Unicycle Dressage

this idea came to me while watching some people take part in a dressage competition
for the non horse riders among u,
a bit more about dressage
riders are expected to complete a given set of manuevers in the arena
these are called out to them by a trainer standing at the side of the arena (up to international GRAND PRIX level, where they are expected to do it from memory)
some of u may see the simmilarity with ‘standard command’,
in this case the rider performs a set as opposed to a single skill

the dressage arena is massive 60mx20m
for the uni version i’m suggesting 5mx15m
(roughly 15ftx50ft, there’s no need for anything bigger - this should also fit inside most halls or gyms used by uni clubs)
the dressage arena features letters at regular intervals along the outside
these serve as points of ref and are used in learning and performing a particular dressage test
for the smaller uni-dressage arena, i’m suggesting we have one marker each bisecting the short legs and three markers each dividing the long legs into quarters
this is EXACTLY enought markers to spell ‘UNICYCLE’
if this isn’t a sign, i dont know
(we may have to change the spelling to ‘UNICYKLE’ to avoid confusion with the two Cs, but that’s another discussion)

this is in no way intended to replace the skill level testing, rather to augment it
an analogy
in the world of music a student is required to learn scales
the student is also required to learn musical pieces to be performed (these pieces incorporate the basic skills learnt while learning the scales)
u can see where this is going
i’m equating the existing skil levels to the scales and the ‘uni-dressage’ to the musical pieces

grab a piece of paper, draw a rectangle and add the letters U/N/I/C/Y/K/L/E with the ‘U’ bisecting the top (short) leg and the rest of the letters in order clockwise around the arena
now this next bit might make more sense

to give u an idea, here is a suggested ‘uni-dressage test’ incorporating skills up to level 4
(‘y’ would be where the judge would sit)

the rider enters the arena at ‘u’ and rides down the (imaginary)centreline (aiming straight for ‘y’)
at ‘i’ (marker indicators are on the left of the rider) stop, dismount and wave at the judge (in dressage they salute, waaay too formal imho)
freemount and turn left to complete a circle with ‘c’ as outer edge of the circle
upon returning to ‘i’, dismount and remount using a different mount
turn right and complete a figure of eight crossing thru ‘i’
upon completing the ‘8’ and returning to ‘i’, dismount and remount using a third mount
ride to ‘y’ stop and ride backward to ‘n’
stop and return to ‘i’ seat on stomach
regain the seat
idle right foot down, 25 times
ride one footed to ‘y’
regain the second foot and turn right riding up the side of the arena
between ‘k’ and ‘l’ ride seat out front
regain seat and continue to ‘e’
turn right
at ‘u’ turn 90 degrees right and ride seat out back down the centre line to ‘i’
regain seat and idle, left foot down 25 times

by now, u either have an idea of where i’m heading with this or u r bored out of your head and think i’ve lost it

riders’ performances will be judged by the judge sitting at ‘Y’ for precision, control, accuracy and so forth

given the need for a judge, this might be a bit too formal to qualify as a ‘game’
learning and practising the various tests
(i’m suggesting five tests incorporating the skills for levels 2/4/6/8/10) could fit into a club evening quite nicely
this format will also lend itself to olympic competition
(i like to think big and , like a certain namesake on this forum, do not allow reality to intrude too often :wink: )

now i’m asking for vigorous discussion and debate on the workability of such a format
hints and

It sounds like a lot of fun to me. I think you’ve summed it up pretty well there…I don’t have anythign to add.

Nice work!


Let’s put this in simpler language. Dressage is a discipline in which horse riders perform a set series of figures and skills in an arena.

Examples of figures: straight lines, large circles. Examples of skills: walk, trot, canter.

Then there’s the cleverer stuff like riding diagonally.

So I can see it might be interesting to take the basic idea and transfer it to unicycling. I don’t think it would be necessary or appropriate to make the unicycling version as similar as possible to the horse version.

Unicycling perhaps has more in common with ice skating. In ice skating they have ‘free dance’ in which the skaters show off all their clever moves in a routine of their own choosing, and they have figure skating in which the skaters have to perform a specified set of figures.

In unicycling, there is already freestyle.

So the idea of dressage boils down to:

“What if we have a competition where everybody has to perform an identical routine, consisting not only of technical skills, but also of figures, which will be judged for style and precision of the performance?”

Not a bad idea. No need to dress it up with a standard sized arena, or marker posts with letters, and so on.

Would it be popular? My guess is that most keen unicyclists are fairly competitive, but are not keen to be straitjacketed. So freestyle is popular. Some sort of ‘showjumping’ would almost certainly be popular. Technical slalom would probably work (compare to canoe/kayak slalom, not skiing).

