Dressage in its basic form is derived from the French term for “training” and is based on a pyramid of training principles in which the levels of training and competition are designed for. In order, rhythm, suppleness, contact, impulsion, straightness, and lastly, collection. The purpose is to strengthen and supple the horse while maintaining an agreeable and calm demeanor.
Dressage begins at home, but as a competition it goes all the way to the Olympics. Competitive dressage includes increasing levels of difficulty with multiple tests per level. Each movement is scored by a judge on a scale of 0-10 based on the criteria of the movement and how well the horse performs the desired principles of that level.
Morgans excel at dressage because even though they are not as big as the traditional warmbloods competing on the open circuit, they are just as capable but in a smaller, more compact package. With proper training to develop themselves, they have the stamina to perform the complex movements of upper level dressage and are still personable and family friendly for amateurs and young riders to train at home.
Additional information about Morgan Dressage Association can be found at www.morganDressage.org.
For more information on Dressage, visit the United States Dressage Federation's website, www.usdf.org.
The rules of competitive dressage are available in the United States Equestrian Federation’s rule book
Articles about the Morgan Horse in Dressage from the Morgan Sport Resource page