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Ever since Danish Warmbloods were accepted into international competition, they have swept up the awards, whether it's on a local level or the highest level one can compete - the Olympics. This shouldn't come as a surprise as Danish Warmbloods were, from the very beginning, carefully selected through an intense testing and breeding program, to only select the very best horses in conformation of the ideal standard and which excel in riding and jumping. The three competitions in which Danish Warmbloods are excelling - not to mention beginning to dominate - are the disciplines of dressage, show jumping and eventing.
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Dressage, which comes from the French word for training, dates back centuries. It was originally used as a way of training horses for the parade grounds or for war. Modern dressage dates back to the beginning of the 20th century, at which time it developed into a competitive sport and is practiced around the world, from amateur all the way up to Olympic levels. The objective of dressage is for the horse to go through a series of different gaits or, at higher levels of competitions, vertical jumps, all of which should seem to be effortless on the part of the horse. These competitions are performed in front of a panel of expert judges.
Show jumping is perhaps what many people think of when they think of horse competitions. Much like dressage, modern show jumping dates from the beginning of the 20th century, but today's competition is a far cry from the event of a hundred years ago. Today, show jumping consists of negotiating a series of obstacles in a ring or arena. The horse is judged on strength and accuracy, as both refusing to jump an obstacle and disturbing the obstacle are considered faults.
Eventing is typically a three day event that comprises of dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. Cross-country takes place on an outdoor course with obstacles that aim to represent those kinds of obstacles a horse and rider would encounter in the countryside, such as ponds, fences, or ditches. Each horse races against the clock with the goal of reaching the finish line in a predetermined amount of time, or the optimal time. Scores of the three events are then combined to determine an overall winner.
Even though Danish Warmbloods have only been participating in international competitions over a relatively short amount of time, they have received a surprising number of awards and recognition over the years. Notable Danish Warmbloods include Lando, a stallion that won the silver medal in show jumping at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, and Marzog, a stallion that was awarded the title of "The Best Dressage Horse of the Century" in 1999, decided upon by an international jury. It should be noted that Marzog worked in partnership with his excellent rider, Mrs. Anne Grethe Tornblad, and together they dominated the international dressage field in the mid-1980's. It also should be noted that the Danish Warmblood is growing in popularity all over the world. As recently as the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, as many as nine countries included Danish Warmbloods in their equestrian teams.
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