14 April 17  |  Equestrian   |  

Dressage enthusiasts find Ocala the perfect place to call home


Dressage is a popular equine discipline here in Ocala, Florida. From amateurs to international professionals, Ocala is home to many dressage enthusiasts.

Dressage is a French term meaning “training” and can be defined as the “highest expression of horse training where horse and rider are expected to perform a series of movements in harmony and from memory.” Many people describe dressage riding as a ballet performance, with the horse as the dance partner. Each step the horse takes appears to be a choreographed performance.

Recognized by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), dressage is one of the disciplines featured in the Olympics as well. And as with other equestrian disciplines, the equine sports are gender-equal with men and women competing against each other, particularly at the professional international level.

Not Just for the Pros

But dressage isn’t just for the dressage enthusiast professionals — it is a wonderful discipline for every rider. Many of the basic moves are taught at the walk, with a clear focus on the rider’s position and working in harmony with the horse.

As the horse and rider progress, the moves and tasks become more difficult and harmonious. Basic dressage training on any horse will help the horse learn different levels of obedience and enhance their competitive performance.

Many Disciplines Incorporate Dressage

Additionally, dressage isn’t just for dressage riders. Many other disciplines, like eventing, show jumping and western dressage incorporate dressage into their training as well. Since dressage is about teaching your horse commands, this type of training is beneficial to every discipline.

In Europe, riders are taught the dressage basics first and then once the rider has learned the basics, they are tested prior to jumping. The importance of a trained horse and rider team is critical in the top competitions. For example, in show jumping competitions every second counts in the jump off. Turning quickly and keeping your galloping horse under control will shave off critical seconds in the jumping round.

International Dressage Enthusiasts in Ocala

Ocala in Marion County is host to several accomplished International dressage professionals as well as a large contingent of amateur riders. With several dressage shows locally and the prospect of many more with the World Equestrian Center South at Golden Ocala now in development, there are many options for dressage enthusiasts. From beginning instruction to top professional training, the dressage rider will find their niche in the Marion County, the Horse Country of the World.

Additionally, a growing field in Ocala is Western Dressage, which provides a model of training and horsemanship that optimizes this partnership for the benefit of both horse and rider. Its mission is to celebrate the American West where all these things came to pass. Lynn Palm, a top clinician and trainer resides and trains here in Ocala.

So whether you are a top international dressage professional or just taking up riding, Golden Ocala’s equestrian facilities are the perfect choice for both horse and rider. Plans for the World Equestrian Center at Golden Ocala will feature dressage shows and clinics, growing the sport and discipline.

Dressage lessons, training and boarding are available right here at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club. To learn more, call (800) 251-7674.

Photo Credit:  Susan Stickel

Rider by Rebecca Larkin

FEI Gold Medalist & Horse by Musico de MV

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