Thought that it might be prudent to have a reading selection for learning dressage, then I remembered I don’t read dressage books! Whooops.. probably shouldn’t admit that! The “L” judging program has a recommended reading list..usdf reading .. that has all the books they recommend for aspiring judges and instructors. I own them all and have poked through them a bit. Pretty dry reading for the most part. As far as reading goes, the best literature on this subject I can recommend is the USDF glossary of terms. I tried to find one online but it seems for the comprehensive list you should visit the USDF website and join! Here is the link..USDF …be sure to request the handbook as it has the glossary, list of competitions, scribing abbreviations, rules for the warm-up arena, etc. It has all the information you must know without all the esoteric blathering. Sounds elementary but just reading the straight definition of each movement and what defines each judging term will clarify exactly what is desired.
For educational (and fun!) purposes, auditing clinics, symposiums, and lessons are more relevant as dressage is typically a dynamic activity. In the Atlanta area alone I have ridden in or audited many great clinics, Conrad Schumacher, Col. Axel Steiner, Lisa Wilcox…the list goes on and on, and I am always surprised at the relatively small group of auditors that attend. Horseshows, too, lots to learn, not many spectators. If watching competition is a little slow going for you scribing is a great way to learn about riding and meet some interesting horsemen as well.
There are lots of good video series but they can be pricey. If you have a budget that allows for educational materials I like the website Dressageclinic.com Plenty of instruction to watch when you can’t be at the barn riding.
Riding is, of course, the activity most conducive to learning to ride. Whether your goals are competition or competent riding for pleasure you will learn exponentially more by spending your time with your horse instead of your books. There is nothing a person can write about horses that your horse can’t tell you better himself. So put up your books and go ride..your horse will never know.