The only way to find out if it works is to try it. My basic advice, though, would be to keep it simple. Specify the routine, maybe set up some cones or other marks, but don’t try to formalise the rules too much.

Downhill ski style slalom sounds fun to me, but then agan a Muni slalom course sounds fun too(like kayak slalom going up and down hills through technical off road riding). Has anyone tried to set up a course at a competition?

“Cumpulsories” is the term they used to use in skating. Maybe it said that above and I just lost it in all the words. I like the concept…how well can you string the core skills together.

We did it in Moab in March. This was a simple course on a smooth piece of downhill slickrock, but it could be done on any type of terrain. We may do it again at MUni Weekend in October.

And we used to have a Compulsory event in unicycling, last held in 1988 at UNICON IV.

The Dressage idea sounds like it could be a fun game for entry level riders and relatively informal situations. For more advanced riders, I think it would be too easy, making for boring competitions. Instead, we have the Standard Skill event.

Once again I am made aware of the fact that many of you newsgroup/forum readers aren’t familiar with the types of events we do at today’s competitions (NAUCC and UNICON). The rulebooks are there for all to see:

Unlike Freestyle, Standard Skill is a non-creative event. What you give up in creativity you gain in “objectivity.” Standard Skill scores can be compared from one competition to another. Freestyle cannot.

We used to have the Compulsory event as a percentage of your score toward being either Freestyle or Standard Skill world champion. Combined scores for both events determined the winners, like in ice skating. When we found out skating had dropped the compulsory figures from Olympic competition, we re-thought ours. Time is always limited at unicycle competitions, and the Compulsory event, where riders would complete one of four exact routines based on skill level, was not exactly exciting to watch. So we don’t have it any more. Even Standard Skill only really gets interesting when you get up into the highly skilled riders.

You mean something like this?


We could practise for 100 yrs and not get as good as her.

I used to do equestrian gymkhana when I was (A LOT) younger, I reckon that would be super cool to do on a uni! It incorporates pole bending/slalom type riding with skills such as grabbing a flag from a pole from a barrel or slotting rings over poles etc. while you are riding.

Perhaps we could have an equestrian uni event with all the horsey disciplines, except our ponies are uni’s :stuck_out_tongue: We could have modified dressage, show jumping, gymkhana and polo! I am aware of trials, muni, freestyle, flatland and marathons, however this could be a silly event - much like single speed events are in the cycling world - informal and for the fun of it!

You should come to Unicon. There you will see other Japanese girls who have apparently been practicing for 150 years.

In other words, her routine is great; very hard, but not at the top level. And why always her? She gets linked probably more than any other Freestyle unicyclist! I wonder why?

And that is Freestyle BTW, not Standard Skill, in case anyone needed help telling the difference. :slight_smile:

John, there is a move in that video where the girl puts her foot on the floor and sorta twirls her unicycle round it in an arch. What is that called? How do you do it?

I’ve been working on skills that I think would transfer well to muni. So far riding 1 legged (with both legs - one at a time off course) has greatly improved my muni. So too has practicing directional SIF riding. I was thinking being able to ‘dab’ with my foot during muni might be a good skill - this looks like it comes close.

Any suggestions? Ideas?

(I apologize if this is thread hacking…feel free to answer in a new thread.)

I doubt unicon is anywhere near where I live. As for Why always her? Maybe because her video shows up in the top few results when you type unicycle into youtube. Also maybe because most people here spend 2hrs + a day trying to mount the blasted thing when their learning then they see something like her video and are blown away by it.

I think it has a Standard Skill name something like “spin, foot on floor” but I’d have to look it up to be sure. The Standard Skill names are pretty literal, but they’re also pretty easy to understand. In Freestyle, it’s also not a unicycle trick, if part of the rider’s weight is on that second point of contact with the ground. But that’s another story. Doing it on dirt ups the difficulty quite a bit; it should be interesting!

Unicon is not supposed to be near where you live. If it is, you will find yourself guilted into helping out, and then it becomes a job.

And yes, her video rises to the top due to the high number of views. So the “popular” vids get ever more popular, while better ones may go unnoticed.

John you just missed a perfect opportunity to promote one of those better videos. I and I’m sure many others would love to see new content so if you’ve got something good post it up!

That video is of Kaori. For variety check out Backy Banning:

Keep in mind Becky had the added restriction of a small stage!

Also, here is Becky and Kaori together on the same stage:

Becky is the reigning NAUCC singles champion, and doubles champion with her partner Chantelle Troutman-Watson. Needless to say, they rock!