It’s a subject often discussed and there are a number of different views out there, but who better to ask than international rider Ruth Edge, whose prowess in eventing is matched by her growing success in the dressage arena.
Asked whether she feels eventing dressage is different to ‘pure’ dressage, Ruth says, “I think eventing dressage is similar in several ways to pure dressage. In both disciplines I feel it is important that the horses have practised the movements as they would appear in the test. This doesn’t mean you have to run through the whole test, but the horses will definitely be able to show themselves off better if they are confident about where they are going.
“Then there are the basics, which are very important whatever discipline you are competing in. Firstly the horse must go forward from the rider’s leg and then be straight and supple down the rein. Where pure dressage does differ from eventing dressage is that the event horses have to fit their dressage training around jumping and galloping work, so the horses’ muscles need to be fit to do all phases not just dressage. It is important to bear in mind this in your training at home.
The dressage horses on the other hand will hack for fun, as well as to help their fitness, but their primary focus is their dressage training and because of that, there is more time to perfect movements, self carriage, cadence and all the other requirements for a winning test.
Another similarity between the two disciplines is the welfare and care of the horses at home. “I use a number of products routinely for all the horses, both the eventers and the dressage horses, but the liquid joint supplement FlexiVite HA in particular is very important. It supports the horses’ joints at every level and I think it’s especially helpful for long term soundness in older horses.”