First steps

If you’ve been inspired by the success of Charlotte Dujardin, or you have a family member who’d like to get started on their dressage journey, take a look at a few FAQs for riders taking their first steps in the saddle.

Where do I get started?
Find a local approved riding school or equestrian centre and book a session! These establishments can offer first-class support to riders of all ages and will provide you with the perfect platform to notch up hours in the saddle under the tuition of qualified coaches.

Does it have to be expensive?
Lessons and coaching in any sport can be costly, but the skills you’ll develop whilst having fun will be worth the investment. Equipment varies in cost but doesn’t have to break the bank.

To get started all you’ll need is a riding helmet up to current approved safety standards, strong footwear that covers the ankle, like jodpur boots, and sensible clothing including gloves. Many riding centres will be able to provide boots and helmets as part of your lessons. If you’re in any doubt, why not have a chat with your coach or riding centre owner for advice.

Do I have to own my own horse?
You don’t have to own your own horse to enjoy all that BD has to offer. Loan agreements or horse sharing are both suitable options that are offered by private owners and riding centres alike.

How do I make the step towards dressage?
Suggest to your coach that you’re interested in having a go at dressage! Once you’re up and running, you could have a go at a BD Intro test, the perfect introduction to test riding inside the white boards with movements ridden in walk and trot only.

Many riding centres will hold competition days where you can try dressage in a low-pressure environment. Got the bug? Carry on with Intro and Prelim competitions with BD Quest or have a go at Regional Training where you can nurture your skills with a dressage specific qualified coach.

Can I enjoy the sport as a non-rider?
With a range of spectator events throughout the year for competition and training, there’s plenty to get involved in away from the saddle. For spectators, attend the NAF Five Star Winter Championships or LeMieux National Championships to witness the very best of British go head to head on home turf. Or visit the National Convention to brush up on your skills and knowledge, with sessions presented by leading industry professionals. If you’re interested in becoming an owner, you can enjoy the atmosphere, progression and elation of supporting talented combinations on their way to success.

Become a member

Sign up to a British Dressage membership for exclusive benefits!