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Monday, July 15, 2013

Dressage - Jade and Jeremy's sport of choice

The most frequent critique I hear of dressage from non-dressage riders (both from non-horse people and horse people who ride in another discipline) is that it's "fancy." It is fancy. It's ballroom dancing on horseback. It's also very complex and nuanced, and the slightest mistake on the part of the rider is reflected in the horse's movement. It's no more expensive than any other equine sport, though. And the riders are no more snobby - you should see some of those western pleasure princesses with their silver trimmed saddles. With horses, talent is talent and snobbery is snobbery. Different horses are suited for different sports, and as riders, we tend to gravitate toward one in particular. Dressage is detail-oriented and can seem tedious to riders who prefer the thrill of jumping. But dressage riders love the tedium. The sport is all about the level of communication between horse and rider, and maximizing the horse's natural athletic ability.

In Remains, Jade and her BFF Jeremy are both riding instructors, both dressage riders. I know I mention these three movements in the novel and wanted to provide visuals.

Extended Trot

Anky van Grunsven riding Salinero at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Canter Pirouette
Silver medalist Adelinde Cornelissen on Parzival (© 2012 by Nancy Jaffer)


Needless to say, I don't have a horse of this caliber, nor do Jade and Jeremy. But that's the thing about dressage - anyone can participate, at any level. It's all about fitness and knowledge and it's no less fun just because you know you'll never compete at the international level. In my case, not even the national level. I hate showing, actually. I'll compete vicariously through my characters instead.

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