Friday, June 28, 2013

Dress Your Horse

I ran across a gem of a book a while back. The author explained that in times past, you did not so much pursue dressage as a competitive sport. Instead, you would “dress your horse”, which is what it was called when you put good solid basic skills on your horse.

Someone else (Alois Podhajsky?) said that the horse will become more attractive as it progresses in its training if that training is correct.

So, you dress your horse to make him more attractive!

Yes, sometimes I'm just a little politically incorrect...

Recently, many people have commented to me how much better my mount looks than she did 6 months ago. It’s not just that she has shed out her winter coat and taken on a silver sheen… People are just finding her to be more pleasing to the eye, but they cannot seem to put a finger on exactly why. Perhaps it is because I am dressing her!

Last year, someone explained to me that the Old Man seemed to have “a leg in each corner” where many of the horses around him just did not. I pondered this for weeks as I studied the other horses we saw. I’m convinced this impression is a result of dressing him!

This dressing improves a horse’s natural balance and self-carriage. Any of us who pursue dressage get this at an internal level (probably because we ourselves struggle so hard to maintain our own carriage so as not to interfere with our spectacular partners!).

I get a big, warm, fuzzy feeling every time I hear how attractive the Psycho Mare has become.  It makes me feel like we must be doing it mostly right.  =)


  1. I feel the same way, even though I am not very good at 'dressing'. The little we do has helped a lot!

  2. It's true, Carlos was handsome to begin with but once he developed topline and fitness he was a sight to behold.



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