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View Full Version : How do you describe dressage to a non-horsey person?



SirNoble
Jan. 2, 2008, 03:58 PM
I was trying to describe dressage to my aunt yesterday..
"Well, it's..kind of like ballet!"
"What? Ballet?! You or the horse?"
"Well, the horse but-"
"Oh, okay, so you just sit there."

:rolleyes:

Robyn
Jan. 2, 2008, 04:15 PM
Oh, how I wish....
Robin

oldenmare
Jan. 2, 2008, 04:20 PM
I've always described it more like Pairs Figure Skating, noting that my horse is a much better "skater" and has to cope with a highly inadequate partner!

pintopiaffe
Jan. 2, 2008, 04:20 PM
I say it's sort of like figure skating where everyone has to do the compulsory pattern--most folks have seen the winter Olympics and get that part.

And then lots have seen either the Disney movie or the fake show, but I mention the Lippizans.

I say it's one of the Olympic Disciplines too... but most folks eyes glaze over when you say there're not jumps. :lol:

artienallie
Jan. 2, 2008, 04:40 PM
It's the pursuit of perfection - the perfect gait, the perfect circle, the perfect halt, the perfect cue for those maneuvers, etc.

;)

Petstorejunkie
Jan. 2, 2008, 04:45 PM
Dancing using horses, you know the Lippizzaner stuff...
I go on to tell people that true dressage is perfecting the horses natural movements they exhibit in the wild. Explain how horses show off to eachother, add suspension to their gate, arch their neck and raise their tail. How stallions levade to look over the herd, and courbette and capriole when in a stallion competition.
Dressage (or good dressage i should say) asks the horse only do execute what they would on their own, and stays within the confines of each horses individual ability.
I also talk about how signalling should all be "invisible" to the eye, and that the end result should be harmonious like horse and rider are one....

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Jan. 2, 2008, 04:50 PM
I say it's sort of like figure skating where everyone has to do the compulsory pattern--most folks have seen the winter Olympics and get that part.

And then lots have seen either the Disney movie or the fake show, but I mention the Lippizans.

I say it's one of the Olympic Disciplines too... but most folks eyes glaze over when you say there're not jumps. :lol:

That's what I say: "You know, the horse stuff in the Olympics? Where they jump? But not the jumping part, the boring part."

Instant recognition.:rolleyes:

Mozart
Jan. 2, 2008, 05:03 PM
I usually compare it to the compulsory figures part of figure skating. Most people get that.

InsideLeg2OutsideRein
Jan. 2, 2008, 06:49 PM
My standard explanation is: Gymnastics for horses, it's about the horse being obedient and at the same time the most beautiful he can be. There are different manuvers carried out at certain markers and they get more difficult the more advanced the training of the horse gets. :yes:

Mozart
Jan. 3, 2008, 10:46 AM
My standard explanation is: Gymnastics for horses, it's about the horse being obedient and at the same time the most beautiful he can be. There are different manuvers carried out at certain markers and they get more difficult the more advanced the training of the horse gets. :yes:

That's a good explanation. I am going to borrow that!

LD1129
Jan. 3, 2008, 10:50 AM
Someone once described it to my mother who is horsey, that dressage is "like watching flies have sex, boring!)

To date thats the weirdest explanation I have heard yet! :eek:

3horsemom
Jan. 3, 2008, 10:58 AM
while i describe dressage as the pursuit of the perfect moment between horse and rider, my husband describes it as the pursiut of minutia.

Ibex
Jan. 3, 2008, 12:14 PM
I live in Lotusland so go straight to "it's like Yoga on a 1200lb balance ball that thinks the wet spot in the corner eats horses".

They immediately understand there's a lot more to it then "just sitting there"...

kansasgal
Jan. 3, 2008, 03:51 PM
I live in Lotusland so go straight to "it's like Yoga on a 1200lb balance ball that thinks the wet spot in the corner eats horses".

They immediately understand there's a lot more to it then "just sitting there"...

Thanks for that one. I'll try it next time someone asks. So far I have tried the figure skating/ gymnastics/ ballet analagy and I can just see people's eyes glaze over. I like yours the best so far because it really gets the imagination going lol.

Thanks and best wishes from Kansas.

InsideLeg2OutsideRein
Jan. 3, 2008, 06:17 PM
I live in Lotusland so go straight to "it's like Yoga on a 1200lb balance ball that thinks the wet spot in the corner eats horses".
...

:D lol, I'm just glad I didn't hear that explanation when I started riding, I might have never tried dressage :winkgrin:

Romany
Jan. 3, 2008, 07:58 PM
These desriptions are great (LOVE the Yoga ball one).

A non-horsy friend was telling me about her horsy colleague - I asked what the colleague did (ie jumpers, dressage, etc) and the friend said, a bit doubtfully, that, well, she'd seen a video of the colleague riding, where the horse went around and around and around in endless little circles without jumping or anything and it was quite dull: uhuh, that'd be dressage - :winkgrin:

farmeress
Jan. 3, 2008, 09:14 PM
Dressage is like the sun setting.....

Beautiful to those who really see it for its' elegance.

Milocalwinnings
Jan. 3, 2008, 10:17 PM
Whenever I am forced to attempt to explain what dressage is to my very non-horsey friends, I always just resort to the "well the rider and the horse have to work together, the rider giving very detailed aids that aren't easily seen and the horse responds. The result is what looks like a dance on horseback!" They seem slightly confused but usually leave it at that..

A couple funny stories:
I was working at a farm (owned by fellow COTH'er- Sid) that was holding a dressage clinic with Jim Kofford. Since I didn't have my license yet, my mom drove me there and we were all standing around for a few minutes watching the warm-ups. My mom (non-horsey... but she tries lol) turns to "Sid" and I and says "wait a minute... isn't dressage when the horses... dance? These horses are going around like a normal horse!" and we're like "well.... they do that when they are warmed up and at a higher level.".

Then, I was at school and my friend was telling me about someone she knows who rides. I asked what discipline they rode and she couldn't remember. She proceeded to describe to me that "the horses do tricks and look pretty and the riders just sit there". I'm trying to think of a discipline that would fit that description and can't think of one. Then I"m like "Wait... did she say anything about dancing?" and she's like "yeah! thats it!" and I'm like "that would be dressage" lol.

The joys of explaining these things to the non-horsey folk.

lddowler
Jan. 4, 2008, 12:51 AM
What is Dressage?

Dressage is the art of training for perfection. However, viewing it is about as exciting as watching paint dry. You get to see dozens of riders ride the same pattern and try to figure out exactly what the point of it all is. Forget about trying to figure out the scoring, half the riders can't figure it out either. Most points are given and lost over precision, you pretty much need to have the test in hand to appreciate the performance.

It gets a little more interesting in the freestyles because the rider is given the opportunity to make it more expressive. They are given a set of required movements and allowed to choreograph them to music, like figure skating. Points are given for creativity and difficulty as well as precision.

If you want to see "interesting" dressage, the Lippizaners put on a really good show that is anything but boring.

Rival
Jan. 4, 2008, 01:21 AM
I think it is a bi polar sport. It has really high highs and really low lows. Nothing is ever perfect!

AnotherRound
Jan. 4, 2008, 09:37 AM
I like what I've heard before - The art of controlling 1300lbs of sweat and muscle between your legs.