Dressage refers to the organized development of the horse as well as its rider, which results to a harmonious team. During the initial stages, dressage aid the horse and the rider to somehow communicate and improve their flexibility, balance, accuracy, and strength. Because of these benefits, dressage is commonly used by horse riders who participate in competitive sports, in order to enhance the performance of their horse, as well as their own mount.
In addition, dressage can also develop the ability of the horse to use its body in a way that will make him appear light and floating through the arena. At the highest level, the horse and the rider will also communicate so subtly that it seems like the horse is moving on its own without the guidance of the rider. When the hose and the rider become skilled in dressage, the team will be able to make more advanced forms of movements, including passages, extended gaits, pirouettes, piaffes, and lateral movements.
There are some dressage tests which are aimed to showcase the abilities of the horse and evaluate the training level. The tests involve a given series of movements that the horse and the rider must perform, and the various levels of these dressage tests increase in difficulty.
For the lower and middle levels, the tests were created by the USAEquestrian, which is a governing body for the equestrian sport. On the other hand, the more advanced and challenging tests for higher level horses were devised by an international association called FEI. Lastly, the Grand Prix Special Test, Grand Prix, and Musical Freestyle are used by those who participate in the Olympic competitions.
When giving scores for the tests, the judges take into consideration several factors, including the balance, rhythm, accuracy, tempo, relaxation, submission, consistency, and energy. The way the horse moves and the rider’s position are also important aspects of scoring. Finally, it is also important that the movements of the horse are technically correct, in order to obtain a high score.