Equestrian Dressage beautiful riding jackets.

Who Invented Equestrian Dressage?

Of the three main equestrian disciplines that constitute eventing, dressage is the one that requires the most skill, training and precision, where horses and riders alike look their best not only figuratively but literally with the help of beautiful riding jackets.

Cross-country and show jumping are intense, physical events based around speed, finesse, accuracy and discipline, but the ultimate display of the graceful art of riding is found in the world of dressage, with some routines comparable in complexity to artistic gymnastics.

It is also far older than the other two disciplines in a recognisable form. Whilst show jumping originated with the Inclosure Act of 1773 and the need for horses to be able to hop fences, and a recognisable form of cross-country was codified alongside the Olympics, Dressage dates back to Ancient Greece.

The oldest surviving work on dressage, and one of the oldest surviving works regarding horse care in general is On Horsemanship by the military leader and philosopher Xenophon of Athens.

The work was particularly influential on horse training practices in the fourth and fifth century BC, and many of Xenophon’s recommendations on choosing horses, the emphasis on kindness and care when training and grooming a horse, and how to train it to be comfortable being ridden on.

It also has advice on training techniques not only for horses bred and trained to be used in war but also what he describes as “showy” and “parade” horses, inspiring the practice of classical dressage.

Many of these skills were lost when Athens fell in 404 BC, but in the wake of the Renaissance in the 15th century AD, classical training, artistry and kindness in training returned to the fore, with The Rules of Riding in 1550 by Federico Grisone becoming the first true book on dressage.

The discipline has evolved ever since, with dressage becoming a major part of Three Day Events, later known as eventing.

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