According to the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) “Dressage is a French term meaning “training” and its purpose is to develop the horse’s natural athletic ability and willingness to work making him calm, supple and attentive to his rider.”
Friends riding dressage:
Angela Rice is the nicest, tough-as-hooves instructor you could meet. She’s riding her 15.1 hand* PRE gelding, Lucas.
Brian Russell, trainer extraordinaire, is riding Mozart, a 17 hand* Westphalian gelding.
What is freestyle dressage?
The folks at USDF explain: “Dressage Musical Freestyle combines the elegance and beauty as well as the power and strength of the horse with the stirring impact of music.”
A friend doing freestyle:
Dottie Morkis is best known in the dressage world because her score in the 1976 Montreal Olympics clinched the U.S. bronze medal. She’s riding Mister Big, her 18 hand* Holsteiner gelding.
*A ‘hand’ in the equine world is 4 inches. A horse is measured from the floor to the point where their back meets their neck (the withers). 14.2 hands (58 inches, which is about how tall I am) and smaller is a pony. Ponies are not young horses, they are just shorter than horses.