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Originally developed as a method for training military horses, the centuries-old disciplin e of dressage, which is a French term meaning “training,” was used to increase the maneuverability and obedience of cavalry mounts with some of the very advanced movements being taught specifically as battle techniques.[...]

The specific purpose for dressage is to develop a horse’s natural athletic ability and maximize its suppleness and attentiveness, all the while fostering ultimate harmony between horse and rider.

In today’s world, competitive dressage is recognized as one of the three equestrian Olympic disciplines, and as well, is a method for showcasing all levels of training in a competitive format. Currently, there are nine progressive levels of competition, open to any breed of horse and available for all levels of riders, in which the horse and rider perform compulsory exercises. Special classes such as musical freestyle offer creativity and individual expression for the exhibitors and have become spectator favorites.

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United States Dressage Federation

USEF International Discipline Association

The USDF is the only national membership organization dedicated to dressage, a method of horse training in existence since ancient Greece and an Olympic sport since the inception of the modern Olympics in the late 1800’s. Dedicated to education, the recognition of achievement, and promotion of dressage, USDF has more than 30 different educational programs, 125 affiliate local or regional clubs, and more than 2000 annual awards for excellence in competition.

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Frequently Asked Questions



  • Dressage Attire and Equipment Booklet Updated 4/1/14
  • Guidelines for Dressage Bits (USEF/USDF Competitions)- Under Construction
  • Dress and Saddlery: Questions and Answers – Under Construction
    • Crystal Braiding Bands are not permitted for USEF or FEI Competitions

Dressage Test Resources

Para Dressage

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Staff Contact

Dressage Questions? You can email or call Hallye Griffin, Managing Director of Dressage, Hannah Niebielski, Director of Dressage National Programs, Kristen Brett, Director of Dressage Programs, or Austyn Erickson, Sport Programs Assistant.

859 225 6949

859 225 6918

859 225 6919

859 225 6929

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