Training Routines for Dressage Horses

The typical strategies for training dressage horses in the United Kingdom were revealed from a survey of over 2500 riders. The horses involved were mostly warmbloods, standing 16 to 17 hands, that competed twice a month in novice or medium level dressage tests.

The horses usually trained at a level above the one they competed in. Typically, the horses had an hour of dressage training, three or four times a week.

Trotting usually makes up a large portion of dressage training.

An average session began with 15 minutes of warm-up, followed by 35 minutes of training and 10 minutes of cool-down. Nearly half of the training time was spent trotting, and a third cantering. Working paces, transitions and specific movements took up most of a session.

Besides dressage, the majority of horses, except elite competitors, also spent time hacking, lunging or jumping. Most horses also received 15 to 30 hours of turnout per week.


J.M. Walters, T. Parkin, H.A. Snart and R.C. Murray. 2008. Current management and training practices for UK dressage horses. Comparative Exercise Physiology. 5: 73-83.

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