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The term dressage is a French word that refers to a competitive equestrian sport known as "the highest expression of horse training." (About Dressage, International Equestrian Federation)

There are organized competitions for all levels from amateur to the World Equestrian Games, where "horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements."

Here are the most important local and national organizations:

  • The United States Dressage Federation (USDF) - National level competitions in U.S.
  • United State Equestrian Federation (USEF) - National level competitions in U.S.
  • USDF Group Member Organizations (GMOs) - Local competitions
  • Federation Equestre Internationale - elaborate the FEI tests for advanced horse and rider teams


In Dressage competitions, there are special tests with different difficulty levels. Competitors can begin with Introductory levels tests where it is asked only to walk and trot or training/walk, trot and canter. There are movements specific for each level according to the horse's performances needed for each competition.

Federation Equestre Internationale levels:

  • Prix St. George
  • Intermediare I
  • Intermediare II
  • Grand Prix - the highest level use in competitions like Olympic Games  

In the modern dressage, a successful training is demonstrated through a series of well-defined movements. Each movement is noted by the jury with marks from zero to ten, where zero means "not performed" and ten means "excellent" and for each mark there are comments about the evolution. The competitor must achieve a minimum of 60% in order to compete on the next level.


Dressage horses

In horse dressage, the rider is using his hands and legs to send commands to the horse. Horses trained for dressage competitions must learn specific movements and for this they have distinctive training programs.

Every riding horse can profit from the principles and techniques of training but just pure bred horses are in the warm-blood category. The other breeds are seen in different levels of the competition.

In noncompetitive pursuance of classical dressage we usually handle horses from Lipizzaner breed.


Depending on size we distinguish two types of arena: small and standard. Around the arena there are letters that specify the place where a movement should be performed.

The small arenas are used for entry level competitions, for the USDF Introductory tests and the USEF Training Level tests. The size is 20m/40m (66ft/131ft) and the letters around are: A-K-E-H-C-M-B-F from "All King Edward's Horses Can Make Big Fences." In the center line there are the letters: D-X-G.

The standard arena is used for a wide range of tests and events. Its size is 20m/60m (66ft/197ft) and the letters around are: A-K-V-E-S-H-C-M-R-B-P-F. The letters in the center line are D-L-X-I-G whit X marking the center.

The horse enters at A and the first judge is positioned at C. Depending on the level of the competition there are up to five judges positioned at C, E, B, M, and H for a correct score from all angles.

In the United States the judges are certified by the USEF (The United States Equestrian Federation) according to their experience, for different levels of competition.

The Training Pyramid or Scale

The training scale is normally used as a guide for horse training but it is most often associated with dressage. The levels of the pyramid are interconnected and built to watch the horse's evolution in training.


Rhythm and Regularity (Takt)

Refers at the sequence of the footfalls and includes the pure walk, pure trot, and pure canter. The stride characteristics noted are equality and continuity. The combination must be regular in order to achieve pure gaits and more difficult exercises.

Relaxation (Losgelassenheit)

In this section there are noted the looseness and flexibility of the horse, the ability to make smooth transitions, change position from side to side and willingly reach down.

Contact (Anlehnung)

The third level of the pyramid points the good contact. This refers to the way the horse is responding to the rider's hand and leg commands, and is accepting the bit.

Impulsion (Schwung)

The fourth level of the pyramid refers to the pushing power. A horse has impulsion if it is pushing off firmly from the ground and then moving its feet in cadence forward.

Straightness (Geraderichtung)

You can say about a horse that is straight when his hind legs follow exactly the way of the front legs. It can't be achieved if the horse doesn't have rhythm and the rider can't control and connect to all body areas of the horse.

Collection (Versammlung)

If you execute correctly all elements in the other levels of the pyramid, collection comes naturally. It just happens and you achieved the top level of the pyramid. You and your horse will get here after many hard and rigorous training hours.

Our Trainers

Our passion made us choose a different approach of the horses.

We try to communicate with the horse, with his mind and soul. We want to establish a close connection between rider and horse and maybe this is one of the reasons of our excellent results in various competitions.

Ruth Perez

Ruth Alvarez Perez was born in Spain. At the age of 4 she discovered her passion for riding. Together with her family she moved to the United States where she continued to follow her dream. At the age of 15 she became assistant trainer at the Miami Equestrian Center, Florida. Here she developed her passion for Andalusian horses.

As a junior she won various competitions: Dressage Suitability, Show Hack, Hunt Seat, and Native Tack and Attire. Devoted to the Iberian breed, the age of 19 founds her at a Guardiola-bloodline breeding farm of Andalusian horses. Here she developed her experience in training mares and foals and she began to work with stallions.

She works closely with some of the top Andalusian trainers in Spain and she learns training the Andalusian breed in Doma Vaquera, Doma Clasica and Alta Escuela.

The experience recommends her as a professional trainer of the Iberian breed.

National Champion

  • Five time national champion specializing in classical training methods.

2010 IALHA Professional Horsewoman of the Year

In 2010, Ruth Perez was awarded with The 2010 Horsewoman of The Year title. This recognition is given to those riders and horses whose character is based on the same principles as IALHA: "spirit of honor, quality, and excellence".

Joey Perez


Joey Perez was born in Cuba where he learned about riding techniques since he was just a little boy. At 18 he started learning training methods for different breeds but he also discovered his passion for the Iberian horses.

Helped by master trainers he improved his Classical Dressage and he was several times awarded in breed shows. His passion for Andalusians helped him accept new challenges and improve his training techniques year by year.

2012 IALHA Professional Horseman of the Year

IAHLA 2012 Joey Perez awards

In 2012, he received the IALHA award of Professional Horseman Of The Year as recognition for his entire activity. This award is a confirmation of having the same values of life that IALHA is based on.

1997 Region 7 Championship Exhibition Performance Honor Award

Joey and Hechicero, his Pura Raza Espaņola shown horse, received in 1997 Region 7 Championship Exhibition Performance Honor Award after a great demonstration of Dressage with impeccably executed movements.


2013 Best of Silver Springs Award

In April 2013 Art of Riding received 2013 Best of Silver Springs Award. This award is given as a recognition our business and practice that respects the values of our community and helps our local business improve each year. This year, in 2013, The Silver Springs Award Program for local businesses was based on quality and successfull marketing strategies.