A Prix Caprilli is a dressage test with jumps in it! And I wish that more shows offered it. I realized that many show managers do not know what it is so they can not add it to a class list. And while I have never done a prix caprilli myself, they look like a blast so I am trying to get the word out about them!
A Prix Caprilli is a dressage test with jumps in it. The number of jumps and their heights vary with level. Just like normal dressage tests the lower the level the less you are asked to do. I even saw some that were walk/trot only with 2 little cross-rails set on the diagonals. I also watched videos of some with 6 jumps at varying locations in the ring that included counter-canter.
So what is the difference between a prix caprilli and a jumping course? The horses way of going. In jumpers there is no empahsis on the horse and rider’s form, it is all about getting over the jumps. A prix caprilli on the other hand is judged like a dressage test with emphasis on the horses way of going, the rider, and the horses gaits. What they are looking for is the smoothness and rhythm of a dressage test, just with jumps in the middle. Try as I might there are no good videos that I could find on Prix Caprilli’s. They all looked more like someone in white jumping then a dressage rider who just happened to have a few well placed jumps in the ring.
I think that having a Prix Caprilli at a show might be a great way to show hunter riders how much fun dressage is. In hunters, as in a prix caprilli, you are judges on how quietly and rhythmically your horse goes around the ring, but unlike in hunters a rider will get a score out of 100% and get feedback on each individual movement! Now, looking at the judges test sheets they do make a note of saying that the jump itself is not to be judged on roundness, but that they are looking to see if the horse is round on the aids right before and right after the jump. I know a lot of people and horses who rush to or/and jumps so a prix caprilli might be a great way for them to focus on correcting that issue.
One of my big questions is what happens if a horse refuses? In dressage, if a movement is not shown a judge will most likely not give you a score (I have gotten a 2 once because the judge took pity, but a 0 is standard practice). In a prix caprilli refusals well be penalized as an error of course, which means you get a re-do, but will loose 2 points from your total score at the end. The emphasis is not the jumping style of the horse, it is on the horse’s relaxation, obedience and evenness of pace.
It is a dressage test that happens to have jumps in the way and the jumps should not disrupt the standard performance expected in a dressage test. And here is a fun prix caprilli fact, 2008 US Olympic team member (and my personal dressage idol) Courtney King-Dye once rode a prix caprilli demo at Lendon’s youth dressage festival.
What do you think? Do you think it looks like fun? If so start asking your local show managers to add prix caprilli classes! Below is one of the many prix caprilli tests that I found online, just to give you all an example. And for my non-dressage people the numbers tell the judge and rider the movement, and the letters are to show them where the movement should be executed in the arena.
Enter working trot.
Halt. Salute. Proceed working trot.
Change rein over Fence #1. Return to working trot after jump.
20m. circle left.
Turn on line to Jump #2. Return to working trot after jump and proceed toward M.
Free walk. (x2)
Bet. A & K
Working canter right lead.
Change rein over Jump #1, land in working canter.
Bet C & H
Working canter left lead.
Large 1/2 circle left over Jump #2. After jump, proceed straight ahead.
Circle 20m. letting the horse gradually chew the reins out of the hands at working trot, rising. Before C gradually take up the reins.
Change rein over Jump #3. Return to working trot before F.
Halt. Salute. Leave arena at a free walk on a loose rein.