Airs Above the Ground
High School Movements
Not included or
Allowed through Grand Prix
Pesade performed during an open air performance of the South African Lipizzaners from Johannesburg
LevadeThe levade is like the pesade only it is more difficult due to the angle the must must achieve. The horse rises on his haunches from a standstill position and tucks his fore legs under him. The horse coils his loins and seeks closer to the ground and holds the position at 30-35 degrees which requires much more effort from the horse. While to some it may seem the horse is rearing but it is not. The move requires control, balance training with no resisant and strength from the horse. The Levade is often the pose of classical equestrian sculpture and art.
Another photo of the Levade
From the pesade and levade, the other airs evolve.Courbette
The horse raises his forehand off the ground, tucks up his forelegs evenly, and then jumps forward on his hindlegs, usually three or four leaps, before allowing the forelegs to touch down,. The record number of leaps is 10.
Friesian performing the Courbette
CaprioleThe capriole is one of the most difficult jumps. The horse jumps from a raised position of the forehand, leaps from all four feet straight up into the air, at the peak of elevation the horse kicks out violently with the hindlegs and lands on all four legs.
BallotadeThe Ballotade also looks similiar to the capriole and again the horse rises into the air like the capriole, but does not kick out and you can see its shoes if watching from behind, but the horse is not asked to kick out.
CroupadeThe croupade looks similiar to the capriole but is distinct in that in the horse, while remaining parallel to the ground, does not kick out at the height of elevation, but keeps his hind legs tucked tightly under.
Mezair or CourbetteThe mezair was originally called the courbette by the old dressage masters, and it is no longer practiced at the Spanish Riding School. In the mezair, the horse rears up from the pesade or levade, and strikes out with its forelegs. Unlike the pesade and levade, the horse moves forward with each successive movement and touches the ground with is front legs before pushing up again.
If the horse is being shown with a standing handler, then a halter with lead or Snaffle bridle and Long Reins (longe lines to each bit) may be used.
Breastplate and/or crupper
Leg wraps or bandages
The Upper Level Dressage attire is Shadbelly, tail coat of black or dark blue color, with tie, choker or stock tie white, off-white, or same color as coat, white or light-colored breeches or jodhpurs, black boots or jodhpur boots, and a Top Hat that is black or the same color as the coat. Men may also wear a short coat with a bowler hat. Gloves of white, off-white or same color as the coat are required. Spurs without rowels are compulsory.
Spanish Riding School uniform consists of: the traditional brown uniform tailcoat, a bicorne style hat, white buckskin breeches, white suede gloves and black top boots. Swan neck spurs are also part of the uniform.
For additional instruction on competing in this class please read Beverly Lynch's article: Dressage - Airs Above the Ground
A description of the movement being performed.