During the 2016 Olympics, after watching a rousing game of handball or table tennis, you and your family found yourself watching horse dressage.

At Ellis Park Racing, we find there are two kinds of people in the world. Those who call horse dressage a bunch of horses dancing and those who would slap your grandmother for daring to call horse dressage a bunch of horses dancing.

As an equestrian sports purveyor, we want to save the grandmas everywhere and give the facts on this non-racehorse sport.

What Is Horse Dressage?

We feel the reason people have such polarized views on horse dressage is that exposure of the sport is limited. We believe this is the same for more equestrian sports. For example, how some people know about flat horse racing, but don’t know the work and effort put into creating a champion.

Dressage is similar to flat horse racing in this respect. Everything else, however, is different.

Dressage is a form of riding where both the master and horse perform a series of movements from memory.

Think about that for a second. Where most people are terrified of getting on a horse, there are those who can train a horse to perfection learning one step in time to music. For this reason, the International Equestrian Federation, the international governing body of equestrian sports, calls it the highest expression of horse training.

Dressage has an ancient history set in classical Greece, developed during the Renaissance and formulated the official step in the 17th to 19th century. Most of modern day dressage comes from classical dressage, which was used to train cavalry horses.

People call it horse dancing as dressage is an art, set to the beat of music and mimics human dance choreography. The reason why we think people get offended when people call it horse dancing is because it’s deeply set in tradition and high-brow culture. So it’s up to you to call it horse dancing or horse dressage. However, it is a sport and an art deserving of its Olympic standing.

Raise The Stakes at Ellis Park Racing

While we won’t show any horse dressage exhibitions anytime soon, you can still enjoy historical horse racing machines and the delicious food at Ellis Park Racing. And if you can hold out for a little while, live horse racing will be back in 2017.

Come down to our racetrack in Henderson, Kentucky, and raise the stakes.