Throwback Thursday: Dressage at the 1936 Olympics

Throwback Thursday: Dressage at the 1936 Olympics

Somewhere in the depths of the internet, I found an absolute gem: the IOC’s official report on the 1936 Berlin Olympics. If you have some spare time, I definitely recommend reading it. It’s full of informative commentary, interesting statistics, and lovely pictures.

It also includes copies of both the regular dressage and eventing dressage tests from the competition. I’ve transcribed the eventing test for your entertainment.

Movement
I Enter at the gallop.
Halt. Immobility of horse. Salute.
II Move on at the free walk, track to the right, extended walk.
Change hands.
Free walk, half volt (5 metres diameter), returning to track at E (track to the right).
Turn to the right, at G volt to the right (5 metres diameter) move on to M (track to the right).
Half volt reversed (5 metres diameter), returning to track at F (track to the left).
Volt (5 metres diameter on completing the volt turn to the left unto middle-line, here turn to the right.
III At ordinary trot (posting) at C track to the left.
Change hands at the utmost extended trot (posting) continue unto M.
Collect trot (sitting or posting).
Change hands at the utmost extended trot (posting) continue unto H.
Collect trot (sitting or posting).
IV Serpentine, keeping on each side 2 metres from the wall.
The rider crosses the middle-line 7 times, not including the beginning and the ending of the movement.
At C track to the right.
V Change hands.
Halt, back 6 paces, move on at collected trot towards K.
Half volt reversed (5 metres diameter), returning to track at B (track to the right).
Volt (5 metres diameter).
On completing the volt at E, collected gallop to right.
Volt (5 metres diameter), on completeing the volt at B collected trot.
Collected gallop to right.
VI Extended gallop.
Collected gallop.
Zig-zag without changes of leg within 2 metres on each side of middle-line. The rider executes 4 loops, ending the movement at the short track.
Track to the left, passing the corner without change of leg.
Ordinary trot (posting).
Volt (5 metres diameter).
On completing the volt at E collected gallop to left.
Zig-zag without changes of leg within 2 metres on each side of middle-line. The rider executes 4 loops, ending the movement at the short track.
Track to the right, passing the corner without change of leg.
Collected trot.
Turn to the right.
VII Collect gallop to left.
Track to the left.
Extended gallop.
Collected gallop.
Turn to the left.
VIII Halt. Immobility of horse for about 8 seconds. Resume gradually at ordinary gallop to right.
Track to the right.
Turn on middle-line.
Halt. Immobility of horse for about 8 seconds. Resume gradually at ordinary gallop to left.
Track to the left.
IX Change hands.
Halt. Back 6 paces. Resume gradually at ordinary gallop to right, move on towards K.
Turn on middle-line.
Halt. Back 6 paces. Resume gradually at ordinary gallop to left.
Track to the left.
X Turn on middle line. Some 10 metres beyond D execute a volt to left then a volt to right (8 metres diameter), the point of junction on middle-line; change of leg with one or two intervening paces trotting; at the end of the movement proceed on middle-line towards C.
XI Extended walk.
Halt. Immobility of horse. Salute.
Leave the arena at the extended walk.
XII Correctness of position, seat, management of the horse.

Helpful diagrams follow the test:

1936dressage

It’s fascinating to see what’s changed in dressage over time: collective remarks have evolved to include scores for the horse’s paces, impulsion, and submission; the word “canter” has apparently been invented; snaffle bridles are now permitted at the Olympic level (the ’36 Olympics, at least, required a double bridle in dressage);¬†sitting trot is a requirement, not an option. Shoulder-in is now included, while backing is not.

It’s also interesting to note what hasn’t changed. While some of the terminology is different,¬†many of the movements are still requirement in today’s Olympic eventing dressage test. Collected and extended trot and canter, serpentines, counter canter, and half-pass (can we go back to calling it the zig-zag?) are still part of the test. Even the rider’s collective remarks are basically the same today as they were in 1936.

What do you think? Who’s with me on going back to “zig-zag”??



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