If you’re thinking about entering the world of dressage, there are a few factors that you’re going to need to consider – firstly, the type of horse you’re going to train to give you the best chance of succeeding! Almost any horse can be a dressage horse, as your job is to train them, however, there are certain features to look for that can make this process easier, from the perfect temperament to an uphill conformation.
It’s also important to think about the feeding and management of your dressage horse. There is horse feed available to suit all types of horses. The key is to select the right feed for your horse whatever their type.
What Is Dressage?
Dressage is an equestrian event in which horses perform various movements ranging in difficulty according to the horse’s experience. Dressage is about a rider and horse working together to achieve maximum suppleness, obedience and working in harmony. Competitors are marked by judges who will look at the individual movements performed as well as the horse’s overall way of going. There are many levels of dressage, and the more you train and the better you perform, the more likely you are to move up the rankings!
What Do You Want To Achieve?
One of the first factors you’re going to need to consider is what level you’re hoping to achieve when competing in dressage. You should think about at what level you’d like to compete, and what level you think you’d really be able to achieve. Considering this will help you choose a horse that you are most comfortable with. It is recommended to seek professional advice when choosing a horse for dressage. This will help ensure you find the right horse to suit you and your aspirations as well as providing a more objective assessment of the horse.
You may not realize it but the personality of your horse plays an important role when it comes to how they will perform in a dressage event. If your horse has a big personality, it has the potential to command the ring and attract positive attention, but you must make sure you can contain this – personality is great but being able to perform your routine smoothly is key. Horses can become over-excited at shows and competitions so don’t put too much pressure on yourself at your first competition. It can take time to work out how best to prepare your horse on competition day.
How your horse moves is one of the most crucial elements to look for when it comes to choosing a dressage horse for higher levels of competition. A top level horse will have three impressive paces – walk, trot, and canter. Weaknesses can be improved upon but at the highest level they can be the difference between winning and losing.
Many breeds can make good dressage horses, regardless of their size. The whole look and impression of horse and rider is key – a small rider on a large horse or a tall rider on a small horse may not be as pleasing to the eye for the judge so try to find a horse that fits with you. It is tempting to go for bigger horses but containing all their energy so that horse and rider look in harmony can be challenging especially for more petite riders.
Conformation refers to the way that a horse is built. A dressage horse needs to have strong hindquarters and back legs, so when looking at conformation, you should look for a horse that has the appearance of being uphill. Uphill means that your horse is lighter on the forehand, and carries weight on its hindquarters, which is great for dressage. It is best to steer clear of a downhill horse in this instance, as you may find that they are more difficult to train for dressage at higher levels.