So what is Dressage?

Charlette Dujardin & Valegro

Charlette Dujardin & Valegro

So what is Dressage?
While dressage literally means “training” in French, it is so much more than that. In Dressage, the horse and rider create a bond that enables them to communicate seamlessly through the rider’s aids (use of the rider’s hands, weight, legs and seat to influence the horse) thus creating a ballet-like dance. To the average person, these aids are nearly invisible, which makes it appear as though the horse is performing on his own and the rider is simply a passenger. At the upper levels, the horse and rider have all but mastered the art of non-verbal communication. In short, the smoother & easier the movements look to the eye, the more difficult it is and is the highest level of riding.



The Piaffe


The original dressage, however, was used on the battlefield.
Cavalry horses had to be highly trained so as to be able to respond to the slightest movement or command by their riders. This was essential in keeping both horse and rider alive to fight another day.







Unbridled Student at The Dressage Company Show


So what does that mean for the average rider?
Well, dressage is just a series of training steps which are divided into levels. As you improve,
you can progress through the levels until finally you are happy with the level of education that
your horse has achieved. For some, that could mean just completing a nice Preliminary test, for others that may mean competing at Elementary level, and for yet others only the Olympic levels may be the ultimate training goal.

Dressage is the basis of all proper riding.
Founded on balance and relaxation dressage sets the tone not only for the horse and rider’s
training progress but for their mental development as well. Dressage teaches the rider to connect to their horse like no other discipline and once its concepts are understood can catapult a rider to newer awareness and proficiency no matter what discipline they choose whether it be jumping, endurance or barrel racing. Let me assure you, learning dressage will give you a better position and more security in any kind of saddle for any style of riding and better balance and cooperation from your horse in any endeavor. If you think you’re doing everything you can to be the best at what you’re learning with your horse and you’re not learning dressage then you’ve fallen short and will never be the best rider you can be. It is that important.

I can guarantee you will not regret the time, money and energy spent in the pursuit of better
riding skills and greater awareness of the magnificent creature underneath you!  ~Paula

Equestrian Spotlight Mar 2014 – Meta

2014_03SoM_Meta02WEB  2014_03Meta01WEB

Meta Thurman Is our March Equestrian in the spotlight! Meta started riding in 2005 but seriously started riding in 2009.

She has loved horses since she was 3 years old. Her grandpa Bob had a horse and still keeps up with the horse industry.

Meta attends Bethany School and will be going to Ursuline in the fall.

Her long time goals consists of the Olympics, Rolex, World Equestrian Games, training OTTB and exercising TB on the track.

Meta enjoys playing volleyball when she isn’t riding!

Equestrian Spotlight Apr 2014 – Reghan


Reghan is our April Equestrian in the spotlight!
She began riding in January 2014 at our facility. Reghan watched the movie, “Spirit-Stallion of the Cimarron” when she was 3 years old. She has wanted to take lessons since then.

They are good friends with Lidia and when she came to Unbridled, we knew this had to be a great place to ride!  She wants to learn as much as possible. She likes riding all the school horses but Moose is her favorite. She would love to compete when she is ready and really hopes to have her own horse one day! Reghan has been taking gymnastics for 4 years and also enjoys soccer.

Equestrian Spotlight Jan 2014 – Ashton


Ashton started riding the summer of 5th grade, which was about 4 1/2 years ago. When she was younger, she was obsessed with horses (and unicorns), and had always loved barbies that had horses. She says she’s always wanted to be like Barbie so when she had opportunity to ride, she took it!


Ashton is on a colorguard team for Mason High School, where she attends.



Her goals as a rider, are to win a Grand Champion award, to own a her own horse and wants to braid it’s forelock straight up and call him a unicorn!  She hopes to do track in the spring.

On a more serious note, she wants to go further with cross-country, and compete in more shows.

Equestrian Spotlight Feb 2014 – Nicole

Equestrian Spotlight  2014 Feb Nicole

Equestrian Spotlight 2014 Feb Nicole


Nicole is our Equestrian in the Spotlight for February!
She started riding about 5 years ago and she has competed 58 times at 29 shows with Bowie & her horse, Robuck. She has won 27 first places and 12 second places.

Nicole has always liked horses when she was younger and one day she was at gymnastics and she told her Mom and Dad she wanted to do horseback riding, so she did.

Her goals are to win the 13 and under dressage equitation in 2014 Regional Championships and to start 2nd level dressage with Robuck. She wants to start eventing and go to the Olympics!

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