Dressage is a French word for training. In equestrianism, dressage refers to the development of the horse’s ability and cooperation to work. Dressage is also known as horse ballet. Just like a ballet dancer, the horse will perform in front of many people and a number of judges. Its every movement will be according to its rider’s request. Even though the horse will just be receiving commands, it must be able to perform effortlessly and seemingly on its own.
Dressage competitions transpire in arenas. These arenas come in two sizes – small and standard. A small arena measures around 20 meters by 40 meters while the standard one measures 20 meters by 60 meters. Arenas are furnished with letters. These letters represent the specific positions where the movements should start and end. Lower level or local competitions may simply require the participants to walk and trot. Moreover, the advanced levels will require more difficult movements from the participants.
Training the horse months before any competition is advisable. A training scale is needed in coaching or guiding the horse. This scale is pyramid-like with emphasis on rhythm and regularity at the base and collection on the top. In connection to this, every participating rider must train his horse in arenas and with the use of appropriate dressage supplies. Such preparation will help horses get used to moving correctly to specific positions around the arena.
Some riders think that having a good-looking horse is enough to win a competition. This is not true. Correct and diligent training is what will separate any horse from the others during a competition. Judges will scrutinize the difficulty of movement every competing horse is able to perform. More so, judges will declare the best performing horse and not the most groomed one.