Dressage has existed for many centuries in the form of training horses for competition. There is even some evidence that some of the manoeuvres used in dressage were developed by the ancient Greeks. However, it wasn’t until the Renaissance that dressage flourished. As horsemanship became an art, the first riding school was set up in Naples in 1532 by Federico Grisone, a Neapolitan nobleman. As the horses performed intricate movements, it was from his academy that the modern form of dressage evolved. It wasn’t until 1735 that the Spanish Riding School, geared toward the fashionable nobility, began in Vienna and replaced an earlier riding school established in Versailles in the 16th century. Today, the Spanish Riding School is one of the greatest in the world, where classical dressage movements are still taught and performed.
Nearly 30 years later, the French Cavalry set up a riding school in Saumur. The Cadre Noir, as the group of officers was known, was renowned for their dashing riding across the country and in the art of dressage. It has greatly contributed to dressage over the past two centuries, as the French technique uniquely employs lighter and more humane techniques.
In Europe, competitive dressage has been developing since the beginning of the 20th century. It was included in the 1912 Olympic games in Stockholm, however, at this point it was more of an obedience test derived from military tests and not as well known. By the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, the standard rose dramatically to include most of the modern movements. At this point, riders were predominantly male and in the military. The focus of dressage shifted in 1948 when the U. S. Cavalry was disbanded and the sport began to grow in popularity. 1952 marked the first year women were allowed to compete in the Olympics.
The first Dressage organisation in the UK was the British Horse Society Dressage Group founded in 1961 that held 8 competitions in its first year with just 123 members. British Dressage was formed in 1998 as the governing body of dressage in the UK and today has over 13,000 members, more than 10,000 registered horses and runs 2,000 days of dressage competitions at venues around the UK throughout the year.
Today Dressage is a popular equestrian sport in many countries and has developed into the fastest-growing Olympic equestrian sport. A sports steeped in history and primarily associated with elite, it is continuing to adapt to keep pace with the modern world. TV exposure, particularly during the Olympics, has increased its mainstream appeal and you now can now find some surprising organizations getting involved in Dressage. For the 2016 Olympics in Rio online betting site Betway.com will be offering odds on dressage events for the second time in its history, among a whole range of other events. Betting companies have long been offering markets on horse racing, but dressage is something that the general public associate with gambling. Whether it’s a symptom of a more modern acceptance of Dressage as a sport, or the inevitable impact of internet merging previously disparate worlds, it is hard to say.
Whilst its early for betting sites to offer odds for the Olympics, you can look out for Betway’s odds on their sports page: https://sports.betway.com