Dressage refers to the art of riding and training horses, derived from the French word ‘dresser’ meaning ‘to train’. Fine Contact defines a subtle connection between horse and human. In ridden work, it also describes the soft, stable, equal and elastic contact that the horse takes with the hand of the rider, taking into account that the horse may be ridden with or without a bit. Such a contact allows the horse to work with a natural length of neck and the nose in front of the vertical. With horses in their early training, re-schooling or rehabilitation, this means that the posture is forward down and out, then as the horse gains balance and strength he very gradually learns to carry more weight on his hind legs by rounding and lifting his back and withers, so even in the more advanced dressage competitions, as the horse shows greater collection, the neck is still long and the nose in front of the vertical.
Concordia Dressage competitions were first piloted in 2016 and have been updated to incorporate the Fine Contact concept introduced by veterinarian and trainer Dr Karin Leibbrandt. The tests are designed to encourage training that gives the horse both core strength and confidence in the rider. Concordia and our Associate Organisations are taking these new competitions to a worldwide audience.