Dressage (a French term meaning "training") is a path and destination of competitive horse training, with competitions held at all levels from amateur to the Olympics. 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, it can smoothly respond to a skilled rider's minimal aids by performing the requested movement while remaining relaxed and appearing effortless. Dressage is occasionally referred to as "Horse Ballet." Although the discipline has its roots in classical Greek horsemanship, mainly through the influence of Xenophon, dressage was first recognized as an important equestrian pursuit during the Renaissance in Western Europe. The great European riding masters of that period developed a sequential training system that has changed little since then and classical dressage is still considered the basis of trained modern dressage.

Early European aristocrats displayed their horses' training in equestrian pageants, but in modern dressage competition, successful training at the various levels is demonstrated through the performance of "tests," or prescribed series of movements 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 ten being "excellent." A score of nine (or "very good") is considered a particularly high mark, while a competitor achieving all sixes (or 60% overall) should be considering moving on to the next level.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fort Worth Dressage Club

Last weekend I spent the weekend in Forth Worth Texas teaching the FWDC's adult camp. Thank you to Teresa Deeter for taking such good care of me, and GOOD LUCK at the Regional finals this weekend!!
FWDC is a super group of dressage enthusiasts. I was definitly inspired by their energy and desire to learn. It is also fun to see a club like this that is able to make things happen for their members. The cost of the clinic was minimal because of fundraising done over the summer, in which members volunteer, and grants available from the Dressage Foundation. Their club is not super big, so it is easier to keep the members interests in mind............members interests in mind, food for thought!

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