In modern competitions, horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements, known as figures (volte, serpentine, figure of eight). The completely flat arena, measuring 60 x 20 m., is skirted by a low rail along which 12 lettered markers are placed symmetrically indicating where movements are to start, where changes of pace or lead are to occur and where the movements are to end.
In all competitions, the horse has to show three paces: walk, trot and canter as well as smooth transitions within and between these paces. Many people have seen Olympic or Grand Prix dressage on television. The horse appears to do intricate maneuvers as the ride sits almost motionless. But, dressage isn't just fancy moves with hard to pronounce names. The horses are trained to carry the rider with increasingly more ease and respond to subtle aids.aids. The horse is being taught to be supple, balanced and responsive.
A kur is a dressage test ridden to music. You are given a set of required elements and create your own test to instrumental music you choose. Some tests can be ridden in pairs or teams.The horse appears to be dancing, as with the Fresians in the video.The goal of dressage training is to develop a horse's flexibility, responsiveness to aids and balance. This makes the horse stronger and more pleasurable to ride.