Bruce and Linda Hamilton have been taking the mystery out of dressage tests since 1990. From the headquarters of Dressage Illustrated, atop their home stable in San Diego County's Elfin Forest, the couple produces test-specific books with graphic illustrations that are a tremendous aid in visualizing the test and riding it correctly. Dressage Illustrated's "directives" help the rider understand how each movement is judged. Coefficient (double-points) movements are shaded for easy identification.
The required gaits and movements are explained in each book.
Dressage Illustrated currently has an impressive total of 28 books, covering levels from United States Dressage Federation's Introductory level to the internationally-sanctioned FEI Grand Prix. They even have tests in judge's versions, with the diagrams of the dressage court oriented to the judge's position at C rather than the rider's entry at A.
Dressage Illustrated has made a priority of keeping pace with test changes that occur periodically or unexpectedly and staying abreast of the industry's latest needs. Western Dressage tests are Dressage Illustrated's latest edition, in a discipline-specific portfolio that includes 16 tests: four each in the Introductory, Basic, Level 1 and Level 2 categories.
Current inventory is as follows: WDAA Western Dressage, USDF Introductory Level, USEF Training Level through Fourth Level, USEA Eventing, FEI, FEI Eventing, FEI Juniors & Young Riders, FEI Young Horse and Judges Editions
Published as 8.5" by 11" booklets, Dressage Illustrated's tests are used by competitive and recreational dressage riders. They are a terrific tool for memorizing the test patterns and understanding what is expected of each movement. "They amplify and clarify what they are supposed to do," explains Linda, a longtime dressage trainer, instructor and competitor. Dressage tests, of course, are meant
to demonstrate horse and rider's mastery of
the discipline's principles. Exactly what that
means in each movement, however, is not always well understood.
"All tests provide the 'directives' of the test, which are the judge's criteria," Linda explains. "So if you want to know, for example, why you got a 50%, instead of the qualifying score you were seeking, the books enable you to have a better understanding. Maybe your horse was 'cha-cha-ing' down center line, when the test required traveling in a straight line to X."
Dressage Illustrated has customers around the world. The U.S. and Canada are the biggest territories, but dressage enthusiasts throughout Europe, Japan, Mexico and beyond are among the company's loyal clientele. Things can get a little crazy during the production cycle for new tests, Bruce notes. But after nearly 25 years in the business, he and Linda have the process well in hand and stand ready to serve the sport's needs for many years to come.
To purchase Dressage Illustrated tests
and/or get more information, visit
www.dressageillustrated.com or call