Dressage"Dressage" is a French word that roughly translates as "training" - the basic training of all riding horses (and other animals, for that matter). Dressage and horse riding are among the world's oldest sporting activities.

Show jumpers, eventers, show hacks and pleasure horses all benefit from dressage training (often called "flat work"). Dressage training creates a horse that is more comfortable, safe and easy to ride.

In competitive dressage, riders progress through of tests of ever increasing difficulty. Each test is a set routine of movements designed to show the suppleness, obedience and strength of the horse. Judges award marks for the quality and precision of the performance and also give collective marks for horse and rider.


The object of dressage is the harmonious development of the physique and ability of the horse. As a result it makes the horse calm, supple, loose and flexible, but also confident, attentive and keen, thus achieving perfect understanding with the rider.

These qualities are revealed by:

  • the freedom and regularity of the paces;
  • the harmony, lightness and ease of the movements;
  • the lightness of the forehand and the engagement of the hind quarters, originating in a lively impulsion; and
  • the acceptance of the bridle with submissiveness throughout and without any tenseness or resistance.

The horse thus gives the impression of doing of its own accord what is required of it.

Confident and attentive the horse submits generously to the control of the rider, remaining absolutely straight in any movement on a straight line and bending accordingly when moving on curved lines.

Further information

This information kindly provided by Dessage NSW. For more information go to www.dressagensw.com.au or www.nsw.equestrian.org.au

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