Guide to Dressage Riding: Simple Explanations for a Complex Sport

Dressage is a true partnership between a horse and rider, and its principals set the foundations for all other forms of riding. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about this complex and beautiful sport...

Dressage is “the art of riding and training a horse in a manner that develops obedience, flexibility, and balance.” In the competition arena, dressage tests a horse’s ability to respond to subtle cues from its rider and perform a series of individual movements in a specific pattern.

The 5 Constants of Dressage

The quality of a rider’s success can be measured with these five basic principles (and how well his horse achieves them): Acceptance, Calmness, Purity, Straightness, and Forwardness.

The 5 Variables of Dressage

These fundamentals are called variables because they are required in variable amounts, depending on the test: Direction, Speed, Balance, Timing, Impulsion.

Dressage Levels

There are four basic levels of dressage: Novice, Elementary, Medium, and Advanced. Now, technically there are many levels in between these main four – with varying degrees of difficulty and requirements