Native riders of Britain: the dressage rider

  • Welcome to Horse & Hound’s tongue-in-cheek guide to the various “native breeds” of riders in Britain.

    HEIGHT: Type A is very tall, with legs to wrap around Welt Hitmeyerhoffen, and really push him into the bridle. Type B is short, with enormous spurs and a ruddy big pair of lungs.

    CONFORMATION: Type A is elegant, moves effortlessly with willowy limbs. Type B’s large lungs (yes, it is the lungs) make its Savile Row tails a little tight. Brass buttons may ping off in all directions in the event of a sneeze. Leg-length and horse size correlate. The bigger the horse, the shorter the rider’s legs. They operate much like steel nutcrackers and their owner knows how to use them. Unsuspecting amateurs who bravely buy horses from professional riders sometimes find they cannot get it out of walk, while the professional had it performing a triple lutz with a forward roll of the hip.

    MARKINGS: A sartorial law unto themselves, and notorious perfectionists. Just about everything has to have been made on the continent, and adorned with copious amounts of ‘bling’.

    TEMPERAMENT: Despite contrary appearances, most dressage riders have a (deeply ironic) sense of humour. “Could be lighter in mouth” can only be viewed with amusement after being carted round an arena by the equine equivalent of the 16.30 to Euston. Equally, “promising paces” prompts snorts from the horse’s associates, who know that it will not see 18 again.

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