What is dressage? Olympics rules and scoring explained - and Team GB medal hopefuls at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

In dressage, horse and rider perform movements in a rectangular arena and are awarded marks for their efforts by a judge or panel of judges

Dressage is a much-loved event watched by many at the Olympics, with a host of Team GB equestrian stars hoping to win big at this year’s summer Games.

But how does dressage scoring work?

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The word 'dressage' comes from the French term 'dresseur', which means 'training' (Photo: Shutterstock)

What is dressage?

The word 'dressage' comes from the French term 'dresseur', which means 'training'.

According to British Dressage, dressage “is all about learning to work with your horse and help him achieve greater suppleness, flexibility and obedience; enhance his natural movements and ability and improve his athleticism.”

Dressage was originally developed by the cavalry in the 17th century before later developing into a sporting spectacle.

As a sport, dressage involves putting training into practice in front of judges in order to show how the horse's development is progressing.

How does Dressage scoring work?

In dressage, horse and rider perform movements in a rectangular arena and are awarded marks for their efforts by a judge or panel of judges.

Dressage involves horse riders competing in a ring marked with letters of the alphabet, where they have to perform a series of movements in a particular order from one letter to another.

The panel of judges sit ringside and use a scoring system of 1-10, with 10 representing a perfect score.

A scribe will then write down the scores to allow the judges not to be distracted, with the final score awarded given as a percentage.

According to HowToDressage.com, the current scale of marking is:

- 0 = not performed

- 1 = very bad

- 2 = bad

- 3 = fairly bad

- 4 = insufficient

- 5 = sufficient

- 6 = satisfactory

- 7 = fairly good

- 8 = good

- 9 = very good

- 10 = excellent

Those competing in dressage are marked on a number of criteria, with their tests graded by difficulty, as well as being judged on factors such as their relationship with, and control of, the horse.

Points are also awarded based on the horse’s suppleness, rhythm, and energy, as well as the balance of the rider, the precision of movements, and the smoothness of transitions.

Alongside this, halts must be clean and if the horse disobeys at any point, penalties will be applied.

Who is performing in dressage at Tokyo 2020?

Among those performing in dressage at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is Charlotte Dujardin.

The equestrian star won gold at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

At the Tokyo 2020 Games she recently scored 80.963 per cent, which secured her a place in the individual dressage final event with her horse, Pumpkin.

Dujardin will perform in the dressage team final alongside Carl Hester and Lottie Fry on Tuesday (27 July), before performing in the individual dressage event on Wednesday (28 July).