November 19, 2008 | | Comments 0

Top Dressage Horses

Dressage Horses

Dressage Horses


Before one can determine the right dressage horses, a fundamental understanding of dressage must first be established. Dressage is loosely translated as training but many also now regard it as a form of horse sport. In any case, dressage involves the horse’s execution of precise and specific movements in response to commands and signs from the rider. The main purpose behind this discipline is to develop the athletic capacity of dressage horses and make them more agreeable to do as they are told especially in the performance arena.

The history of dressage horses dates back hundreds of centuries ago to as far back as ancient Greece. There is some evidence that the ancestors of modern dressage horses were really military horses. These horses needed to be trained to become more obedient and manageable. When war horses were no longer in vogue, dressage eventually transformed into a popular sport.

Picking a Horse

Dressage is a discipline where all horses are given fair chances. A horse owner therefore may opt to have his horse compete regardless of breed or type. In most cases though, warm-blooded horses are preferred for the discipline because their traits are most ideal for dressage.

During the middle ages, war horses were originally large and unwieldy. Eventually though, as the techniques and modes of war changed, there arose a need for war horses that were lighter and leaner. These horses became the direct descendants of modern warmblood dressage horses.

Warmblood horses are sought after for dressage because they are naturally athletic. Their lightness, fine form and beauty also enhance their impressive appearance and performance in the ring. There are many different warmblood breeds. Among the most popular in dressage competitions are:

  • Lipizzaner- At approximately 15 hands, these horses have a natural grace and lightness that make them best suited for the difficult dressage techniques known as airs above the ground. They are also natural show horses with high knee action. They excel in dressage so much that the Spanish Riding School of Viena exclusively use Lipizzaner dressage horses.
  • Andalusian- This breed is an old Spanish breed. Andalusian horses are characterized by lean bodies, strong necks and long shoulders that make them proud but perfect specimens of beauty in the dressage arena.
  • Hanoverian- Hanoverian dressage horses are generally calm and willing but can sometimes also be moody. Nonetheless, at 16.2 hands, they are perfect for dressage because they have lean and muscular structures. They also excel in elastic and showy gaits.
  • Oldenburg- This breed is a cautious but manageable one. Like other dressage horses it has a compact and lean body. It tends to have shorter legs though in proportion to its structure even though it towers over other warmbloods at 17.2 hands.

These are only some of the most popular dressage horse breeds. Other notable dressage horses include Trakehner, Westphalian, Holsteiner, Dutch Warmblood, Friesian and Swedish Warmblood.

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