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Behind the Scenes at a Dressage Competition: An Insider’s Look

Dressage competitions are a fascinating blend of grace, precision, and athletic prowess. But what happens behind the scenes? What does it take to prepare both horse and rider for the dance that unfolds in the dressage ring? Join me as we take an exclusive insider’s look at the hustle and bustle that precedes the calm and composed performances in a dressage competition.

The Early Morning Start

Competitions often start early, with riders, grooms, and trainers arriving at the break of dawn. Horses are fed, stalls are cleaned, and the day’s schedule is reviewed. It’s a time of quiet anticipation before the flurry of activities begins.

The Warm-Up

The warm-up is a critical phase where the rider and horse synchronize their energies. It’s not just about loosening muscles; it’s also about calming nerves, establishing rhythm, and ensuring responsiveness to aids. This delicate dance of preparation is as much a mental exercise as it is a physical one.

The Test

All the preparation leads to this moment – the dressage test. Every movement is meticulously executed, displaying the harmony between horse and rider. From the sidelines, trainers and fellow competitors watch, silently rooting for a clean, fluid performance.

The Cool Down

After the test, horses are cooled down and checked for any signs of stress or injury. Riders may reflect on their performance, discussing highlights and areas for improvement with trainers.

The Waiting Game

Then comes the wait for the results. Tensions run high as competitors await the judges’ verdict. Regardless of the outcome, the atmosphere is one of camaraderie and mutual respect among riders.

The Aftermath

Once the day’s events wind down, it’s time for clean-up. Horses are groomed, tack is cleaned, and equipment is packed up. It’s a time for reflection, celebration of victories, and learning from the day’s experiences.


A dressage competition is more than the performance in the arena. It’s about the collective effort of dedicated individuals who live and breathe the sport. It’s about the undying love for the horse and the thrill of the ride. So, the next time you watch a dressage competition, remember the hard work, dedication, and passion that unfolds behind the scenes.

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