Wednesday, September 2, 2009

One more dressage thing

This is probably what most people picture when they think of dressage fencing. It's a short, white fence with letter markers around the outside perimeter.
On close inspection, however, you might notice a little burst of color that's not related to the floral arrangements.
There it is again--what's up with that little red line?
Here's the deal. The red line (I think it's usually made out of tape) is placed on the fence directly in front of the letter markers. It helps the judge or judges determine whether or not the horse performs the prescribed movement precisely at the marker.A few more pictures showing the red lines on the fencing. This is an Intermediare horse in Estes Park...
and this is a Connemara showing training level at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker. You will find dressage fences marked with red lines at all levels, up to and including the Olympics. If you refer back to this post ( there's one clearly visible in the second picture of Graf George competing in Atlanta.
So how important is this? Probably not very. Certainly I've been to shows where the arenas weren't marked. It's more a matter of convention than any kind of hard and fast rule. Still, it's one of those easy to add details that true performance junkies love. I have a red line on one section of my model dressage fencing, and I bet that after reading this some of you will too!


  1. I bet you it was for the people putting up the arena - they could set it up without measuring it off or something...

    And FYI - I have NEVER ridden in a dressage arena with this kind of fencing. We did the chain link kind and triangle letters at Oregon State and all the shows I went to in the Pacific NW.

    Of course, at OSU, we had markers on the walls of the arena to use for measurements

  2. Nah, it's there for the judge's benefit. Trish is the one who pointed it out to me, and if you look back at pictures from both Beijing and Atlanta (didn't bother to double check Athens--sorry!) you can clearly see the red lines on the fences. Here's one quick example from 2008:
    Some shows don't do it, but I do think it's a neat thing to include!

  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE all of this dressage info!