Is it “Real” Dressage?
The Fédération Equestre Internationale is not the final word on what dressage is, but I love this definition of the object of dressage according to Article 401 of the F.E.I. rule book:
The object of dressage is the development of the horse into a happy athlete through harmonious education resulting in a horse that is calm, loose, supple, and flexible, and also confident, attentive and keen thus achieving perfect understanding with his rider.
The Dressage Naturally system seeks to achieve this Object at the beginning of training and strives to maintain it as we progress up the levels. DN focuses on exercises specifically created to achieve the Physical qualities of Looseness, Suppleness, and Flexibility, as well as the Mental/Emotional qualities of Happiness, Calmness, Confidence, Attentiveness, Keenness, and Understanding. The terms Athlete & Harmonious Education imply that the horse’s willing participation in the process is valued (rather than being treated like a slave).