Today dressage riding is the fastest growing equestrian sport
It’s no longer seen as unfashionable and simply ‘posing about on horses’, it is now recognised as correct training, good riding, and the basis for all other equestrian sports.
Every rider wants to try it and everyone dreams of emulating Anky van Grunsven and performing their own freestyle dressage to music.
So if you have decided you would like to try your hand (or hoof) at dressage riding. What do you need?
Firstly.., you don’t need a specialist horse.
The pure dressage horse, ie; The 17hh warmblood is not the horse for everyone and lets face it, if we’re honest,
most of us would be over-horsed on one.
Let’s assume you already have your own horse.
To compete at dressage, your horse has to be responsive to your aids; has to be happy and content in it’s work, and has to be open to further
When you perform a test, your horse should have a happy outlook and needs to be forward going enough that you don’t have to work too hard.
This leaves you time to concentrate on the test.
No matter what type of horse you have, it should be able to perform the lower levels of dressage, and most of us will never get beyond this.
Any standard of horse and rider can produce dressage to medium level with good training and management.
Do you only ride a pony?
Not a problem, there is no lower age or height limit for dressage.
In fact, many native breeds such as Welsh Cobs, have beautiful movement and natural rhythm.
This is a boon to any dressage rider and the larger native breeds have both the presence and intelligence to do dressage to a high level. It is an absolute pleasure to see a true native breed perform well in a dressage test.
So whatever horse or pony you have; they can do it.
Invest in a few dressage riding lessons.
Someone on the ground is invaluable when you try something new. Although this can be expensive, riding lessons, even once a month, can be highly beneficial.
See our riding schools and riding clubs lists for good facilities in your local area.
A qualified or experienced instructor can assess you and you horse together and spend time helping you to bond and improve.
It’s like learning to drive, we all pick up bad habits along the way, and we all need help to sort them out.
So if your horse is happy, content, supple and responsive, have a go at dressage riding.