Competition in Dressage

 

Competition in Dressage

World Equestrian Games – Competition in Dressage.

 
Lusitano-Competition in DressageThe Competition in Dressage consist of a series of synchronized movements.   These movements are done by the horse without having the rider coax him or push him along.   They are intended to show the fitness and ease of movement the horse has and most important of all the degree of communication and understanding between the horse and rider.   The horse knows what he must do and the rider only has to pressure him with his legs or pull on the reins a little so the horse reacts and follows through with perfect, fluid movements.
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Lusitano-Competition in DressageThe horse and rider are asked to start with a half pass at a trot, which is a lateral and forward movement.   The hind and fore legs on the outside must be passed over or “crossed “over the inside legs while the horse’s body remains parallel to the circuit wall and slightly bent to the inside around the rider’s leg.   The half pass is a movement that requires a lot of discipline, balance and excellent collection to be executed right without losing the rhythm and cadence.   The half pass is used to determine the horse’s proper use of impulsion and strength on the hind quarters.
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Lusitano-Competition in DressageThe next required move is a shoulder-in movement.   This is executed at a trot.   The shoulder-in is executed by keeping the hind legs on the same track while the front legs are moved laterally.   The horse’s body is slightly bent to the inside while the back remains straight.   The inside hind leg must step exactly over the track left by the outside front leg which leaves behind only three tracks instead of the four that can be seen when the horse is walking normally or straight.   This exercise was created to teach and train the horses to understand the leg aids and to obey to them.   Being that the horse is slightly bend around the leg when it executes this movement he has a better feeling of any signal given by the leg closest to his belly.
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Lusitano-Competition in DressageThe next exercise is Travers or haunches-in it is basically the opposite of the shoulder-in movement.   In this case the horse’s body is bent to the inside from his hind quarters as opposed to the shoulder-in where he is bent to the inside from his front quarters.   The shoulder-in leaves behind three tracks where the horse passes.   The haunches-in leaves behind four tracks.   The two tracks nearest to the wall are made by the front legs.   The next one and almost on the same line as the inside front track is made by the outside hind leg and the furthest towards the inside is the outside leg track.   The horse’s neck must remain parallel to the wall at all times.
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Lusitano-Competition in DressageMind you that a horse that leaves four tracks as he walks does not mean that he is doing a haunches-in or shoulders-in maneuver.   It simply means that the horse is crooked.   These moves we have discussed above are done on purpose and the horse must maintain a specific stance while remaining relaxed and enjoying the ride.
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Lusitano-Competition in DressageAfter this, the team must do a series of collected, medium and extended gait runs around the arena.   They show off his style and coordination without losing its stride, harmony and beat as it changes from one gait to the other.   Meanwhile the rider must sit straight and tall enjoying the ride and guiding his horse with subtle movements of the reins.   The rider may only use his natural aids ever so lightly so as to go unnoticed by the judges and onlookers.   The rider must simply look like a statue on top of the horse performing and doing each move perfectly off his own will.
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Lusitano-Competition in DressageThe last of the exercises done in the dressage phase of the horse triathlon is the counter-canter maneuver with a couple flying changes in the menu to add a little spice to the game.   Horses have a pair of legs that they favor when walking, cantering or galloping.   These can be noticed easily with a little practice because the horse stretches these legs further than the other two and it appears to push itself harder and faster when these legs are placed down.   It could be the left front and hind legs or the right front and hind legs.   Usually when the horse is running around an arena it’s uses his inside legs as the lead legs, bending its body to the inside to keep his balance and stability and to fight the gravitational pull to the outside.
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Lusitano-Competition in DressageThe counter-canter exercise is done at the canter and the horse must change its lead legs in the air between two strides.   In a flying change, which must go unnoticed to the on watchers without breaking its rhythm and stride.   The horse must remain parallel and with his body centered whether the lead is on the outside or inside legs.   The stride must remain the same and the rider must also remain perfectly seated and erect during the changes and cantering exercises.
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Lusitano-Competition in DressageMovements and exercises are scored in a one to ten scale where ten is the highest or perfect score.   The total points deducted and achieved in each exercise are added and averaged to produce the final score.   Even if a horse has a poor performance in one of the exercises the team can still get an acceptable punctuation.   Animals used in this competitions are supposed to be professional and experienced competitors.   So errors are punished drastically.   The first error is penalized with two negative marks.   The second one is penalized with four negative marks.   The third error is penalized with the elimination of the team from the competition.
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There are four other golden rules which have to be respected and followed strictly:

  • The team has forty five seconds to enter the arena after the bell is rung, if they don’t the team is eliminated.
  • If all of the horse’s hooves leave the arena floor at the same time in a given moment, the team is eliminated.
  • If the horse refuses more than twenty seconds during any exercise or part of the competition, the team is eliminated.
  • If the rider falls off the horse during an exercise or maneuver the team is eliminated.
 

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