When the friendly cashier at the gas station, prompted by my breeches and boots, asks what kind of horses I ride I avoid the embarrassing pantomime by lying and saying “jumping horses”. It is not that I want to lie but most everyone knows what jumping horses do. Trying to describe dressage to someone who has not been exposed to it is quite a challenge. If you have an explanation that sounds better than “dancing with your horse” please feel free to leave it in the comment box. It has occurred to me that when learning to ride as a child in England and Germany we were learning the concepts that are commonly known as dressage but we never really called it that specifically. We were learning riding or training or horsemanship, etc. The concepts were the same but it was, from my perspective, not so much its own identity. We didn’t talk about “dressage” as if it were separate from riding in general. It was training. It seems to have evolved into having a mystique and a sense of the unattainable. I am glad that there are still people like Theo vanBruggen, the site administrator at Topdressage.TV From what I can gather from the bulletin boards he is an accomplished creator of top dressage freestyle compositions. He regularly posts videos of top riders and horses from competitions around the world as well as inviting thought-provoking discussions of real substance. If the link I hope follows this sentence is the one I want it is of HansPeter Minderhoud riding the inexperienced ZiziTop….ZiziTop
This is, to me, a great reminder of what dressage is. It’s not all piaffe, passage, and top hats. Sometimes dressage is just “training”.