Dressage: (a French term, most commonly translated to mean “training”) is a path and destination of competitive horse training, with competitions held at all levels from amateur to the Olympics. Its fundamental purpose is to develop, through standardized progressive training methods, a horse’s natural athletic ability and willingness to perform, thereby maximizing its potential as a riding horse. At the peak of a dressage horse’s gymnastic development, it can smoothly respond to a skilled rider’s minimal aids by performing the requested movement while remaining relaxed and appearing effortless. Dressage is occasionally referred to as “Horse Ballet” (cf. nl:Dressuur) Although the discipline has ancient roots, dressage was first recognized as an important equestrian pursuit in the West during the Renaissance. The great European riding masters of that period developed a sequential training system that has changed little since then. Classical dressage is still considered the basis of trained modern dressage.
Early European aristocrats displayed their horses’ training in equestrian pageants, but in modern dressage competition, successful training at the various levels is demonstrated through the performance of “tests” of prescribed series of movements within a standard arena. Judges evaluate each movement on the basis of an objective standard appropriate to the level of the test and assign each movement a score from zero to ten – zero being “not executed” and 10 being “excellent”. A score of 9 is considered “very good” and is considered a particularly high mark, while a competitor achieving all 6’s (or 60% overall) should be considering moving on to the next level.
Dressage SA Mission Statement
To elevate Dressage to a premier sport in South Africa
- Supporting the country’s dressage riders, horses and officials to reach their desired potential regardless of age, experience, ambition, location, ability or socio-economic background.
- Administer and assemble the rules of the sport with commitment to fairness and integrity.
- Send teams to World Equestrian Games (WEG) and Olympic Games (OG)
Dressage SA Council
- Pierre Hefer – President
- Dianne Smith – Vice President
- Carol Pickering – Treasurer
- Cobus Engelbrecht – Finance and Administration Portfolio
- Eino Vuorinen – Technical
- Suzanne Horne – Judges and Officials
- Ingeborg Sanne – International (Team selections, qualifications, CDI Shows, Group IX, Team Coach)
- Montanique Wilson – Development and Transformation
- John Smith – Gauteng Chair
- Henk Jacobs – Northern Cape Chair
- Robyn Bush – Eastern Cape Chair
- Rhonda Munro – KwaZulu Natal Chair
- Elana Hopkins – Western Cape Chair
- Alayne McLean – North West Chair
- Sonja Coetzee – Mpumalanga Chair
- Dawn Gray – Limpopo Chair
- Rosemary Balmer – Free State Chair
- Regula Niehus – co-opted Coaches Portfolio
- Belinda Sandwith – Judicial Body Member
- Lischa Gerstle – Judicial Body Member
- Olga Sfigakis – Judicial Body Member
- Agnes Phiri – Horse Welfare Officer