The Story Behind the Dressage Letters – Two Possible Explanations-FEI
Letters were not used until international competitions began with the Olympics in the 1900’s. The first competition in 1912 did not have letters. No Olympics were held in 1916 because of Word War I. The letters just “appeared” in the 1920 Olympics and no one has ever been able to find the origin although various theories have been advanced over the years, including one theory that the letters were the first letter of the names of the cities conquered by the Romans.
A second possibility is it appears that in the Old Imperial German Court the walls of the Royal Mews/Stable yard were initially marked with letters indicating where each Courtier and/or riders horse was to be stood to await its rider.
K – Kaiser/King
F – Furst/Prince
P – Pferdknecht/Ostler
V – Vassal
E – Edeling/Ehrengast/Guest of Honor
B – Bannertrager/Standard Bearer
S – Schzkanzier/Chancellor of Exchequer
R – Ritter/Knight
M – Meier/Steward
H – Hofsmarshall/Lord Chancellor
In the 1920 Olympics, the letters on the centerline were also used: A, D, L, X, I, G and C. You can also remember the basic ones by this phrase = “Attention - King Edward’s Horses Can Make Big Fences.”