//High school dressage: Discipline of Dressage
High School Dressage

High school dressage: Discipline of Dressage

High School Dressage

High school is a discipline in which the horse performs a series of exercises but in this case, the rider is standing on the ground. It could be said that it is one of the oldest known equestrian disciplines. It comes from the taming of war that was used in the sixteenth century. When the light cavalry was created in response to the newly invented firearms.

The High School developed more like an art from the Baroque period. In addition, when the horses of more voluminous profile, exuberant manes and rounded forms became fashionable.

Vienna's Spanish Riding School Lipizzaner Horse Performance Wembley London


In each country where High School is practiced historically there are different schools, among which we can mention:

  • The French school “de La Cadre Noir” (founded in 1828 and descends from the Royal French Riding School)
  • Spanish school, which was founded in 1572 (during the reign of Felipe II)

Thanks to the High School we have the modern discipline that we currently call dressage. Dressage is the evolution and simplification of the traditional dressage of the courts of Vienna and France. These courts had their influence in almost all of Europe.

The dressage shares with the High School these exercises: supports, back inside, steps back, facing the wall, rump inside, piaffe, passage, pirouettes and foot changes. In turn, the High School also adds the elevated, the corvette, the caper, the Spanish step and works with long reins.


On the other hand, the High School includes approximately three years of training. In the first stage the rider and the horse are taught normal steps, maintaining posture and elastic seat. In the second one the rider is taught to control the horse, maintaining rhythm and elasticity, including steps and turns.

The third and final stage is devoted mainly to the practice of demanding maneuvers such as:

  • Cabriole: in this maneuver the horse jumps with his front legs well bent against the body and the hind legs stretched out completely,
  • Ballotade or corvette: They are jumping, but this time the front and rear legs must be bent with the visible helmets.
  • Croupade: they are jumps, but this time the front and rear legs must be bent under the belly, so that the helmets are not visible.


High School Dressage
High School Dressage

In another order of ideas, for the 20th century the Andalusian School of Equestrian Art appears in Spain. With the foundation of this school, the discipline becomes more popular for its shows and courses. Besides Spain, in Portugal and Italy, they are countries where there are more High School competitions.

It is necessary to highlight that in Mexico and Brazil the interest in High School has grown dramatically. Spanish and Lusitanian horses are highly valued in those countries.

For the practice of High School in Spain and Portugal horses of Purebred Spanish (PRE) and Lusitanos are used. The harnesses are typical of these countries. But in Austria, Lipizzaner horses are used and the most renowned exhibition is held in the winter arena. This riding school was built by King Charles VI in the year 1729. In France, the breeds are usually of the French Silla type, and are generally practiced outdoors.

To conclude, since High School is not an Olympic sport, it has made this riding discipline a less popular and well-known type of dressage. High school is more related to the show than to a sport. Nowadays the practice has spread in diverse parts of the world like Germany, Austria and more recently in South Africa, Mexico and Brazil.




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