Equestrian sports: Dressage
Dressage dates back to classical Greek horsemanship and the military who trained their horses to perform movements whilst in battle intended to evade or attack the enemy. The earliest work on training horses was written by Xenophon, a Greek Military Commander born around 430 BC.

From this classical horsemanship and training of movements came the equestrian sport of Dressage which tests the horse's physical ability, suppleness, responsiveness, balance and obedience - where horse and rider should seem as one as they perform a series of complex movements. Dressage can be likened to gymnastics or dance on horseback. Dressage become an Olympic Sport in 1912 with only commissioned military officers eligible to compete until 1952 when the rules changed and today Dressage is a popular equestrian sport in many countries.

During a Dressage competition the horse is scored on its impulsion, regularity of paces and freedom of movement, responsiveness and willingness, balance and correct performance of the movements, whilst the rider is scored on their position and correctness and effectiveness of aids.

There are various levels of Dressage competition from Preliminary where the horse is required to perform walk, trot and canter, circles and turns to Grand Prix requiring more advanced and complex dressage movements from the horse and rider such as piaffe (trotting on the spot) and canter pirouttes where the horse turns on its hindquarters whilst in canter.

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