Refine your horsemanship, unleash your creativity and triumph.
Baroque Equestrian Games is the only organized artistic equestrian competition today. As the BEGI Test Patterns are ridden, competitors become educated in the correct application of Baroque Schooling principles created by the Masters of the 17th & 18th centuries, with the intention of developing the natural abilities of the horse to create Art in Motion. Our desire is to help each and every horse and rider find that incredible balance, lightness, harmony and mutual joy that is the highest expression of the relationship between man and horse.
"A horse is a thing of beauty... none will tire of looking at him as long as he displays himself in his splendor."
The Art of Horsemanship, 350 BC
The Phases of Training
There are four Sections of The Baroque Equestrian Games – one in hand, and three under saddle. Riders may enter one, two, three or all four Sections. Within each of the riding Sections there are four Phases of Training that reflect the progress of horse and rider. There are no restrictions on style of tack, and participants may use English, Western, Heritage, Traditional, etc. as they prefer. These are all non-timed events, and in every Section the emphasis is on grace, artistry, relaxation, and mutual enjoyment of horse and rider.
The Ground Work Section™
The Ground Work was an essential part of the education of the novice Horse in the great Baroque Schools. The figures in the test Patterns, including circles, transitions, and spirals, help prepare the young Horse before beginning work under saddle and continue to help all Horses by improving balance, increasing suppleness, and developing relaxation & responsiveness. Through the in-hand and lunging exercises, the Horse’s natural talent and expressiveness will be revealed. Scoring is based on the harmony between Horse and Handler, the degree to which the Horse embodies the qualities of lightness, relaxation, suppleness, self-carriage, balance, brilliance, and the degree to which the Handler exhibits gracefulness, subtlety, and effectiveness. Additional points are earned for conformation and abilities that are ideally suited to the higher collection of Classical Riding.
Classical Schooling Section™
The Patterns (tests) are ridden in a 20m x 40m arena, and are based upon the traditional schooling figures used in the great historic Classical Schools of Horsemanship. These movements formed the foundation of their systematic training – the education and physical strengthening of the horse, and instruction in the aids and development of feel in the rider. Rather than being just a series of lines and curves, the Patterns in-and-of-themselves are designed to advance the horse and rider through the Phases of Training. Within each Phase of Training there are three tests offered, each one building on progressive skill. Scoring is based on the harmony between horse and rider, and the degree to which they embody the qualities of lightness, relaxation, suppleness, self-carriage, balance and brilliance. (Participation in the Classical Schooling Section is a pre-requisite for entering either of the other two Sections.)
The Mounted Maneuvers Section™
Challenge your proficiency as a rider and test the responsiveness of your horse in these re-enactments from the Classical Schools. These maneuvers provide “real-life” testing of the principles learned in the Classical Schooling Section, focusing on the horse’s balance, relaxation and responsiveness. Each Phase incorporates the basic movements from Classical Schooling, and combines them with one or more of the various apparatuses and mounted tasks.
Included will be versions of sword-play (wooden swords in the early Phases of Training) such as “Pierce the Ring” (running the tip of the sword through the center of a small ring) and “Slash the Target” (knocking a target off a pedestal). This is a non-timed event, and speed may be penalized if it interferes with relaxation and elegance. Scoring is based on maintaining a graceful, balanced and effortless manner, as well as accuracy in performing the maneuvers.
The Musical Presentation Section™
This Section is reminiscent of the gala equestrian displays created for the Royal Courts of Europe during the Baroque era. Enjoy the freedom of creative expression in these musical freestyle performances, complete with costumed attire for horse and rider. Riders may choose any theme, any music, and any choreography, provided they incorporate the movements from the Classical Schooling Pattern in their corresponding Phase of Training. Scoring is based on the training of the horse, artistic riding, effortless execution of the movements, as well as the creativity of costume, tack, music selection and choreography.
"One of the chief rules should be the art of riding never takes a stance in apposition to nature, for one should rather seek to imitate nature and follow it, even to improve upon it wherever possible"
Phases of Training
The Initiate* Phase (meaning “commencement,” pronounced “ih-NISH-ee-uht")
This Phase represents the first level of training for horse and rider. Included in this Phase are exercises in walk, trot, and halt, with circles, loops, changes of direction, and square turns.
The Equilibre* Phase (meaning “balance,” pronounced “eh-kee-LEE-bruh”).
Building on the Initiate, this consists of walk, trot, and canter, and introduces the beginning lateral work of shoulder-in and turn around the forehand, as well as demi-volte at the walk, and the rein back.
The Rassembler* Phase (meaning “to gather,” pronounced “rah-som-BLEH).
Includes all the movements of Equilibre, but at a greater degree of collection. Adds change of lead through walk, the lateral movements of renvers, travers and half-pass, and half-pirouette at the canter.
Culminating in full collection, this Phase adds the movements of half-pass, zig-zag, flying change of lead, piaffer, passage, and full canter pirouette.