The dancing horses are back!
This year Great Britain is sending one of the strongest dressage teams it has ever had to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014. Carl Hester, Charlotte Dujardin, Michael Eilburg, and Gareth Hughes will all make the journey to Normandy to represent their country.
What is Dressage?
The word “dressage” means “training” in French and the Olympic discipline is all about working in harmony with your horse to produce a partnership that is calm, flexible, and willing to work.
Dressage horses are highly trained and riders spend many years developing their natural abilities before they compete in competitions such as the World Equestrian Games.
What happens at the World Equestrian Games?
The event is ridden in a 60m x 20m all-weather arena and riders will follow a set test made up of a pre-determined sequence of movements.
Dressage teams are made up of four horse and rider combinations that will all compete in the Grand Prix. The best three scores will then be counted towards the overall team result.
Once the scores are added up the top 30 placed riders then go forward to compete in the Grand Prix Special. All four team members can compete if their scores place them in the top 30. The rider with the highest percentage score will then win the Grand Prix Special.
At the World Equestrian Games there will also be a Freestyle competition where riders put together their own tests that must include a certain number of compulsory movements.
The Freestyle tests are ridden to music of the riders choosing which is how dressage horses came to be known as “dancing horses” to the non-equestrian public.
This is the last phase of the Dressage competition at the World Equestrian Games. Only the top 15 horse and rider combinations will compete and only three riders from each nation can qualify after competing in the Grand Prix Special.
Carl Hester & Nip Tuck: Carl Hester MBE is one of the most successful British riders in the history of Dressage. He was part of the team that won gold at the London 2012 Olympics and he and Nip Tuck have proved to be an impressive partnership.
Charlotte Dujardin & Valegro: Charlotte and “Blueberry” should need no introduction. Protégés of Carl, winners of the individual gold medal at London 2012 and members of the winning team with Carl, they have taken the Dressage world by storm.
Michael Eilburg & Half Moon Delphi: formerly a showjumper, Michael has made the transition into Dressage and hasn’t looked back. His success began with Woodlander Farouche and now his partnership with Half Moon Delphi is wowing audiences worldwide.
Gareth Hughes & DV Stenkjers Nadonna: with over 30 national and international titles Gareth has more than earned his place on the team. He has represented Great Britain before and had inspiring results at the World Equestrian Games test event earlier in the year.