This is dressage?

I am quite ignorant of the equestrian events that take place at the Olympics. The only ones I’ve seen involved horses going round a circuit and jumping over various fences with the scoring depending on how cleanly the horses did the jumps and the time taken.

I also knew that there was an event called ‘dressage’ but had no idea what it was. It turns out that the Romneys are sponsors of a horse that is likely to quality for the London Olympics and Stephen Colbert took the occasion to describe what this event is like. The alternative title of ‘horse ballet’ pretty much describes it.

(This clip appeared on June 12, 2012. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)


  1. says

    Yep, that’s dressage. It’s actually an exceptionally difficult sport for both horse and rider. I competed for about three years in my teens.

    Another short example (language warning):

    Any potential riders out there who are now keen to embrace America’s new favourite sport, I assure you that perfectly competent dressage horses go for as low as the bargain-basement rate of $50 000.


    P.S. Just pointless FYI, the sport with the jumping circuit is called show jumping. Unless you were being sarcastic not knowing what it was called, in which case, just ignore this post script.

  2. Mano Singham says

    I was not being sarcastic. I actually knew it at one time but had forgotten and when writing the post was too lazy to look up the name.

  3. left0ver1under says

    In most olympic “sports”, drug tests mean steroids and other performance enhancers. In equestian riding, the drug often found during testing is cocaine (see: Eric Lamaze, Mark Todd).

    That should tell you the sort of snobs involved in the “sport”. They don’t just have silver spoons in their mouths, they have one on a chain around their necks.

  4. says

    I have always wondered if it’s animal abuse to train an animal to do something stupid that it would never normally do, and reward it until it sees that activity as a “good idea”…

    My horses, P-nut and Otto, are currently engaged in a multi-year long event known as “hanging out in the pasture, being horses” and they are not asked to do anything that they wouldn’t normally think to do. Mostly it involves caging treats from humans, asking to have their noses rubbed, and running around farting and bucking. It’s a pretty cool event and most horses are really good at it.

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