What is Dressage? Dressage (rhymes with "massage") is a French term meaning training. It is not only a method of "schooling," but also a "competitive equestrian sport."
Unlike Western or English Pleasure classes where many horses are in the ring together, dressage competition is performed with only one rider in the arena at a time. Dressage competitors perform a test - a specific pattern of movements and figures designed for specific levels of proficiency.
All dressage tests proceed in the same way. At the sound of the judge's bell, a horse and rider enter the arena at the "A" marker and proceed straight down the center line, halting in the middle. The rider then salutes the judge sitting at the "C" marker and proceeds with the test. At the end of the test, the competitor returns to the center line, once again halting and saluting the judge.
No matter what the size of show, all dressage competition takes place in a rectangular arena of exact measurements. Basic dressage tests are ridden in a small arena 20 x 40 metres (approximately 66 x 132 feet). Medium and above dressage tests are ridden in a large arena 20 x 60 meters (approximately 66 x 197 feet). Along the outer rails of the arena are lettered markers placed at specific points which serve as targets for performing designated movements and figures.
Levels for competition in Canada are:
First, Second, Third & Fourth Levels
Prix St. George
Intermediare 1 & 2
Freestyles - Ridden from Training Level and up
Balance Through Movement Method
CADORA - Canadian Dressage Owners and Riders Association
CFIA - Canadian Food Inspection Agency (Reportable Diseases)
Dressage Training Pyramid
Saskatoon Dressage Club
Saskatchewan Horse Federation
USDF - United States Dressage Federation
USEF - United States Equestrian FederationWSDAC - Western Style Dressage Association of Canada
WDAA - Western Dressage Association of America