Dressage Terminology and Lingo – P – W

Dressage Horse

The Basics of Dressage terminology P – W, the list is so long we had to split it into sections.

If dressage isn’t your thing, be sure to check out more horse terminology.

1. All variation of a gait – collected, working, medium and lengthened.
2. A gait in which the ipsilateral pairs of legs move in unison with each other – not a pure or acceptable dressage gait.

When a horses legs are placed behind the horses body and not engaged under their body.

Passage-like or passagey trot
The support phase of this trot is prolonged which creates a floating impression in the gait.

A rhythmic almost standing trotting movement.

Turning around on a grounded foot in pirouettes or turns on the forehand.

The highest point of a horses skull.

1. The lateral flexion at the atlanto-axial joint so that the horse “looks” to the
2. Posture of the rider.

Pull the rein
Taking the rein towards the riders body, not a legal hand position in classical dressage.

An artificial and exaggerated action of the forelegs at a trot.

The correctness of the phases and footfalls of a gait with regards to order and timing.

Pushing out
When a horses hind legs are operating too far behind themselves.

The fluidity, elasticity and freedom of a gait.
*Not the same as purity or correctness.

The forward extension of the forelegs, hind legs and / or neck of a horse.

The purity, evenness, levelness and correctness of a gait.
Regularity is used only to address purity and soundness.

Relative straightness
When a horse is going straight on the inside hind leg follows the track of the inside foreleg.

1. The calmness of a horses mental state.
2. The calm nature of a horses physical state.

When a horse physically opposes the riders direction.
*Not the same as disobedience or evasion.

Work on three tracks. The horse’s quarters are to the track with the forehand away from the track. The outside hind leg creates one track. The outside foreleg and inside hind leg (diagonal pair) create the second track and the inside foreleg creates the third track. The horse must have length bend in the direction of movement.

The characteristic sequence of footfalls and phases of a given gait.
In dressage correct rhythms are pure gaits.

Rocking / rocking horse canter
When a horses neck / forehand is forced into an unnatural up and down motion due to lack of ground coverage, lack of engagement or rider interference.

1. The convexity of a horses topline profile.
2. Characterizing the circular movements of a horses limbs.

When the energy created by a horses hind legs is manifested in an elastic whole body movement.

Reach and roundness of movement.

Self carriage
When a horse carries themselves unconstrained and well-balanced without taking support by balancing on the rider’s hand.

Work on three tracks. The horse’s forehand is brought in off the track so that the outside hind leg creates one track, the outside foreleg and inside hind leg (diagonal pair) create the second track and the inside foreleg creates the third track.

1. Used to refer to a sagging topline.
2. Lacking contact in the rein.

1. Jerking the reins from a rider’s hands.
2. Jerky and unnaturally hight hind leg movement.

Soft rein
A soft feeling contact in the rein.

How fast the ground is covered, increase in speed could be from increasing stride length, tempo or both.

An uninterrupted sequence of rein-backs interspersed with
forward steps in walk. The number of steps is prescribed, and the whole procedure may be repeated several times, followed by an onward transition.

Swinging back
The function of a horses trunk muscles which effectively transmits the energy produced by the hind legs through to the horse.

Swinging head
An indication of acceptance of contact or constraint when the horses muzzle moves left to right or in circles at the trot and canter.

Take the rein
To close fingers on the rein and take a stronger contact.

Tempi changes
Multiple flying changes strung together to form a movement.

Rate of rhythm repetition measured in beats per minute.
*Not necessarily connected to the length of stride or speed.

1. An anxious or nervous mental state of a horse.
2. A strained physical state of a horse.
3. Contraction or shortening of muscles.

The elastic and connected state of a horses musculature which permits an unrestricted flow of energy from end to end and allows the rider’s aids and influence to be freely accepted.

Evading contact by lowering one ear by tipping or cocking the head.

The horses silhouette from the top of the poll to the base of the tail.

Track / tracks
1. The line or path each foot (or pair of feet) travels.
2. Direction of travel.
3. Lateral movements on “tracks”.
4. A path next to the rail in an arena.

Tracking up
When the hind foot steps into the tracks of the forefeet they replace.

1. Describes the lack of parallelism to the long axis of the arena in the trailing haunches in half-pass and leg-yielding.
2. When a horses hind legs are too far behind the horse.

A brief release of contact in the rein used to demonstrate that a horse will maintain carriage, balance, pace and tempo with a loose rein.

When a horse is high in the forehand relative to the croup.

A circle, six meters in diameter.

Whipping up
An upward evasion of the croup which is often repeated at the canter or in piaffe.

Wide behind
When a horse travels with its hind feet further apart than its forefeet.

Work in hand
When a horse is exercised or trained from the ground.

At the walk, trot and canter at an energetic, but calm pace. The length of stride is between that of collected and medium paces.

One Comment on “Dressage Terminology and Lingo – P – W

  1. graham middleton

    I’ve just recently taken up the quest by neice to put together word search crosswords and trivia questions on horses,breeds,colours,dressage lingo etc.I was enquiring if you would be interested in using this for your magazine.If you like the idea let me know many thanks

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