If you're new to the world of horses and don't know anything more than how to build a proper horse fence you probably don't know what the sport of dressage is then. Luckily this is the right place to be, as we're more focused on horses and dressage than most, and if that sounds good to you then keep on reading; if not, then you should be able to get yourfix somewhere else on the Internet.
The term dressage is French and when translated it means training. In regards to horses dressage is a competitive equestrian sport and the International Equestrian Federation has defined dressage as, "the highest expression of horse training," and they go on to further state that, "horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements."
The first experience many have to dressage or horse ballet, as it's sometimes called, is by watching it on television on the Olympics or Grand Prix dressage events. The fundamental purpose of dressage is to develop a horse's willingness to perform and its natural athletic ability through standardized progressive training methods, which will turn them into a riding horse. Over time a horse that takes part in dressage will become flexible, respond to aids, grow stronger and become more pleasurable to ride.
Equipment needed to participate in dressage events, other than a sound horse or pony, includes: an English saddle, an English snaffle bit, horse mane braiding equipment, gloves, jacket, boots, shirt, breeches and an approved helmet. You might want to also look into some custom orthotics for your tired feet since you'll be using them a lot. Once you have the proper equipment you'll be ready to participate in various dressage events where your performance will be judged through tests of prescribed movement series. Each test is scored from zero to ten and in order to move onto the next level you'll need to achieve at least a score of 6s.
If you want to become very good at the sport of dressage hiring a trainer or coach with dressage experience will be very beneficial and will help train you and your horse so that you can achieve the highest scores possible and move onto the next level.
After reading this article on dressage hopefully you will never find yourself again asking the question "what is dressage?" and if that question is ever uttered in your vicinity you'll have the knowledge to single-handedly answer it.