Horses – History of Dressage

The origins of Dressage dates back over 2000 years. The ancient Greeks first practiced Dressage in preparation for war. It was their belief that nothing could be obtained harmoniously without adherence to the laws of the universe. The Romans later adopted Dressage when they invaded Greece. Dressage fell into a lull when Rome fell into the hands of the Barbarians, only to be brought back into recognition by the Renaissance Period.

For as long as horses have been broken by humans to be ridden, there has been competition. Training horses for competition has included training them to do specific movements. Dressage is the logical progression of that.

The term dressage comes from the French word for training, using moves developed for the battlefield and parade ground.

Dressage as we know it today came about during the early twentieth century. It has since developed into a competitive sport of Olympic standards. Currently it is practiced in countries all over the world, ranging from the USA to Japan and across Western Europe.

British Dressage was founded in 1998. It now boasts more than 10,000 members. There are over 1,500 affiliated Dressage events a year in the UK alone. Many Dressage events take place on all weather surfaces. Almost 75 percent of Dressage participants compete at novice and elementary levels.

Participation in Dressage competitions is not restricted to any particular age group. People of all ages are welcome to compete against each other. Apart from some FEI pony, junior and young rider tests, adults and children can compete against each other and ride a horse or pony.

Dressage is one of the only sports wherein men and women, young and old, able bodied and disabled can compete equally alongside each other.

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