One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in classical riding) a movement in which the horse performs a series of jumps on the hind legs without the forelegs touching the ground.
- ‘The horses performed caprioles, courbettes, and levades in hand.’
- ‘He has gone from being at death's door to doing courbettes out in the pasture!’
- ‘Not knowing a pesade from a pirouette or a courbette from a capriole, I was seduced by the riders’ dashing livery of black boots, white tights, brown dress coat and gilded bicorn hat.’
- ‘In different occasions they had shows where the horses performed courbettes on a volte or in a cross, capriols were performed and many more complicated movements were involved.’
- ‘They then graduate to the ‘aerial exercises’, with pesades, levades, courbettes and caprioles.’
Mid 17th century: French, from Italian corvetta ‘little curve’, based on Latin curvus ‘curved’.
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