The Definition of a Dressage Horse -Mari Monda Zdunic

Dressage, July 1995

The Definition of a Dressage Horse

Dr. Susan Kempson's remarks about dressagebecoming a showing class couldn't be more apparent at localunaffiliated level. My wife owns a little cob that she hastrained with great difficulty for the last five years. The marehas upright shoulders and little legs, making it almostimpossible for her to lengthen, and lightening on the forehand isan art in itself. However, she now works well from behind, isvery supple and relaxed and usually gets placed in the top three.

My argument about judging comes from theremarks they get on their test sheets. One judge remarked "a difficult type of pony for dressage" and another "nota dressage type of horse". What exactly is a dressage typeof horse? Surely if a horse moves correctly, it doesn't matterwhat it looks like.

To rub salt in the wounds, a friend of ourswith a lovely looking big horse entered to "see how they'ddo". The horse was stiff, crooked and short but got theremarks " a very nice horse for dressage".

My wife has put hundreds of hours work intotraining this exceptional little cob, only to become verydisheartened by judges remarks. We were thinking about moving upinto affiliated classes soon but after reading your letters, isit worth it?

Yours faithfully,
Disheartened, Eastwood, Notts

Do Your Own Thing - 'disheartened'

Dear Sir,

I have been reading your letters regarding thecurrent trend in dressage judging. I must say it sounds like BayWatch Dressage - "Disheartened's" letter exemplifiesthe dressage de jour. If that cob did all the movements ofperhaps the Grand Prix, it was supple, engaged.....but could notmove or didn't look like what is currently 'hot ', that cob wouldat best score 55%. The Bay Watch horse could make many mistakesyet still receive the 67% score. Look at your articles on thedifferent championship shows, Volvo World Cup, USET NationalDressage Championship - comments such as no piaffe - spookiness -missed many changes..." yet the scores received are 68%plus! So, "disheartened" keep on with your cob, havefun, perhaps don't show - you are your own best critic!

Mari Monda Zdunic,
Brighton, USA

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