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Quadrille is most simply defined as team riding. The most famous, readily identifiable quadrilles are those of the Spanish Riding School, the Cadre Noir and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Although quadrille has been performed as an equestrian pageant since the Baroque period, it has become a competitive sport in this country only recently. Competitive teams of four riders perform both compulsory and musical freestyle routines. It is an activity suitable to persons of all ages, including youth groups such as 4-H and Pony Club.
Quadrille offers equestrian education in riding, training, and rider/horse communication in a group atmosphere of teamwork and camaraderie. It's a great way to get green riders and horses used to competing without a lot of pressure and its fun!
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There are no qualifying requirements for quadrille, and team members do not need to be USDF members or pay non-member fees to enter a quadrille class at a recognized show. Teams of four (4) are used in competition, while teams of 6, 8, 12 or more can be used in exhibition rides.
Although matched horses look best, the ability to work and perform together is paramount. Differences in shapes and colors tend to disappear with uniform turnout and crisp performances.
Quadrille teams are crowd pleasers-whether in traditional dress or costume. Teams have performed at state and county fairs, benefits, horse shows and racetracks.
In a quadrille competition the main criteria is the team's performance as a cohesive group. Compulsory routines test the team's ability to perform required movements according to acceptable standards. In the exciting Freestyle, the routines are more complex, creating a "kaleidoscope effect" as horses interweave choreography and music in original patterns.
In each performance, judges look for the teams to keep even spacing (from rider to rider), move and turn in synchrony and maintain alignment throughout the ride. In the freestyle competition, the team's artistic skill is showcased in the interpretation of the music and the creativity of their choreography.
If you have questions please email Quadrille@usdf.org