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

  • 26 Apr 2021
    Qualification Criteria for 2021 - All Youth Championships

    The FEI Board approved a Covid-19 related resolution to waive the qualification criteria for the 2021 Youth Championships (Children, Juniors, Young Riders, U25 and Ponies) due to the limited opportunities for Athletes to achieve MERs, as a result of the restrictions on travel and cancellations of international events.

    The same process will apply as for 2020, when the qualification criteria for the Youth Championships were also waived and NFs were responsible for selecting their best Athletes.

  • 31 Mar 2021
    FEI Dressage Rules Updated

    Dressage Rules Art. 427.2.2: 

    Due to an administrative error, this article has been updated to reflect the provision approved at the FEI GA in 2020, which was the deletion of the entire art. 427.2.2. 

    A full statement can be found directly in the FEI Dressage Rules available here

  • 30 Mar 2021
    FEI Dressage World Cup™ Rules 2021-2022 - Emergency resolution.

    The FEI Board has approved as emergency resolution, the use of the "regular" Grand Prix test at all CDI-W events until 21 June 2021 to enable combinations to achieve the MERs for the Olympic Games. After this date, the Short Grand Prix test will be used at all CDI-W events, as per the FEI Dressage World CupTM Rules. The amendment document is available on the FEI Dressage Rules page here.

  • 23 Mar 2021
    Qualification Criteria for 2021

    Qualification Criteria for the FEI Dressage European Championship 2021 have been updated, including now the Short Grand Prix, as well as the Grand Prix, as qualifying competition. This document is available on the Dressage Main Events page.

  • 22 Mar 2021
    Guidelines for the Grand Prix Special to Music - Background Music

    Guidelines for the Grand Prix Special to Music - Background Music, have been updated regarding the provision and the start of the music, on 18 March 2021. This document is available on the Useful Documents page for Dressage.

  • 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 2019 the previous year.”

  • 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: