadre Noir in Saumur. Baroque horse breeds such as the Andalusian, Lusitano and Lipizzan are most often trained to perform the "airs" today, in part due to their powerfully conformed hindquarters, which allow them the strength to perform these difficult movements.
There is a popular belief that these moves were originally taught to horses for military purposes, and indeed both the Spanish Riding School and the Cadre Noir are military foundations. However, while agility was necessary on the battlefield, most of the airs as performed today would have actually exposed horses' vulnerable underbellies to the weapons of foot soldiers. It is therefore more likely that the airs were exercises to develop the agility, responsiveness and physiology of the military horse and rider, rather than to be employed in combat.
The earliest practitioner who wrote treatises that survive today that describe sympathetic and systematic training of the horse was the Greek general Xenophon (427–355 BC). Despite living over 2000 years ago, his ideas are still widely praised. Beginning in the Renaissance a number of early modern trainers began to write on the topic of horse training, each expanding upon the work of their predecessors, including Federico Grisone (mid-16th century), Antoine de Pluvinel (1555–1620), William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle (1592–1676), François Robichon de La Guérinière (1688–1751), François Baucher (1796–1873), and Gustav Steinbrecht (1808–1885). The 20th century saw an increase in writing and teaching about Dressage training and techniques as the discipline became an international sport with the influence of Olympic Equestrian competition.
The rules on permitted cavessons (nosebands) saddles, saddle pads, etc., are subject to change and do change as more and more styles and stylish equipments are introduced into the marketplace. Dressage horses are shown in minimal tack. They are not permitted to wear boots (including hoof or bell boots) or wraps (including tail bandages) during the test, nor are they allowed to wear martingales or training devices such as draw or running reins or the gogue anywhere on the showgrounds during the competition. Due to the formality of dressage, tack is usually black leather, although dark brown is seen from time to time.
An English-style saddle is required for riding dressage, specifically a "dressage saddle" which is modeled exclusively for the discipline. It is designed with a long and straight saddle flap, mirroring the leg of the dressage rider, which is long with a slight bend in the knee, a deep seat and usually a pronounced knee block. Dressage saddles have longer billets and use shorter girth than other types of English saddles to minimize the straps and buckles underneath the rider's legs. The saddle is usually placed over a square, white saddle pad. Colored trim on the white saddle pad is permitted. A dressage saddle is required in FEI classes, although any simple English-type saddle may be used at the lower levels.
At the lower levels of dressage, a bridle includes a plain cavesson, drop noseband, or flash noseband. Currently, drop nosebands are relatively uncommon, with the flash more common. At the upper levels a plain cavesson is used on a double bridle. Figure-eight (also called Grackle) nosebands are not allowed in pure dressage, however they are allowed in the dressage phase of eventing. Riders are not allowed to use Kineton nosebands, due to their severity. Beads and colored trim are permitted along the brow band of the bridle.
The dressage horse at lower levels is only permitted to be shown at recognized competitions in a snaffle bit, though the detail regarding bitting varies slightly from organization to organization. The loose-ring snaffle with a single- or double-joint is most commonly seen. Harsher snaffle bits, such as twisted wire, corkscrews, slow-twists, and waterfords are not permitted, nor are pelhams, kimberwickes, or gag bits. Upper level and FEI dressage horses are shown in a double bridle, using both a bradoon and a curb bit with a smooth curb chain.
Dressage horses are turned out to a high standard. It is usual for horses to have their manes braided (also known as plaited). In eventing, the mane is preferred to be braided on the right; in competitive dressage, however, it is occasionally braided on the left, should it naturally fall there. Braids vary in size, but Europeans tend to put in fewer, larger braids, while Americans tend to have more smaller braids per horse. Braids are occasionally accented in white tape, which also helps them stay in throughout the day. The forelock may be left unbraided; this style is most common with stallions. Braids are held in place by either yarn or rubber bands. It is a common misconception that a dressage horse must be braided, however this is not the case, and some riders may choose for various reasons not to braid.
Horses are not permitted to wear "visual enhancements" that might be considered distracting, or that might influence the judge's perception of the horse. Bangles, ribbons, or other decorations are not allowed in the horse's mane or tail. Competitors are not allowed to use black hoof polish on white hooves. Tail extensions are permitted in some countries, but not in FEI-sanctioned competitions.
The tail is usually not braided (although it is permitted), because it may cause the horse to carry the tail stiffly. Because the tail is an extension of the animal's spine, a supple tail is desirable as it shows that the horse is supple through its back. The tail should be "banged", or cut straight across (usually above the fetlocks but below the hocks when held at the point where the horse naturally carries it). The dock is pulled or trimmed to shape it and give the horse a cleaner appearance.
