History of Dressage

Posted by Sally Fern on Saturday, October 17, 2009

Since the time of the early Greeks, horses have been used in military maneuvers. This early use of the horse brought about the need for extensive training before they could be maneuverable enough to be considered military ready. The training and discipline these horses endured was documented by the early Greek General Xenophon, who wrote the training documentation that was the earliest writing of the principles of dressage.

Created around 350 B.C. in Greece, his writings conveyed the importance of selection, care and training of horses for both military and general uses. Dressage horses are subjected to non-abusive, progressive training methods that utilize the natural athletic ability and intelligence of the horse.

In the horses' early incorporation into the military, the heavy horses were the horse of choice of the time due to the fact that they needed to be able to transport knights in full armor onto the battlefield. This burdensome task called for strong, heavy horses. As cavalries became the military norm, the hot blooded and swifter Arabians and Thoroughbreds were bred with the heavy horses to come up with a faster style of horse to fit their purposes.

The breeding of the heavy horses with the swifter hot blooded horses, gave birth, literally, to the lineage of warm blooded horses that are the earliest lineage to the current dressage horses most popularly used in dressage events of today.

As a natural progression of the training regimen of these early dressage horses, and their primarily military uses, it led to the inclusion of the dressage equestrian events in the Olympics. In 1912, the equestrian disciplines of dressage, jumping and eventing were officially included in the Summer Olympic Games.

Dressage can be performed by all types and breeds of horses, as its training principles are effective on all different types. Dressage competitions of today vary and all breeds are allowed to compete, however the warmbloods usually dominate the upper levels of competitive dressage, due to their inborn natural agility and athleticism.

Nicky Oostveen is a Dutch warmblood horse lover and a broker of European horses based in California.

Tags: dressage  breeding  training  performance  history 


Blog Archive

Make a free website with Yola