Equestrian History and Dressage Movements

Equestrian, a word that has its origin traced back to the Latin language can be narrowed back down to ‘equus’, which pertains to horses. The word Equestrian emerged in the middle of the 17th century pertaining to men handling and riding horses. They were knights and horsemen who served the royalty’s horses and over the long period of time with which they have spent with the animals, they gradually learned through experience the best ways to handle the intelligent creatures.

During the 1900s, they were training their horses so well that they were able to showcase the abilities of their animals in the Paris Games through the competitions that they themselves organized. There were prizes for the horses (and their respective riders, of course) that were about to outsmart the rest of the other contenders.

Equestrianism of Today

With the passing of time, equestrianism has evolved and the old disciplines were dismissed and new ones are present. The Olympics now include three disciplines: Dressage, Eventing and Jumping. Various equestrians from all over the world come together to showcase their abilities and it is an event that many people, especially the horse enthusiasts and the more classy people. This article will be focusing on one of the disciplines, Dressage and its movements.

Dressage is a highly skilled form of training for both horse and rider. For some, this might even be considered art because of the finesse that the pair is delivering. With just minimal aid from the rider, the horse must perform a series of predetermined movements, showing discipline all the while.

The Movements Include:

  • Passage – in this movement, horse must be very calm and collected while doing a very elevated but powerful trot. Horse head is bent down and rider sits securely.
  • Piaffe – this is a trot in place where the hindquarters are lowered a bit so as to adjust the center of the gravity of the animal. Performing great bending of the hinds does this lowering.
  • Piroutte – much like its human counterpart in balley, the horse does a turn or creates a small circle either by a walk, a piaffe or a canter.
  • Flying Change of Leg – although this might sound like a movie title about poultry being lifted of the ground, it actually a move that requires the horse to canter from left to right or right to left but in a symmetrical way. Think of changing legs during a skip in the pavement, but more organized.
  • Lateral Movements – moving the horse in all directions except the one which it is aligned with, this move will show if it is attentive and obedient. There are variations to this move but they are all done in either a walk, a trot or a canter.
  • Half-Pass – absolutely elegant and classy when executed properly, this move requires the horse to move both forward and to the side at the same time. Horse must be slightly bent in the direction it is moving.

Horses are such amiably elegant creatures and with the right training, they can be lots of fun. If you are interested in equestrianism or being an equestrian, go and check out the local stables now.