The leg-yield is a lateral movement in which a horse travels both forward and sideways at the same time. It’s
There’s no avoiding it – winter is on the way. The word alone can be enough to strike fear into the hearts of horse owners and riders, for whom chilling memories of last year’s winter horrors are resurfacing as fast as the temperature is dropping.
Competing throughout the winter can be a mighty challenge as well – but if you are a dressage rider, we reckon you’ve got it better than most. In fact, we’d venture that of all the equestrian sports, dressage is the one everyone wishes they were doing during the UK winter, and here’s why….
1. Any showjumper who’s sat shivering under a stable rug waiting for a jump-off course to be built at some deathly hour on a Sunday night will feel envious of their dressage colleagues. We know exactly what time we will enter the ring, and we know exactly what time we will be finished riding. No waiting around and re-warming up in the cold and rain for us!
2. Heading to a dressage show on a warm summer’s evening is lovely, but there’s something undeniably magical about trotting down the centre line of a floodlit indoor arena while it’s pitch black outside. You could almost imagine you’re riding at the London International Horse Show…
3. Dressage doesn’t shut down during the winter. Far from it. There’s plenty to fill the diary, if you so desire, whether it’s mapping out a plan to get your regional or area festival qualification in place, or aiming for the combined training championships.
4. A fancy new winter clip might be just what’s needed to transform your somewhat reluctant dressage cob into a super-charged turbo beast who reckons he could give Glamourdale a run for his money when it comes to extended canter. You might need to sit extra tight in the warm-up, but your marks for impulsion will never have been higher.
5. With Christmas around the corner, it can be tempting to give up on the healthy eating and fitness campaign as quickly as you can say “mince pie”. That is, unless you are someone who has aspirations of competing in a tailcoat come January. There’s nothing quite like the fear of wearing a cutaway jacket in public in the not-so-distant future to deter you from overeating during the festive period.
6. A test sheet full of constructive judge’s comments can be the best motivator to keep you focused on your goals even in the deepest depths of winter. Win or lose, you know you’ll (hopefully) come home with something solid to work on.
7. You don’t even have to leave your yard to compete if you really don’t want to. If the thought of battling icy roads or getting up early to plait in sub-zero temperatures fills you with dread, then maybe it’s time to give online dressage a go. It’s basically the dressage equivalent of working from home. What’s not to like?!
You may also be interested in…
Credit: Real Time Imaging
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.