The bridle path is clipped or pulled, usually only 1–2 inches. The animal's coat may be trimmed. American stables almost always trim the muzzle, face, ears, and legs, while European stables do not have such a strict tradition and may leave different parts untrimmed.
Clear hoof polish may be applied before the horse enters the arena. The horse is thoroughly clean. The horse's saliva often forms "foam" about the horse's lips, which is generally considered to be a sign of the horse's submission and acceptance of the bit. Some riders believe that foam should not be cleaned off the horse's mouth before entering the arena due to it being a sign of submission. Conversely, some riders choose to wipe the foam from their horses' mouths prior to entering the arena, as foam can land on the horses' chests and legs. It should be noted that the presence of foam does not necessarily indicate the horse's acceptance of the bit, as certain metals such as German silver may cause the horse's salivation to increase without full acceptance of the bit.
The turnout of a dressage horse is not taken into consideration in the marking of a test.
Dressage riders, like their horses, are dressed for formality. In competition, they wear white, cream or pale-coloured breeches, often full-seat leather to help them "stick" in the saddle, with a white shirt and stock tie with a small pin. Gloves are usually white, although less-experienced riders or those at the lower levels often opt for black, as white gloves tend to accentuate the movement of a less-experienced rider's unsteady hands. The coat worn is usually solid black with metal buttons, although solid navy is also seen. In upper-level classes, the riders wear a tailed jacket (shadbelly) with a yellow vest or vest points instead of a plain dressage coat.
Riders usually wear tall dress boots, although field boots or paddock boots with half chaps may be worn by riders at the lower levels. Spurs are required at the upper levels, and riders must maintain a steady lower leg for proper use. A whip may be carried in any competition except in a CDI or a national championship, and the length is regulated. Whips are not permitted in eventing dressage when entering space around arena or during the test for FEI events. Whips (no longer than 120 cm) are permitted in eventing dressage at any time for USEA tests, except USEF/USEA Championships and USEA Championship divisions.
If the dressage rider has long hair, it is typically worn in a bun with a hair net or show bow. A hair net blends in with the rider's hair color, whereas a show bow combines a barrette or hair tie with a small bow and thick hair net, and is usually black. Lower-level riders may use a derby, hunting cap, or ASTM/SEI-approved Equestrian helmet. In the United States, junior riders and riders through Fourth Level at recognized competitions are required to wear an ASTM/SEI approved helmet to protect against head trauma in the event of a fall. At the upper levels, a top hat that matches the rider's coat is traditionally worn, though use of helmets is legal and increasing in popularity.
At FEI competitions, members of the military, police, national studs, national schools and national institutes retain the right to wear their service dress instead of the dress required of civilian riders.
Theodora Elisabeth Gerarda "Anky" van Grunsven (born 2 January 1968) is a Dutch dressage champion who is the only rider to record three successive Olympic wins in the same event. Along with her Olympic successes, she has won numerous medals at the World Equestrian Games (WEG), and is the only rider to have competed at every WEG since they began in 1990. Between 1990 and 2006, she competed at the Games in dressage, but in 2010 she was named as part of the Dutch reining team, marking a major change in discipline.In addition to her Olympic and World Equestrian Games successes, van Grunsven holds the record for the most wins at the Dressage World Cup, winning the event nine times between 1995 and 2008. She has also competed numerous times at the European Dressage Championships, winning seven individual medals and eight team medals between 1991 and 2009. Although van Grunsven has ridden many horses over her career, she won the majority of her top events on two horses: Bonfire and Salinero. Bonfire, upon whom she had many of her early successes, was retired in 2002. Salinero quickly took over as van Grunsven's top horse, and remained in that position until his retirement in 2013, after making a major comeback to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games. Van Grunsven has been closely linked with the controversial training method rollkur, although she has moved to distance herself from the practice after it was banned from international competition.Charlotte Dujardin
Charlotte Susan Jane Dujardin, (born 13 July 1985) is a British elite dressage rider. The most successful British dressage rider in the history of the sport and the winner of all major titles and world records in the sport, Dujardin has been described as the dominant dressage rider of her era.Riding Valegro, Dujardin held the complete set of the available individual elite dressage titles; the individual Olympic freestyle, World freestyle and Grand Prix Special, World Cup individual dressage and European freestyle, and Grand Prix Special titles. Dujardin is the first, and to date only, rider to hold this complete set of titles at the same time.In addition, she forms part of the current Great Britain team for Team Dressage. She has also won Olympic and European Team Dressage championships with Great Britain.
