All you need to know about dressage in the Olympics

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NEWS | Olimpics

The reigning Olympic dressage champion is British rider Charlotte Dujardin, having won individual gold riding Valegro at the 2012 London Olympics and 2016 Rio Olympics. 

The Olympics are coming and we are getting hyped to see the top riders engage in a clash of titans. However, you might have many questions regarding who the top riders are and what Dressage is like during the Games. 

Who are the world’s best dressage riders?

As we have mentioned, the reigning champion is British dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin. After her triumph at London 2012, she earned the nickname of ‘The Girl on the Dancing Horse’. However, Rio was the last competition for her horse gelding Valegro, who has now retired. 

Dujardin has been unable to repeat the success so far with her new mare Mount St John Freestyle. Despite the mare growing with experience, German rider Isabell Werth is a huge threat in these Olympic Games. 

Germany is the most successful nation in Olympic equestrian history by a big margin: they have won a total of 25 golds, 13 silver and 14 bronze olympic medals. Isabell Werth has recently overtaken the dressage legend Reiner Klimke as the most successful rider in equestrian Olympic history with 10 medals (six gold, four silver) at five Games. 

She has claimed her ninth world title at the 2018 World Equestrian Games and took the European Dressage Championships gold medal in Rotterdam 2019. These have been with her mare Bella Rose although she also has won the last three World Cup Finals with Weihegold OLD

You will find useful: Find out the schedule, venue and format in these upcoming Olympics. 

What is the highest score given?

We will likely see a battle for gold between Dujardin and Werth in the Tokyo Olympics. It will be a hard match as Charlotte Dujardin holds the record for the highest score ever given in dressage. 

94.3% was awarded to Charlotte and Valegro for their grand prix freestyle performance in Olympia, London, December 2014. Moreover, they hold the record for the standard grand prix test (87.46%) and the grand prix special (88.022%). 

What is dressage? 

Dressage is one of the three Olympic equestrian sports and a FEI recognized discipline. The sport takes place at different levels, judges have different rankings and the sport involves showing off the horse’s training by performing prescribed movements in front of the judges. 

It comes from the French word “dresseur” that means training. There are 38 set movements in this equestrian sport that the horse has to execute with precision but also the rider has to notify through the subtle use of reins and leg pressure. 

You will find interesting: Knowing your C’s in dressage.