Dressage sports dating
By 1733, when François Robichon de la Guérinière, the equerry to Louis XIV of France, wrote a seminal guide to horsemanship, the piaffe had already become a thing of mere ornament.
The correctly piaffing horse, de la Guérinière wrote, “stands in awe of the rider’s hand and legs.”Charlotte Dujardin, a thirty-one-year-old British rider who is the European, World, and Olympic dressage champion, rode her first piaffe in the summer of 1999.
There are fewer than a hundred Grand Prix horses in Britain, and a good one costs several hundred thousand dollars.
At the age of two, Dujardin would scramble onto their backs and gee them round the stables, clicking and hollering.
When Dujardin got on Truday, and followed Thomas’s instructions—shortening Truday’s strides, shifting its weight to the hindquarters—the horse began to jig. But Dujardin looked down and caught the expression on the trainer’s face.
“The weak in the wallet can often not afford competing at international level.”The Dujardins knew all this.
“It has always been a pompous sport, a money sport,” Ian Dujardin told me. “How was I going to fulfill what I thought she needed to do?The freestyle made its Olympic début in Atlanta, in 1996, and since then has helped nudge the sport toward the same emotional, aesthetic realm as figure skating: no one knows what the hell is going on, but at least it looks nice.