Dressage for the Good of the Horse
dressage can be translated, "fine training" - capriole, piaffe,
levade - yet itís more than that. It defines quality in
horsemanship at every stage, even at, and most importantly at,
the "lowest levels". Classical dressage is about aspiring to
perfection; perfect communication, perfect balance, perfect
coordination, perfect feel, perfect timing, perfect harmony.
Relentlessly striving to improve skill and understanding and
raising the bar, yet never being satisfied that we, as riders,
have truly achieved perfection on our part. We can always be
more subtle in our aiding. We can always have more feel.
However, this striving for perfection is not just so we can pat
ourselves on the back, thinking weíre somehow superior. It is
truly because when we strive to ride better, itís beneficial to
the horse. The purpose behind classical dressage is to improve
the experience for the horse. Characteristics of classical
dressage are, imperceptible aids given by the rider, precision
and light contact with the bit that results from gymnastically
increasing the bending and weight carrying ability of the
haunches and an obvious expression of enjoyment in the horse.
Horses that are strong enough and riders who are interested can
go on to the extremely collected movements and airs above the
ground. That said, most horses are not that strong, and many
riders are not interested in pursuing dressage to that extent,
however, they can still uphold classical values when they ride
their best for the good of their horses.