Classical Dressage - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 11-04-2010, 04:39 AM Thread Starter
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Classical Dressage

I'm currently working on my theoretical knowledge of dressage and I came across classical dressage. Apparently, it is a fairly old technique used in preparation for war. Modern dressage has its differences from classical dressage, though I am just not really sure how to describe the two different styles apart.
If anyone has any helpful information classical dressage and it's differences from today's modern dressage, please post. Any information is very valuable to me.
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post #2 of 22 Old 11-04-2010, 10:06 AM
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It can be dangerous to try to pigeonhole dressage techniques into "classical" and "not classical" or "modern". Good training is good training, and bad training is bad training. Both existed then and both exist now.

Good dressage seeks to work with the horse and cultivate his natural beauty and movement while teaching him to be a willing and responsive partner. Bad dressage forces the appearance of that final product, often using short-cut techniques or equipment to bypass portions of the training scale. To the trained eye (not saying my eye is that trained at all here... ) horses trained this way have visible earmarks of the skipped steps, such as a hollow back, face behind the vertical, uneven muscling - esp. of the neck, poor rhythm/impurity of gaits, tension and stress.

Check out this website: ::: Sustainable Dressage - - Welcome to my Site about Sustainable Dressage! :::

Some of the articles get rather technical, but this is an excellent resource for understanding the theory of good dressage and training in general.

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #3 of 22 Old 11-04-2010, 11:36 AM
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Modern dressage is classial dressage gone arye.
The rules of dressage are classial, however, judging has now become a personal thing rather than following the rules. As a result modern dressage has been diverted away from the classical schooling and results.

Read FEI's Articles 401 through 418...these descriptions are the mandated requirements and they are classical.

I am of the opinion that modern dressage riders have lost the art of releasing the horse, simply because they feel they cannot control those big Warmbloods and as a result the lower competitive dressage riders have chosen to mimic the GP winning riders even though the presentations are wrong.

E. Allan Buck
"Ask and allow, do not demand and force"
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post #4 of 22 Old 11-04-2010, 07:44 PM
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No Spirit, I think in this case the OP is asking the difference between Classical as in Haute Ecole and Modern as in the Sport.

OP - in terms of movements trained for use in war, you are asking about the airs above ground? As in Levade etc? If this is true, then yes, they were taught to battle horses for war. They each had individual uses - eg the Levade (a very controlled movement where the horse transfers all weight to it's hind quarters and effectively sitting into a rear) was used to give the rider a view around them.

Modern dressage is what we see in the ring at shows these days. The horse and rider teams are marked on their accuracy of movement etc.

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post #5 of 22 Old 11-05-2010, 12:18 AM
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Dressage is what remains of many different riding schools that brought their own styles into the mix. People have been riding horses for a long time, and good equitations was valuable, whether for war or for personal development (upper class, of course). Xenophon (greek horse master) wrote one of the oldest surviving texts that is still drawn upon for dressage concepts.
There is De Guernier (spell?), and Baucher and many others who wrote and taught.
What many people say is that dressage as it is practiced in modern competition has strayed from the original texts. That's where they say there is a "modern" and a "classical" dressage. Big debate nowadays.
You can form your own opinion after you read some of the various texts and watch some top competitors.
Sylvia Loch writes a good book on "Classical Dressage". Arthur Kottas has a more nuts and bolts book out that one might call modern dressage, but I dunno. I know that the old ways migt be unrecognizable to us. They rode in much harsher bits, often rode in saddles that look like bullfighting saddle of today, rode with more emphasis on collection and less on extension. They often rode one handed and carried a stick vertically in their hands. Check out some of those old engravings.
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post #6 of 22 Old 11-05-2010, 12:52 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the assistance. If anyone has any more information I am still very much interested.
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post #7 of 22 Old 11-05-2010, 01:57 PM
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Dressage is to train the horse in a way that he moves better and in a better balance. There are two schools of this:
Good Dressage ie. Good Training and Bad Dressage ie. Bad Training.

All other definitions are moot.
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post #8 of 22 Old 11-05-2010, 11:04 PM
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Another good resource for the more "classical" dressage is Philippe Karl. He's written a few books and made some DVDs. I particularly enjoy the illustrations in his books.
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post #9 of 22 Old 11-05-2010, 11:14 PM
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Egon Von Neindorff (sp.?) has an EXCELLENT book on Classical is what my trainer follows. The book is beautiful and extremely informative!

Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?-Edgar Allen Poe
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post #10 of 22 Old 11-06-2010, 01:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Piaffe View Post
Egon Von Neindorff (sp.?) has an EXCELLENT book on Classical is what my trainer follows. The book is beautiful and extremely informative!

do you have that book?
There is one I am interested in at the grange.
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