On Thursday, myself and a few friends will be popping along to Poppy Red in the Arcadian, Birmingham to join in this year’s Brum Twestival. So, I thought I’d read up on the whole ‘twestival’ thing as its my first and found that this year’s theme for the event is education.
The Brum Twestival team have come up with an idea called Brumabilities and have set up a blog for people to contribute short online guides on any subject they like, in the hope we can ‘educate’ each other about a whole host of topics.
Anyway, my contribution (as I’m yet to bring my equestrianism to the net) is this…
A guide to Grand Prix Dressage
Dressage – or ‘horse ballet’ for those not in the know – is basically a series of training exercises for horses and a competitive sport from novice to Olympic standard. It’s used to improve horses’ athleticism, flexibility and obedience but more than anything – it’s amazing to watch at Grand Prix level (the highest you can get!)
Here’s a 60 second guide to Grand Prix dressage movements, as demonstrated by the breath-taking Dutch combination Moorlands Totilas and Edward Gal at the 2009 Windsor European Championships.
Collected trot/canter The horses stride is shortened and more weight is carried on the hindquarters. It is not a slower pace – the stride is simply shorter and has more elevation.
Extended trot/canter The opposite of ‘collected’ – the stride is lengthened out and covers more ground without speeding up. (See Totalis’ amazing extended trot)
Half-pass The horse travels sideways and forwards at the same time looking in the direction of travel (e.g. left or right) – like moving diagonally from one corner to the opposite.
Passage A more ‘extreme’ version of collected trot but with even more collection and elevation! If you look at the video, it’s the bit where the horse looks like he’s pausing mid-air before putting each hoof down!
Piaffe Best described as trotting on the spot – think horses’ knees somewhere close to the ears!
One and two tempi flying changes Yes, it’s that complicated! Basically to the untrained eye it’s when the horse changes legs in canter every one or two strides, kind of like flying for a split-second!
Pirouette In true ballerina style, the horse canters on the spot whilst turning 360º on its hind legs. Impressed? You should be!