Cesar Parra Teaches The Art of the Warm-Up for a Dressage Test at Equine Affair

Father Larry David McCormick for DressageDaily

“It’s foreplay,” Cesar described the warm up routine a critical part of the Dressage test in competition rarely written about. Without foreplay what comes next just won’t be nearly so good as we hope it will be. As we want it to be.”

Okay, “R” rated (PG-13?) references left to the side for the moment, Parra is perfectly on target. How many times have we heard one of our barn buddies return from a show and say, “He was so good in the warm-up!” What is the first thing that pops into your head? “So what went wrong in your test?” As if there were some disjunctive between the schooling ring and the competition. Nobody in his or her right mind spends hard earned cash to buy equestrian publications that focus upon the schooling. We want to see our heroes and heroines wreathed in glory, bedecked with blue rosettes, clothed in competition coolers.

Here comes that pesky “but,” again. But, if the four-hoofed half of the team has not lengthened his (or her…Katie Riley rode a simply lovely mare who will put many boy horses to shame as she moves up through the ranks!) neck and demonstrated this at the walk, you may ask this horse for collection until the cows come home and all you will receive for your begging is a half-hearted collected trot.

Which brings to mind a second earthy phrase of the good Doctor Parra's which I cannot resist repeating: “Why do we take a shower if we are, then, going to sweat?” The loosening of the jaw, the lengthening of the neck, all the preliminary steps taken while horse and rider are out of the judges’ and the audience’s sight, the “foreplay” of the warm-up greatly enhance the possibility that both judge and audience will be treated to an orgasmic display from the entrance straight through until the halt at X.

I wish you could have been there, folks, to see how Katie and Ellie and Helen demonstrated – and how Doctor Parra cajoled and chortled and commented upon – the essential steps that build toward a superior dressage test. It left this old codger breathless. And that was just the foreplay!

Related Links
Equine Affaire
HorsesDaily Who's Who - Cesar Parra
HorsesDaily Who's Who - Father Larry David McCormack




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