Personally, I rarely enjoy watching dressage freestyles because I find the music so painfully unrelated to the horse’s strides that I have to either mute the sound or move on to something else. But Steffan Peters’ 2021 Olympic freestyle dressage ride went viral not just because the music is upbeat techno dance music. The freestyle is fun to watch because …
…rhythm is the foundation of the USDF and the FEI training pyramid and this horse is actually moving to the beat. Every rider competing in dressage should be aware of the rhythm of their horse’s gaits. But when Steffan Peters asked DJ Taylor Kade made sure this techno beat soundtrack was synchronized with his horse’s gaits, it appears he was charting new ground.
Taylor Kade used his high tech equipment and videos of the horse performing the movements to make sure that the soundtrack and the movements were actually related to one another. Taylor posted a brief video saying he is thrilled that the two horses he has put soundtracks together for are both competing successfully at the international level.
Now it turns out that one of those horses has become a viral internet star. Dressage enthusiasts tend to take pride in their performances being inaccessible to and unappreciated by outsiders. But at last count, there were nearly 3 million views of the Rave Horse on Twitter alone.
Here is hoping that more free style dressage judges as well as riders will make sure that their soundtrack is synched to their horse’s movements. Demonstrating their awareness of their horse’s rhythmic gait by investing in music that synchronizes with their horse’s strides should become the rule, not the exception in freestyle competition.
Even if that means dressage becomes popular with the uninitiated.