P.e. coursework- Dressage analyse of performance project
What is dressage?
Dressage a French term meaning training. Dressage is an equestrian sport in which the horse and rider perform a test of specific movements in an arena in front of a judge/s, and are judged on the horse's obedience, acceptance of the bridle and of the rider's aids, gaits, impulsion and the Harmony between horse and rider. Dressage principles, which trace to the earliest days of riding, are used in virtually every form of horse riding these days for example show jumping and eventing as the rider must learn to control and master the techniques to supple and develop muscles which both the rider and the horse need, to perform increasingly difficult movements. The rider first has to win the horse's co-operation and respect so that they can work together in harmony.
Dressage is the fastest growing Olympic equestrian discipline with competitions being held at all levels from amateur to the Olympics!
Rules and regulations
Equipment and dress rules;
- It is compulsory for anyone mounted on a horse at an Affiliated Dressage competition to wear a hat.
- Boots must be black or brown and may be top boots or jodphur boots. Gaiters may be worn providing they are identical leather to the jodphur boots and have no decoration of any sort
- Gloves must be worn when riding a test
- Ordinary snaffle bridle must be worn at lower levels and a double bridle is permitted at Elementary level upwards, Bridles may not be decorated with tassels or any additions to the normal configuration. Discreet padding of the bridle at the poll or noseband is permitted.
- Other tack, Martingales and bearing, side or running reins of any kind are forbidden, as are bandages, boots and any sort of blinkers.
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Arenas and riding the test;
- The arenas may be marked in the following ways:
a) By a continuous surround of white boards.
b) By intermittent white boards placed at each corner and opposite each marker.
c) By a white line painted on the ground, in which case white posts 3 feet high should be placed at the corners of the arena.
d) By ropes but where ropes are used to mark the arena, at least six breaking points must be incorporated in case of accidents.
- Competitors’ conduct,
Riders and owners of competing horses and their assistants must, under penalty of elimination, obey any order or direction given to them by any official and they must, in particular, be careful not to do anything liable to upset or hinder the progress of the competition.
- Riding the wrong test,
A rider who starts the wrong test for the class may be allowed to restart the test (at the Judges discretion) so long as they can do so immediately. They will be penalised for a first error of course.
a) Commanders may be used in all classes except Area Festivals, all Championships and Selection trials. However organisers who do not wish to allow commanders at their shows, must state this in the Schedules.
b) Where Commanders are allowed it is the responsibility of the competitor to ensure that only the printed text or extracts therefrom are read out and that there is no emphasis on any part of the command. Failure to observe this rule may entail elimination.
- Outside assistance,
Any outside assistance by voice, or signs, etc. designed to help a competitor improve their performance during a test will entail elimination.
- Competitors must wait until the Judge has sounded the horn, rung the bell or in some way signified that he/she may start, before entering the arena. Once the signal has been given competitors have 45 seconds to enter the arena at ‘A’. Entering before the signal to start or failure to start within 45 seconds will result in a 2 mark penalty per Judge being awarded.
Competitors must take the reins and whip, if carried, in one hand. The free hand should be lowered to the rider’s side and the rider should nod their head. Gentlemen may salute in the same manner, or, if they wish, they may remove and lower their hat with their free hand before nodding.
- Sitting and rising,
For all tests at elementary level and below used at British Dressage competitions trot work may be executed sitting or rising.
- Dismounting and/or fall off horse,
If after the rider has entered the arena, he/she dismounts without a reason acceptable to the Judges, no marks will be given for the movement. In the case of a fall of horse and/or rider, the competitor will not be eliminated, but will be penalised by the effect of the fall on the execution of the movement concerned
and in the collective marks.
the use of the voice is prohibited and will be penalised by the loss of two marks from those that would have been awarded for each movement in which this occurred.
- Errors of Course,
when a competitor makes an ‘error of course’ (takes the wrong turn, omits a movement etc.) the Judge at C warns him, by sounding the bell. The Judge shows him, if necessary, the point at which he must take up the test again and the next movement to be executed, then leaves him to continue by himself.
- Penalties for errors of course
Every ‘error of the course’, whether the bell is sounded or not, must be penalised:
– the first time by 2 points
– the second time by 4 points
– the third time the competitor is eliminated, although he may continue his performance to the end, the marks being awarded in the ordinary way.
Lameness, in the case of marked lameness, the Senior Officiating Judge informs the rider that he is eliminated. There is no appeal against the decision. If there are any doubts as to the soundness of a horse, the competitor will be allowed to complete the test and any unevenness of pace will be severely penalised.
Scale of marks
- Each Judge will allot from 0-10 points for each numbered movement. These marks are then added together and any penalty marks are deducted. It is essential that all penalty marks are deducted from the individual totals before these are added together.
- Under both F.E.I. and British Dressage Rules the scale of Marks for each individual movement is as follows:
10 Excellent 4 Insufficient
9 Very Good 3 Fairly Bad
8 Good 2 Bad
7 Fairly Good 1 Very Bad
6 Satisfactory 0 Not Executed
The marks 10 and 0 must be awarded where the performances warrant their use. By “not executed” is meant that nothing which is required has been performed.
- In all cases the Judges’ decision is final!
Practices used to improve basic movements in dressage
In this section I shall explain practices/exercises used to improve the basic movements in dressage discussed in the previous section;
Exercise 1; Transitions- Walk-to-canter and trot-to-canter transitions should be done in an arena on a 20 meter circle. This helps to engage the horses hindquarters and improve a better balanced and more powerful canter.
Exercise 2; leg-yielding onto a bigger circle- This exercise should be done in an arena, in trot starting on a 10 meter circle the rider should leg-yield out onto a 20 meter circle and repeat on the other rein. As the horse crosses his hind legs, his quarters will engage to again help create a better balanced and more powerful canter.
Exercise 3;Half pass-This exercise like leg yielding should be done in an arena but starting on a 20 meter circle and the rider using their outside leg to make the horse move and bend in an ever decreasing circle and unlike in the leg yield where the horse is moving away from the direction of bend in this exercise the horse is stepping in the direction of bend. A more difficult movement for both horse and rider. This exercise helps improve flexibility and gives the rider the tools to straighten a horse that travels crooked on the straight away.
Exercise 4- Riding without stirrups- this exercise helps improves riders balance and lower leg position.
Exercise 5- Lengthening and shortening strides- Frequent changes from working/collection to extension and vice versa at both trot and canter is an excellent exercise for teaching the horse to control his own balance, which is especially important when riding circles.