With three gold medals and one silver medal, she is Great Britain's most successful Olympic equestrian.
Following the retirement of Valegro, Dujardin worked with a number of new horses. At the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games, on new nine year old mare Mount St John Freestyle, Dujardin won bronze medals in both Team Dressage and Individual Grand Prix Spécial.Classical dressage
Classical dressage evolved from cavalry movements and training for the battlefield, and has since developed into the competitive dressage seen today. Classical riding is the art of riding in harmony with, rather than against, the horse.
Correct classical riding only occurs when the rider has a good seat and a correct and well-balanced body position, moves with the horse's motion, and applies and times the aids correctly.Crop (implement)
A crop, sometimes called a riding crop or hunting crop, is a short type of whip without a lash, used in horse riding, part of the family of tools known as horse whips.Dressage World Championship
The Dressage World Championship is held every four years. The best horse and rider competitions in the world compete for individual and team titles. The Dressage World Championship is since 1990, held at the World Equestrian Games in conjunction with other equestrian world championships.Dressage World Cup
The FEI World Cup Dressage Final is an annual international dressage series involving the world's best dressage horses and riders. It has been held since 1985.English riding
English riding is a form of horse riding seen throughout the world. The term is a mis-leading portmanteau because many equestrian countries like Germany, France, Italy or Spain have used the same style of riding, with variations, for centuries. There are many variations, but all feature a flat English saddle without the deep seat, high cantle or saddle horn seen on a Western saddle nor the knee pads seen on an Australian Stock Saddle. Saddles within the various so-called English disciplines are all designed to allow the horse the freedom to move in the optimal manner for a given task, ranging from classical dressage to horse racing. English bridles also vary in style based on discipline, but most feature some type of cavesson noseband as well as closed reins, buckled together at the ends, that prevents them from dropping on the ground if a rider becomes unseated. Clothing for riders in competition is usually based on traditional needs from which a specific style of riding developed, but most standards require, as a minimum, boots; breeches or jodhpurs; a shirt with some form of tie or stock; a hat, cap, or equestrian helmet; and a jacket.
English riding is an equestrian discipline with many different styles, however, at the most basic level, most versions require riders to use both hands on the reins, rather than just one hand, as is seen in western riding. Riders generally "post" or "rise" to the trot (rising and sitting in rhythm with each stride). The "posting trot" is used most often in a working or extended trot, although there are also times when English riders may sit the trot; the "sitting trot" is most often used to ride collected forms of the trot seen in dressage, show hack and hunt seat equitation competition. The posting trot was an English invention which did not take on in other countries until the 19th century. It is said that Napoleon's campaigns from Russia to Spain were all done at a sitting trot.Equestrian at the 1936 Summer Olympics
The equestrian events at the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics included dressage, eventing, and show jumping. All three disciplines had both individual and team competitions. The host country, Germany, had a stellar year, winning both individual and team gold in every equestrian event, as well as individual silver in dressage. The competitions were held from 12 to 16 August 1936. Moderately priced tickets meant huge crowds at all equestrian events, with 15,000–20,000 spectators at any time during the dressage competition, 60,000 on the endurance day of eventing, and 120,000 for the Nations Cup in jumping.There were 127 riders total (133 entries) from 21 nations (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States). Seven countries (Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the USA) fielded 3-person teams for all three disciplines. Of those 127 riders, only two were civilians: a Dutch eventer and a jumper rider from Norway. The majority of horses were German (24/133) or French-bred (23/133), with 25 coming that were either British or Irish-bred (it is thought 17 from Ireland and 8 Britain), 8/133 US-bred (all on the US team, in addition to one French-bred horse), and the Japanese riders using 2 Japanese, 2 Australian, 1 British and 1 French-bred horse.Equestrian at the 1960 Summer Olympics
The equestrian events at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome included dressage, eventing, and show jumping. Eventing and show jumping presented both individual and team medals, dressage presented only individual medals. The competitions were held from 5 to 11 September 1960. 159 entries, including 8 women, competed from 30 nations: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Egypt, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Great Britain, Democratic Republic of Germany (GDR), Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Soviet Union, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Uruguay, and the USA. The youngest participant was Min Gwan-Gi from South Korea at 18 years old, while the oldest rider was Lilian Williams from Great Britain at 65 years old.Equestrian at the 1980 Summer Olympics
Equestrian at the 1980 Summer Olympics was represented by six events. All of them, with the exception of the Individual Jumping Grand Prix, were held in the Trade Unions' Equestrian Complex, which is situated in the Bitsa Forest Park (southern part of Moscow). Individual Jumping Grand Prix was held in the Grand Arena of the Central Lenin Stadium at Luzhniki (south-western part of Moscow).
