The definitive guide to dressage--the art, science, and secrets of graceful horsemanship for riders who want to exude natural elegance in the saddleDressage has been described as "a beautiful ballet on horseback." It embodies an innate grace, a seemingly effortless flow, and an easy harmony between horse and rider.Dressage elevates riding from a sport to an art form. One of the fastest growing equestrian sports in America, it appeals to competitive riders as well as those who simply want to improve their mounts and their skills. Because the principles of dressage encompass the art and science of horsemanship and every aspect of the horse-rider relationship, dressage training enhances other equestrian disciplines. The exercises and patterns help improve the horse's overall balance and athleticism and make the mount more responsive. Ideal for beginning enthusiasts or people who simply want to appreciate the elegance and finesse of classical riding, Deciphering Dressage unlocks the secrets of classical, precision riding. It covers:* Choosing and caring for a suitable dressage horse* Buying tack and riding apparel* Sitting the horse correctly and using aids or subtle signals to cue the horse* Preparing for competitions* Riding a dressage test* Competition and scoring* Recognized shows, schooling shows, ride-a-tests, and eventingComplete with over fifty photographs and drawings, as well as step-by-step explanations of exercises and maneuvers, this guide helps riders master the basics of this exceptionally demanding and rewarding discipline.