Dressage is the systematic development of horse and rider, resulting in a balanced, harmonious team. In its most basic stages dressage helps the horse and rider communicate with each other and develop balance, strength, flexibility and accuracy. For this reason, riders with different backgrounds and competitive goals - jumping, eventing and barrel racing - often use dressage as a way of creating a pleasant, athletic mount and improving the horse's performance.
At its highest levels, dressage improves the horse's ability to use his body, producing a horse that is light and balanced and seems to float effortlessly through the arena. The communication between horse and rider becomes so subtle that the horse seems to be performing on its own without any input from the rider.
Hunters is where the horse and rider jump a course and the judging is based on accuracy, grace, and elegance.
Jumpers is where the horse and rider memorize a course of about 10 jumps and remember a jump off of about 6 jumprs. They are given a reasonable time limit to complete the course without any faults(knocking rails, refusing jumps, falling off, time penalties). If the horse and rider make it through the round without any faults then they jump the jump off.
The horse and rider that jump the jump off the fastest with the least amount of faults win.
TRAILS & OTHER
Trail riding is an excellent way for riders and horses to bond and work on communication aids in a new environment.
Trail riding is an opportunity to strengthen the bond with your horse by overcoming new obstacles together and encountering situations not found in an arena setting.However, riders must always be prepared to confront the unexpected when out on the trail.
Before hitting the trail, you and your horse should have mastered basic skills in an arena, such as stopping and turning, as well as having control at all gaits.
Make sure the distance and duration of the trail ride is within your horse’s current fitness level.