Due to the boycott, only eleven nations competed in the equestrian events: Austria, Bulgaria, Guatemala, Finland, Hungary, India, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Romania, and the USSR. Therefore, only a few of the top riders in the world competed, including the Italian eventing team and the current European champion in dressage, Austrian Sissy Theurer. India also sent an eventing team, but all four of its riders were eliminated. There were only 68 entries total in the equestrian competition at the 1980 Olympics.Equestrian at the 2004 Summer Olympics
The events of the equestrian at the 2004 Summer Olympics featured three equestrian disciplines: dressage, eventing and jumping. All three disciplines are further divided into individual and team contests for a total of six events.
The Markopoulo Olympic Equestrian Centre, on the outskirts of Markopoulo in the Attica region of Greece, hosted the dressage and jumping events while the eventing took place in the nearby Eventing Park.Equestrian at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Equestrian competitions at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics were held from 9 August to 21 August at the Hong Kong Sports Institute and Sheung Yue River in Hong Kong. It was the second time the equestrian events were hosted by a member of the IOC other than the member hosting the main games. Unlike 1956, however, the equestrian events were part of the main games, and were held within the same period.Equestrian at the 2012 Summer Olympics
The equestrian events at the 2012 Olympic Games in London were held between 28 July and 9 August at Greenwich Park. Medals were awarded in three disciplines for both individual and team competitions.
Great Britain was the most successful nation, topping the medal table with three golds and five medals in total. They were particularly dominant in team events, taking two gold medals and a silver medal from three team events.Equestrian at the 2016 Summer Olympics
The equestrian events at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro were held between 6 and 19 August at National Equestrian Center in Deodoro. Medals were awarded in three disciplines for both individual and team competitions.Equestrian at the Summer Olympics
Equestrianism made its Summer Olympics debut at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. It disappeared until 1912, but has appeared at every Summer Olympic Games since. The current Olympic equestrian disciplines are Dressage, Eventing, and Jumping. In each discipline, both individual and team medals are awarded. Women and men compete together on equal terms.
Equestrian disciplines and the equestrian component of Modern Pentathlon are also the only Olympic events that involve animals. The horse is considered as much an athlete as the rider.
The International Governing Body for equestrian sports is the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI).
The 1924 Olympics were the first at which equestrian competitions were held under the authority of the FEI.European Dressage Championships
The European Dressage Championships are the European Championships for the equestrian discipline of dressage. They are now held every 2 years, in odd-numbered years. Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals are awarded in both an individual and team competition. There is also a Championship held for juniors, young riders, and ponies. Since the 2015, the competition has shared a site and branding with vaulting, reigning, jumping and driving, but for sponsor reasons not eventing, as the FEI European Championships, echoing the combined World Equestrian Games concept. The first official combined event took place in Aachen in 2015.Eventing
Eventing (also known as three day eventing or horse trials) is an equestrian event where a single horse and rider combination compete against other combinations across the three disciplines of dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. This event has its roots in a comprehensive cavalry test which required mastery of several types of riding. The competition may be run as a one-day event (ODE), where all three events are completed in one day (dressage, followed by show jumping then the cross country phase) or a three-day event (3DE), which is more commonly now run over four days, with dressage on the first two days followed by cross country the next day and then show jumping in reverse order on the final day. Eventing was previously known as Combined Training, and the name persists in many smaller organizations. The term "Combined Training" is sometimes confused with the term "Combined Test" which refers to a combination of just two of the phases, most commonly dressage and show jumping.Para-equestrian
Para-equestrian is an equestrian sport governed by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI), and includes two competitive events: One is para-equestrian dressage, which is conducted under the same basic rules as conventional dressage, but with riders divided into different competition grades based on their functional abilities. The other is para-equestrian driving, which operates under the same basic rules as combined driving but places competitors in various grades based on their functional abilities.Shadbelly
A shadbelly (North American English) is a type of riding coat worn in certain equestrian situations by fox hunting members, dressage riders, eventers (in the dressage phase of the higher levels), and occasionally by other hunt seat riders. Shadbellies are also standard attire for the show hack classes at certain breed shows in the United States and Canada.
This coat is considered an element of very formal riding attire, and its use is therefore reserved for the most formal forms of equestrianism. When used in the classic hunt, they should not be worn by youth riders, despite any trend or availability.