Dressage is a french word which is interpreted as ‘training’. It is considered widely as the most artistic and elegant of equestrian sports. This sport requires a rider and horse to be in perfect harmony together whilst performing. Dressage riders and horses perform ‘tests’ that consist of a course of movements and are judged on a scale of one to ten on these.
Dressage is seen to be the foundation for mostly all equestrian disciplines. Due to the precision required in the movements, the rider and horse need to be balanced and aware down to the most subtle aids.
There are ten different levels of dressage. These range from very basic skills up the highest levels which require literal perfection and years of training to master. Each level until the sixth has three tests of which the rider can choose.
For the first four levels of dressage there is only one judge for tests. Judges score movements on a scale of one up to ten. Competitors and their horses are scored on collective marks and the score for each movement is added together to come up with a final number of points. After this the number of points is divided by the highest number of points achievable and multiplied by ten to create a final percentage score.
Dressage riders are required to wear formal clothing in tests. The dress code for all tests up to the fourth level is a short riding coat of conservative colour with a tie, choker, stock tie or integrated stand-up collar, light coloured breeches, boots, and protective headgear. There are more specific rules relating to certain levels.
Generally expensive breeds of warmbloods are used for dressage. Warmbloods are extremely talented horses with nearly all breeds having foundations in European countries. Whist these horses are beautiful and athletic you do not have to have a warmblood horse if you wish to compete in dressage.
What is a ‘Kissing Spine’?
What is a Kissing Spine?
A kissing spine describes a painful condition in a horse, otherwise known as overriding dorsal spinous processes. A kissing spine is usually brought about by poor posture causing the vertical protuberances of each spinal vertebra to rub together, leading to pain and swelling.
Signs of Kissing Spines
Horses with this condition tend to tense their backs under the weight of a rider, thus resulting in a hard and stiff back with little ability to side-bend. From this the horse’s performance will deteriorate and the rider will feel uncomfortable when riding the horse. If the painful structures are jarred by a rider landing heavily on the horses back or by the horse tripping, it can go into a sudden fit of bucking or pigrooting.
As mentioned before, poor posture is a large cause for a horse to develop a kissing spine. Dr Bidstrup views that one of the most common causes of back pain and poor posture is that of the residual neurological effects of birth canal trauma.
Veterinary diagnosis of the condition will generally start with palpation and followed to confirmation with a number of tests. Local anesthetic is injected in between the vertebrae suspected of painful kissing to see if the signs of pain are eliminated from this test. There are many scans that may also be used but they require a large amount of expense. According to Spinal Vet Br Bidstrup in many cases much can be done before such expense could be necessary. He and colleagues of the Australian Veterinary Chiropractic Association believe that kissing spines are part of a complex postural issue, and in most cases is readily treatable by taking the ‘whole horse approach.’
Soreness from kissing spines can be alleviated by rest, and the problem may be resolved by extensive periods of rest. “Many people are too impatient to see this course of action” states Dr Bidstrup. ” And without dealing with the causes the problem is very prone to re-occurrence.”
According to conventional veterinary practice, surgery combined with physiotherapy based on massage and exercises is considered the most successful solution. The kissing spine soreness in some horses can be settled also by the approach of cortisone injections into the spine.
The Best Brands of Equestrian Riding Boots
Equestrians need the perfect pair of riding boots to achieve the varying tasks that are required of them. They need to have a high durability and be comfortable as well as look amazing when in the show ring. Therefore your riding boots are a large investment and it is important to get the right ones for you. Here are 10 brands of exceptional riding boots that will be perfect for you.
This being one of the best-known equestrian clothing brands, is known for their high quality, durable products. Their boots are designed for comfort while looking good at the same time. Although they are known for their woman’s footwear, Ariat also have a good range of quality men’s boots.
Parlanti boots are well used in the show ring their boots offer cutting edge technology and the option to have them either standard or custom made. Their show boots are not all they have to offer, with a gorgeous range of short boots and paddock boots available also.
The Dubarry riding boots are made for the colder weather of the Irish climates of which the brand originates. They are a must have if you experience harsh winters, with undeniable quality and style.
This brand offers a variety of beautifully designed riding boots that will make you stand out in the show ring. Der Dau offers a variety of styles ranging from simple and elegant to the more attention grabbing boots sporting patent leather and crystals.
Middleburg offers more affordable boots while still being a stylish option. There are a variety of synthetic options to choose from for a tighter budget.
This brand doesn’t offer riding boots, however they produce a variety of field boots and rubber boots. Although not as beautiful and elegant as dress boots, these are practical for barn and stable jobs and for the colder weather.
E. Vogel are well known for their amazing custom riding boots. There are a large range of field and dress boots to choose from in both western and English styles. After choosing a product the company will make the boots specifically to your dimensions for the best fit and comfort.
This brand is well known for their comfortable and affordable riding boots. Although not as expensive as other brands of riding boots they are still of high quality.
Mountain Horse is another brand that is known for producing affordable yet quality riding boots. They have a wide range of English riding boots and work boots to choose from.
De Nire Boot Company
De Nire offers top quality boots that stand out from the rest with their gorgeous and original styles. Their boots are top-of-the-line with a wide variety of styles and options to choose from.