Del Mar National Horse Show - Dressage

We go to an event at the Del Mar National Horse Show each year.  It is three weeks of horsey fun and competitions with three evening ticketed events.  This year, we saw competition dressage.  It isn't an event that I would recommend to someone unfamiliar with horses or the challenges of riding.  The essence of dressage is intricate footwork on the horse's part.  Horses have a natural lead foot and much of dressage is cuing the horse to repeatedly switch leads - something that does not come naturally to a horse.  The dressage gaits such as the extended trot are also not natural.  The dressage performance reflects years of training and high concentration for the horse.  The rider is supposed to look as relaxed as if he or she was rocking on a porch sipping a mint julep.  The rider cues the horse to turn, change gaits, march in place seemingly by telepathy.  The effect is magical, especially if you know enough about horses to know that they are capable of great unruliness.  It was a wonderful evening with two competitions and entertainment in between in the form of a performance by a Western precision drill team and a synchronized horse ballet for two riders.  Many of the competitors have been part of the U.S. Olympic dressage team.  It will be fun to root for them in Tokyo in 2020!

Grand prix level

Should have won award for shiniest horse!

Mane Attraction Drill Team

Dressage pas de deux between the forces of good and evil


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