The Discipline of Dressage To Music

A lot of riders are unaware that they lose rhythm through transitions, so riding to music is a great way to maintain your rhythm.

Choosing the right music is a lot more important than you may think. Suitable music should be the correct tempo for the horse/pony, the rider should not try and ride to music which is too fast or too slow, as all this will achieve is lack of impulsion, or the horse/pony will be too fast, ie, running and on the forehand.

Every horse/pony will have it's own tempo, with walk, trot and canter all being very different. As an example, someone choosing trot music might feel that any of Lady Gaga's songs would be great to ride to.

The music has loads of energy, s good strong beat, current, however, the standard speed for a dance track is 127 beats per minute.


This is too slow for trot, which can vary dependant on the horse/pony, the size, elevation and experience, and will be between 140 and 160 beats per minute. Canter on the other hand, varies between 101 to 116 beats per minute, walk being similar. Advanced horses drop as low as 96 beats per minute.


Canter is a 3 beat pace with a beat of suspension making it 4 time, thus musically, this becomes within 6/8, dum de dum de dum, or a straight 4 beats. Many people attempt to ride to a waltz, which is 3/4, it can work if the tempo is correct, but very rarely do you find a waltz as slow as even 110 beats per minute.

So, much attention is needed to find the correct temp and rhythm for you to ride to.