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Dressage NSW Championships

The first week of Spring graced Sydney with a stunning few days at SEIC for the NSW Dressage Championships. I was lucky enough to get there for two days to enjoy the elegance and athleticism of the 6-legged athletes competing.

As I enjoyed the Prix St George competition, I pondered this interesting sport of dressage - which literally means 'training', describing its origins. At first glance, to the outsider, dressage may seem all about control and restraint of the beautiful beast.

But it is of course about harnessing and directing the power. Where the rider seems to sit a quiet passenger to the elegant ride, they are actually engaging specific and powerfully trained muscles in sequence as well as displaying spectacular balance and supreme suppleness. And this is precisely what the equine partner is doing as well.

It is this athleticism of the team - highly trained over months and years, rain, hail or shine - that makes these huge animals seem to float effortlessly across the arena. Each partner requires great stamina and strength as well as skill to be effective in this sport. If you observe a first time rider on a trotting horse (or recall doing this yourself), you can appreciate how much physical preparation a competitive dressage rider has undertaken to perform well and seem like they are doing nothing at all... and their horse is magically dancing on his own.

Emma Louise Baldwin & Bradgate Park Rupert. AOR Med, 4.3.

Brett Parbery & Longvue Florencio

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