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.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Classical Dressage

Horsemanship is a living art similar to ballet and singing. Living arts survive by the right advocacy of their practicioners. If one generation deviates from the inherited successful (classical) standards, a living art can be derailed temporarily or lost permanently. Equestrians are the custodians of a living art, and it is the duty of each generation of instructors to aquire a thorough knowledge of horsemanship and Not to reinvent it. This art is based on science. It must be understood by the mind and by the function of the human intellect. To become an equestrian, one must take a stance in life, showing devotion and commitment to the horse by practicing the classical principals of horsemanship simply because they are the ones proven to have worked.
Charles de Kunffy


  1. Wonderful!! I am a believer!!! -- andrea

  2. Fortunately, despite there are the " derailers" there are also a significant bunch of true and committed advocates.
    Let us then, be aggresively active, to make sure that we prevail on a huge commercial atmosphere.- Maggie Batievsky