Dressage as defined by the Oxford dictionary: the art of riding and training a horse in a manner that develops obedience, flexibility and balance.
Origin in French literally meaning “training”; dresser – “to train”
Tavichez primarily focuses on training our Friesian horses in Dressage. Our two mares are currently schooling training/Level 1 and FEI movements. The Dressage training of a Friesian proves to be a little different that that of a warmblood or standard horse. Friesians being big movers and naturally collected with their high carriage and short backs. It is therefore very important to take the necessary time in the basics of Dressage for a Friesian to gain the top-line strength and back strength to perform correctly. Balance, suppleness and acceptance of the contact being the focus in beginning training.
Being short necked Friesians can often be behind the vertical or known as “curling” while they gain the balance and strength to reach for the contact. Their short back also usually finds them put together as a spring, which they have to learn to relax. These are all key reasons in their physical characteristics that require Friesians to be trained slowly and properly in the basics. Taking the necessary time in the basics to build a strong correct foundation is key to a Friesians success in Dressage. Friesians as a breed are also known to mature late so they are usually not started in training until they are 4 or 5 whereas a lot of warmbloods are started at 2 or 3 years of age. All of these factors are taken into consideration when training the Friesians in our program.
Friesians are known throughout the world as carriage horses, but their beautiful visually stunning movement lends itself very well to the Dressage ring. Their huge sunning trot is world famous in driving. A Friesian would normally rather trot than canter. Training the canter can be a long process, but, the big action and movement of the Friesian canter can often seem explosive or out of a movie. Another reason Friesians are often seen on movie sets for the beautiful action. If you see a black horse in a movie with feathers, its likely a Friesian!
It has been our experience from competing that Friesians can attract a lot of attention! People often ask Tasha to stop to take photos and ask for breed information.Of course being so sweet and well mannered a Friesian would never say not to a compliment or a pet or picture!
It can take time for a friesian to have the confidence and balance necessary for Dressage. Patience, persistence and proper training is key. When it all comes together, maybe we are bias, but theres nothing more visually stunning than a Friesian doing Dressage. There are a number of Friesians in Europe making their way up the levels in Dressage with a few competing successfully at FEI.