The classical taming is one of the Olympic disciplines of equitation. It is one of the most challenging, but it becomes a wonderful show based on the strength, beauty and dexterity of the horse.
In dressage, as is known in classical taming, the knight is able to highlight the majesty of the animal and develop a game of identification with the horse, the result of hard training that translates into one of the most harmonious disciplines ever, which suits both the horse and the sport.
What is attempted to present through the taming is the complete harmony between the horse and the rider, in which it is possible to glimpse not only the strength of the horse, but also its sensitivity, its finesse and a deep partnership with its trainer. The goal is that the horse appears serene as it moves slightly during the show, letting itself be guided by its jockey, to whom he relies, performing bows, walking in a straight line, in a curve or at a trot.
One of the main features of this sport is the position of the horse’s head, which must remain raised, with the neck slightly arched. The horse will have to pay attention to the indications provided by his jockey: this result will be achieved only with a methodical training, which aims to convey feelings of trust and harmony to the horse.
Most used breeds
To practice this sport all the races are appropriate, in equal measure, and will also benefit from the training, especially as regards the strengthening of the bond between the animal and the jockey and the improvement of the animal’s self-esteem. However, the most commonly used breeds for presentations and shows are those called “warm blooded”: warm-blooded Dutch horses are particularly suitable, as they have a more athletic build and are able to adapt better to a rigid training.
Strangely, this discipline originates in the military world. In ancient Greece the soldiers depended largely on the speed and agility of the horses, and it was equally important that they show nerves of steel when confronting rival armies on the battlefield. As a result, they were subjected to rigorous training, trying to perfect each of the animal’s abilities that would benefit them in battle.
In fact, some of the movements that were used for military training of horses are still used today, although at a competitive level.
Since 1912 the classical doma has been included among the Olympic disciplines. However, this could only be practiced by cavalry officers. It was not until 1952 that even civilians had the opportunity to participate, including women.
As mentioned above, perfecting this discipline takes a long time, in addition to a continuous strengthening and a strict dedication to the animal.
The first phase consists of introducing the horse into the basic riding parameters. Once the basics have been learned, the teaching phase of the various steps begins, such as the “piaffer” trot, during which the horse must trot on the spot by bringing the strides to the maximum.
He is also taught to turn on himself (pirouette) and to take a slow walk diagonally, which requires the detection of two legs (passage). Later, more complex jumps will be performed, such as those in which the animal has to lift all four legs from the ground, and bring them up to the height of the belly, or jump with the front legs, while the rear ones remain slightly elongated to the ‘back (capriole).
The rider, for his part, must keep himself in perfect balance and, at the same time, transmit to the horse a feeling of tranquility that allows him to remain calm, without getting confused or refusing to follow the indications.
This sport is very demanding, some rules to follow are:
- Horses over six years old.
- The track must be soft (to preserve the animal’s hooves and feet), 60 meters long and 20 meters wide.
- The jury is composed of three experts, who have the task of judging taking into account errors in the execution of the movements or excessive time.
- It is forbidden to use whips or bandages on animals.
- It is possible to braid or collect the mane and the horse’s tail.
- The jockeys must perform different exercises, on progressive difficulty, presented in advance to the judges.