Dressage-Arena

Glossary of Dressage Terms A-C

While reading through the Dressage-Arena ( your practical guide to riding) you might encounter unfamiliar words. These words are part of the technical jargon or language used by instructors, trainers and riders when discussing riding and training.



While reading through the Dressage-Arena ( your practical guide to riding) you might encounter unfamiliar words. These words are part of the technical jargon or language used by instructors, trainers and riders when discussing riding and training.

palomino Enjoy this print? Visit us at our store Gifts for Horse Lovers The United State Dressage Federation

has compiled a long list of these words and phrases in order to “improve understanding of, and standardize the usage of, terminology used in dressage judging. It is not intended to be a comprehensive lexicon of general dressage terminology. It is hoped that it will improve the communication between judges, competitors and trainers.” Although they place an emphasis on judges and trainers, the understanding of these terms are important for riders and instructors and anyone hoping to further their knowledge of competitive dressage or classical dressage.

I have included terms that would be useful to the rider who is at the introductory to 1st level of riding. The other terms will be added in subsequent pages and associated to specific Dressage-Arena applications. I have also added some other terms that are not considered in the USDF Glossary, but that are commonly used in books and the daily language of riders.

Remember Horse-training-tip #4 Learn through observation, gain experience through practice and most of all.....increase your ability to LISTEN to the horse with all your senses.You might not be ready to learn and understand a training or riding concept until you have actually experienced it albeit in a non cognitive way. Don't worry....come back to it! :)

Dressage-Arena Glossary

A

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ABOVE THE BIT
A head position in which the horse avoids acceptance of the contact by putting the muzzle forwardand upward, also usually retracting the poll.
ACCEPTANCE
Lack of evasion, resistance, or protest; acquiescence. Used in reference to the horse’s willingness toallow the maintenance of a steady contact, the application of the aids, and/or the placement of therider’s weight.
ACTIVITY
Energy, vigor, liveliness—referring especially to that of the hind legs.
AGAINST THE BIT
The horse presses its mouth against the bit with rigid or unyielding neck/poll/jaw
ALIGNMENT
The lining up of the horse’s body parts from tail to poll. One of the three aspects of straightness.

Dressage-Arena Glossary

B

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BALANCE
Relative distribution of the weight of horse and rider upon the fore and hind legs (longitudinal balance) and the left and right legs (lateral balance).
BASICS
The basics form the correct foundation of the progressive training of the horse, independent of the execution of specific test movements. The basics include: pure rhythm with suitable tempo; relaxation/suppleness/ elasticity/looseness; correct contact/connection; impulsion, straightness, and longitudinal balance suitable to the level and task at hand. Correctness of the basics is indicated by the preservation and/or improvement in:1. the purity and quality of the gaits and paces
2. the gymnastic ability and physique of the horse, and
3. the horse’s attitude and rideability.
Correct biomechanics, with the horse in a positive mental/emotional state, constitutes correct basics.
BEAT
1. A footfall within a gait. A hoof, or pair of hooves virtually simultaneously, striking the ground. By this definition, the walk has four beats, the trot two, and the canter three.
2. The emphasized beat (as in music). By this definition, the walk has two beats, the trot has two beats, and the canter has one beat. The emphasized beats are the ones the rider “feels.”
BEHIND THE BIT
An evasion in which the horse retracts or shrinks back from the bit/contact. The head may or may not be behind the vertical.
BEHIND THE LEG
1. Unwilling to move forward at the same time as accepting the contact/connection.2. Slow to react to the leg, or sluggish or unwilling to move energetically forward.
BEHIND THE VERTICAL
The head position in which the horse’s nostril falls behind the imaginary vertical line dropped from the horse’s eye. The horse may or may not be “behind the bit.”
BEND
The laterally arced position in which the horse’s body appears to form a uniform curve from poll to tail. Attributes of bending include lateral flexion at the poll, stretching of the outer side of the body, lowering of the inner hip, and adduction of the inner hind and outer fore legs (see Flexion for more in depth discussion of the elements of bending). Examples of faulty bend are: bending only in the neck, only at the base of the neck, or bent toward the wrong direction.
BLOCKED
Impaired in the connection due to sustained muscular contraction, creating rigidity.

Dressage-Arena Glossary

C

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CADENCE
The marked accentuation of the rhythm and (musical) beat that is a result of a steady and suitabletempo harmonizing with a springy impulsion.CARRIAGE
The posture of the horse, most easily evaluated when viewing the horse’s profile or outline.

CHEWING THE BIT
The movements of the horse’s mouth—gently and softly mouthing the bit—showing mobility andrelaxation of the jaw and causing secretion of saliva for a “wet mouth.” Not to be confused with snappingor grinding of the teeth.
CONFIDENCE
The boldness and self-assurance with which the horse performs, and the trust in his partnership withthe rider.
CONTACT
The reins are stretched so that they form a straight line, not a loop. “Correct contact” or “acceptanceof contact” is determined by the elasticity of the connection between horse and rider.
CORRECTNESS
The straightness of the action of the limbs (e.g., faults would be winging, paddling, twisting hocks).Not the same as Purity. Dressage judges deal with Correctness only indirectly, that is, to the degreethat it affects the purity or quality of the gait. Breeding class judges address correctness directly.
CROSS-CANTER
The horse canters on one lead in front and the other lead behind. Same as Disunited.

Dressage-Arena Glossary D to I

Dressage-Arena Glossary J to Q

Dressage Arena Glossary R to Z




Poem to Define a Day
"Oh, that ride! That first ride! - most truly it
was an epoch in my existance; and I still look
back at it with feelings of longing and regret.
People may talk of their first love - it is a very
agreeable event, I dare say- but give me the
flush, and triumph and glorious sweat of a first
ride, like mine of the mighty cob...."
~ George Burrow (1803-1881) from "Lavengro"


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