Steffan Peters on Legolas
Dressage, Horseplay, Riding

Pop music hits dressage and the non-horse world freaks out

It happens every four years when the summer Olympics roll around. The non-horse people of the internet start an uproar over something called “horse dancing.”

Or, as us educated horse people people like to call it, dressage.

Four years ago, it hit screens on “The Colbert Report.” Host Stephen Colbert slayed Mitt and Ann Romney’s highbrow taste in sports, calling them out for owning a “dancing horse” named Rafalka.

It didn’t take long for Colbert to discover that dressage isn’t as ridiculous as the “horse dancing” moniker implies. There’s more than money and fancy clothes that go into the sport.

Even though dressage had its day in the media spotlight five years ago, it resurfaced again at the Rio Olympics. Viewers are hooked to freestyle routines that feature clips of popular songs. A horse moving to the beat of “Ice Ice Baby?” It’s mind blowing.

But that’s just what happened when Steffen Peters and Legolas performed a passage to the iconic Vanilla Ice beat.

It’s a clip that Peters and Legolas have incorporated into freestyles before, like at the Pan-American games last year. Besides being a crowd favorite and a timeless jam, it’s obviously the perfect piaffe rhythm.

Spain’s Severo Jesus Jerudo Lopez took pop dressage to a new level when his mount Lorenzo trotted into the ring to Santana’s “Smooth.” The internet promptly exploded.

Lopez’s routine also threw in clips from Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life,” while other riders ditched traditional classical songs and picked Beach Boys medleys.

The trend continued this weekend at the North American Junior & Young Rider Championship.

Songs from Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, and Bruno Mars blasted throughout the show grounds. There were multiple Coldplay medleys. One rider even trotted in the ring to music from the Harry Potter score (which is basically pop music at this point).

Young riders have been always been on top of the trend game.

Now, it finally seems like professional dressage is getting hip — if a hip-hop song from 1991 can be considered trendy. And non-horse people are starting to gain interest.

Sure, it can be fun to laugh a bit at everyone who’s so amused by dressage. But all publicity is good publicity, right?

OK, maybe not.

Kathryn Krawczyk

Kathryn is the founder and Editor in Chief of Horsey.

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