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Now, for the Equestrian Master Post, which has been a long time coming and promises to get very, very, very, very long- much to the ire of Dead Poet’s Society fans, of which I am one of course.

There are different disciplines of riding, meaning different styles. These include but are not limited to: Dressage, Jumpers, Hunters, Eventing, Saddleseat, Polo, traditional riding, Western, and Trail/ Pleasure.

Dressage is what I ride. It is the most classical of the disciplines and can be seen at its highest levels at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna and at Versailles Riding School in France. Dressage is scored as a percentage. In the ‘test’ a set of movements is ridden and individually scored. At the end of the test, the rider, the rider’s position and effectiveness, the horse, and the horse’s gaits are all scored separately and count more than the individual movements.

Black “tack” or equipment is often used in Dressage which makes it easy to spot.

It is very well known for the Kür or Musical Freestyle. I am going to include several and let you choose which to enjoy.

  1. To the Nutcracker Suite
  2. To Upbeat Spanish Music (WATCH!)
  3. London Themed (& Olympic Gold Medal)
  4. Lion King Themed
  5. How to Train Your Dragon Themed
  6. The Legendary Dancing Horse

Dressage looks like so in pictures:

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In Dressage two different kinds of bridles can be used. This accounts for the number of reins (pieces of leather coming from the horse’s mouth) you see in the picture. Below is a double bridle (two reins as compared to one).

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This is what Polo looks like: {Polo is played 4 aside in the field and 3 aside in the arena. The balls on the field are slightly larger and same consistency as golf balls. The balls in the arena are softball size and filled with air. The sticks the riders are holding are called “sticks” everywhere but the US where they are called mallets. US players call them this because in the US, they hit with the length of the head rather than on an end. A polo MATCH is separated into chukkas which are each 7 minutes long. The number of chukkas depends on the kind and points of the match.}

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This is what a very small part of classical dressage looks like, but please for the love of God click on this link too and watch the video midway down.

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Traditional riding often involves costume and horses bred for show rather than sport. Below is a Japanese Archer on horseback.

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This is what eventing looks like: {Eventing has three parts: dressage, jumpers, and cross country. The first two are explained here, but cross country is timed, over long distances, and over natural obstacles}.

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This is what Hunters look like: {Hunters is focused on the appearance of harmony. It can either be jumping or on the flat- not jumping}

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This is what jumpers looks like: {Jumpers is always timed. The first round you must not touch or knock over any of the jumps within an allowed time. If you do touch or knock down a jump. you are eliminated. The second round you must go as fast as possible and the number of times you touch or knock down a jump is deducted from your time. This determines your placing.}

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I do not have any pictures of the other disciplines because this is primarily what you need to know to get around the horse world.

Further, horses {with the exception of some} have three gaits. Our three gaits are walking, jogging, and running. Horses’ are walking, trotting and cantering. Galloping only occurs rarely and only at very high speeds. It is actually caused by the horse moving so quickly he or she loses balance and throws the rhythm of movement off.

Finally, here is a picture of the Queen riding.

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Thanks for reading Mary, and please watch the videos – they are so well worth your time.

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