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Lunchtime treat slated for dressage

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
June 25, 2003
Equestrian dressage event commissioner Wanda McAlister is making lemonade out of lemons this weekend at the State Games of Mississippi.
The classic horse competition that starts at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Lauderdale County Agri-Center will have about 15 less participants than last year.
McAlister said the drop in registration, that was 35 last year and is around 20 this year as of Monday, is due to other rallies in which dressage competitors can earn points for competitive ratings.
The commissioner also said some of the horses that were in the show last year were unable to perform this year because of injuries.
Because of the drop in participation, the 2003 version of the dressage event at the State Games will have an added bonus for spectators of the show.
McAlister has invited some dressage quadrille teams to perform during the lunch break at the competition.
Quadrille is a team of four horses and riders performing various movements in unison.
in the public to come and see and find out a horse can do more than just run poles and barrels."
The performance by the quartet of horses at the lunch break will also help give insight into the individual competitions for medals at the event.
Quadrille will be just for show, but medals will be the goal for the 20 other riders and steeds at the Agri-Center.
Dressed in traditional English riding attire, that pays homage in dressage's roots to the competition that began during the height of English royalty and was used for military training, riders will go for gold, silver and bronze medals in various skill categories.
There is one adjustment to the rules of dressage at the State Games. Competitors will not have to wear jackets and ties because of the heat.
Riders will guide their steeds around the 20-by-60 meter arena to various symbols from the English king's court.
At each symbol, movement will be performed and points on a 10-point scale will be award for the rider's ability to guide their horse. Riders are allowed to only use their feet, legs and hands to guide the horse.
The main goal is to make the horse and rider to appear to be a single unit.
The event is expected to run until about 5 p.m.