Dressage

The Dressage competitions are held at Ullevi Stadium and include Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special and Freestyle. Each nation can enter one team of four riders, and the winning team and individual European Champion titles are awarded during the week.

CHAMPIONSHIP CATEGORIES

GRAND PRIX AND GRAND PRIX SPECIAL

Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special classes have a set programme and a high level of difficulty. The teams are closely observed by seven exacting judges. The scores awarded by the seven judges are added together and the average of these scores is the competitor’s final score. The judges observe the horse’s impulsion and obedience, swing, and elasticity and the rider’s control, and award a score between 0 and 10. A coefficient is applied for certain phases, depending on the level of difficulty. If the horse goes off course, points are deducted. Every round takes roughly 5.5 minutes in a Grand Prix and roughly 6.40 minutes in a Grand Prix Special.

What aspects do the judges assess in a Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special?
Gaits (freedom, purity, regularity). Impulsion (desire to move forward, elasticity, suppleness of the back, engagement of the hindquarters). Looseness (attention and confidence, harmony, lightness and ease of movements, straightness, acceptance of the bit and lightness of front). The rider’s seat and posture – correctness and effect of aids.

FREESTYLE

The final Dressage phase is freestyle to music. In the Freestyle, the rider composes his or her own programme and chooses the music. The Freestyle is usually very popular with the audience because every contestant presents a unique programme. There is plenty of scope for imagination and creativity, and the Freestyle routines are usually much more difficult than the traditional programmes.

What aspects do the judges assess in the Freestyle?
Rhythm, energy and elasticity. Harmony between rider and horse. Choreography, use of the course, creativity. Level of difficulty, calculated risks. Music and coordination with the music. Every round in the Freestyle takes roughly 5.5 to 6 minutes.

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