Dressage

Dressage, the highest expression of horse training, is considered the most artistic of the equestrian sports and can be traced as far back as ancient Greece. The horse has to perform at a walk, trot and canter, and all tests are ridden from memory and follow a prescribed pattern of movements. The only exception is the Freestyle which is specially choreographed for each horse and is performed to music.

Of all the exponents of Dressage Germany’s Reiner Kilmke is perhaps the best known, after winning six gold and two bronze medals between 1964 and 1976, a record for equestrian events. And Dressage has also produced its share of heroic achievements, none more so than Denmark’s Lis Hartel.

Hartel, who became one of the first women to take part in Olympic Dressage, was paralysed by polio in 1944, when she was 23 and expecting her first child. Despite remaining paralysed below the knees, she was chosen to represent her country in the Helsinki Olympics of 1952 and responded by winning the silver medal. When gold medallist Henri Saint Cyr helped her up on to the podium, it was one of the most emotional moments in Olympic history.

The popularity of Dressage has increased rapidly in recent years and the sport now regularly attracts huge crowds. Dressage is undoubtedly the most aesthetically pleasing of the disciplines in the FEI stable and the pure magic of top-class Freestyle under floodlights, as sport and art combine, guarantees that the popularity of Dressage will continue to grow. Furthermore, Para-Equestrian Dressage is the only equestrian discipline that is included in the Paralympic Games, where it has been a regular fixture since 1996.

FEI Dressage Records (Updated 07/12/2016)

Latest Department Updates

  • 22 Feb 2021
    Exception to FEI Dressage Rules - Annex 7

    Emergency Board Resolution - Covid-19 (17/02/2021).

    The Board approved an exception to the FEI Dressage Rules regarding qualification for CDI5* for the 2021 Calendar season whereby an “Athlete/Horse combination must have achieved a minimum of sixty four percent (64%) in Grand Prix at two (2) different CDI3*/CDI4*/CDI-W or CDIO3* /CDIO4* (Consolation Competitions do not count) after 01 January the previous year 2019.”

  • 12 Feb 2021
    FEI 2021 Rules Explainer Videos now available on FEI Campus

    The FEI Education & Officials Department have recently published explainer videos for the major FEI Dressage & Para-Dressage 2021 Rule changes.

    These videos are mainly aimed at Officials and Athletes who are required to be up-to-date with the different rules. For the wider audience these videos will serve a rather informative purpose, providing a deeper understanding of our sport. The goal of these short videos is to highlight the most impactful rule changes and their rationale in each discipline, as well as more general regulations including the Equine Anti-Doping Controlled Medication Regulations and the Anti-Doping Rules for Human Athletes which underwent a full review in 2020.

    Here are the direct links to the below listed videos on FEI Campus by clicking on the relevant name: