Horse & Hound's dressage columnist backs the shorter grand prix trial and asks what we have to lose
Whether you’re looking for the latest dressage news, exclusive interviews with top dressage riders or opinions from influential names, Horse & Hound’s dressage hub is the place to be. Also keep in touch with our dressage bloggers’ diaries, get useful training tips, find out about the latest kit and clothing you’ll want to buy, and watch our recent dressage videos.
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What is dressage?
The sport of dressage involves horse and rider performing a pre-set pattern of movements appropriate to their current level of training. In freestyle competitions riders have to perform set movements, but can do so in any order and at any place in the judging arena and this is set to the rider's choice of music.
In order to compete successfully in dressage, the horse must be expressive yet obedient and able to maintain the correct body form without any signs of stiffness. The sport has been described by the layman as 'equine ballet' and 'dancing horses'.
Competition in the UK, which is overseen by governing body British Dressage, starts at intro level, where only walk and trot movements are performed, right through to grand prix, which is the level seen at the Olympic Games.
There are dressage competitions available for disabled riders, although some of the top para dressage riders also compete in able-bodied competitions. Britain has an outstanding record in international para dressage championships having never been beaten in the team competition.