Date: 3rd July 2016
Location: Brook Farm Stables, Alresford Essex
Cost: £26 each per lesson
Rules: The team and individual competitions use the same result. There are three phases with the last only being used for the individual event. Dressage is a highly skilled form of riding performed both in exhibition and competition. The horse and rider are expected to perform a series of movements from memory. The horse should react smoothly to minimal comands from the rider. The competition consists of a series of individual tests with increasing levels of difficulty and are performed in an arena with letters positioned around to specify where movements are to take place. Judges score each movement on a basis appropriate to the skill of the test.
Olympic Gold Medal, London 2012:
Individual: Charlotte Dujardin, Great Britain
Team: Hester, Dujardin, Bechtolscheimer, Great Britain.
Sarah: It was surprisingly achievable to put together a beginners dressage performance. We were taught a routine that consisted of us moving the horse in different directions between letters hung around the arena, performing 's' shapes, walking the horse on loose reins, stopping at specified points and walking on again. We were also taught how to command the horse to walk sideways and turn 90 degrees on the front-foot. My horse Bella, and trainer Jo, showed lots of patience as I tried to remember the instructions, and at points it seemed Bella remembered more than I did.
Ellie: Dressage has been a really interesting lesson in the relationship between rider and horse. We have learnt more about how vital it is to be a relaxed rider, how precise and firm each command of the feet and hands needs to be and, specifically with Dressage, the finesse that you are looking to achieve with each detailed movement. Our routine was simple for our novice riding abilities but the result was very interesting to watch and to be involved in. The feeling of movement when Rudi walked sideways was particularly interesting and, being a fan of ceremony, I liked the end salute to the judge and the pat to the horse to say 'job well done'!