Last week we reached our first stop on our structure for every style trail ride. Today, we’re going to come to our second stop where you’ll learn why our Hercules Truss Arch Buildings are perfect for dressage arenas.
It’s all French to me
Dressage is a French word that when translated means ‘training.’ This riding style is considered a very high level of training because the horse and rider must memorize movements together and be synchronized. It should appear as though the rider is not prompting the horse at all during competition. Dressage is meant to develop a horse’s natural athletic ability and make them extremely willing to please their rider; making them the ultimate riding horse. Warmbloods are the most common breed of dressage horse.
No horseplay allowed
Dressage is an Olympic event and is present at other eventing competitions which are called tests. Each movement is scored on a scale from 0 to 10, with 10 meaning the moves were executed perfectly. A few examples of dressage moves are the piaffe, passage, extended gaits, collected gaits, flying lead changes, half-pass and pirouette. Some of these are challenging and require plenty of space for the horse to complete them properly. For example, while executing a half-pass there needs to be plenty of room on the sides of the arena as the horse will move away from the wall and all the way back to it in a diagonal motion.
Size does matter
Dressage arenas are classified as either small or standard sized. There are letters in specific places around the arena that designate where test movements should be performed. Normally this is done with cones on the sidelines of the arena. A small dressage arena is 66′ wide x 131′ long and is used for the dressage phase of eventing at beginner levels. It is also used for USDF introductory tests and USEF training level tests. It has letters (starting from the entrance and moving clockwise) AKEHCMBF. There are also letters in the center of the arena, DXG. This type of arena is not used in North American rated shows.
The Standard arena is 66′ wide by 197′ long and is used in dressage and eventing tests. The letters are AKVESHCMRBPF. The ones in the middle are DLXIG. The letters on the outside are 19.7′ from the corner and 39.4′ apart from each other, requiring a great deal of space.
A little breathing room
Whether a dressage arena is classified as small or standard doesn’t change the fact that there needs to be enough space in the arena for all the letters, as well as a place for the judge at letter C. There should also be space in this arena for an audience, but it should not take away from the space needed for the letters. ClearSpan fabric arenas are perfect as dressage arenas in that they can be customized for any length and up to 300′ wide. Without internal poles or support columns both riders and horses have a clear span of space to ride in. Typically we suggest our customers choose either a 65′ wide by 140′ long arena for the smaller option or an 83′ wide by 210′ long arena as the standard option. Although both these size arenas are not regulation sizes, they are more economical than customizing a size and we find our customers never complain about having additional room.
Brighten Up with ClearSpan
The bright atmosphere of a ClearSpan arena allows dressage riders to be prepared as each letter comes up and helps them and the horse for proper execution. Also, the abundant natural light prevents judges from missing faults that should be penalized. Dressage is a style of riding with extremely high standards so it only makes sense that you choose an arena style to accommodate those standards.
That completes the dressage stop on our structure for every style trail ride. Let’s get back in the saddle and get a head start for next week’s stop – show jumping.
What are some benefits your would gain from practicing your riding style in a ClearSpan Fabric Structure?