Virtually all ‘sports’ reduce to martial analogues in some context, or have become culturally recognized as physical human art forms, portable to some reasonably objective set of standard criteria by which they may be judged more or less “ideal”, and thereby scored/ranked.? I presume you are more a fan of especially sporty-sports, involving team-teams, balls, sweat, and general mayhem – versus the more individualized activities you’ve cited along with Dressage.
With respect to high school-level dressage, I would argue it is among the most legitimate ‘sports’ there can be – whether or not I agree with the present Olympic interpretation, contest, or judging standards.
High school dressage emerges from the skills required to be successful (i.e., stay alive) in the age-old contest of the mounted duel – you, your sword, your horse versus whomever last insulted you.? It is in fact a martial art, and, incidentally, also a fine art – in spite of having been apparently and recently commandeered by an international network of wealthy homemakers and Germany, and benignly promoted as ‘horse ballet’.? Be that as it may, simply by virtue of its origins, it must be considered as legitimate as, say, the javelin, discus, and table tennis.? Or so every cavalier who ever lost a duel would hope, God rest their souls.
In terms of the personal athleticism of the rider:? Have you ever tried to persuade a horse to piaffe in place?? Though non-obvious to observers, it requires a degree of balance, coordination, skill, and fidelity easily comparable to every other sport requiring the same (fencing, skiing, skating, etc.), only greatly complicated by the fact one is relying upon a?living instrument, versus an inanimate object, such as a ski (which does not have to be educated to become a ski – it already is one out of the box; and, once it is a ski, it more or less remains as predictable on its bad days as its good ones – unlike most horses and people).