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Blkarab
May. 17, 2012, 04:44 PM
I am probably asking for it...but who here has considered crossing over into Western Dressage?

After reading about it in the USDF Connection...I'm finding myself more and more interested in it for my Arabian mare. Her breeding is heavily based in Western Pleasure and Reining. She's a talented dressage horse, but tends to become unbalanced quite easily at times and gets quite irritated by it as well. I'm just wondering if combining a western saddle with her background in Dressage would be a better fit? She was originally started under saddle Western, and did quite well...so this isn't too big of a stretch.

Dressage is and always will be my first love...and I'm not looking to replace that...I feel that cross-training is always a good thing for both the rider and the horse. I'm just feeling that maybe this is a way I can take my current out-of-work mare back into work with something that would make us both a bit more comfortable.

Dutch Lovin' Dressage Rider
May. 17, 2012, 06:23 PM
NO not me, even though I live in the west and own a western saddle. :D

**Blkarab: I think that is great if you want to do it. I say what ever makes you happy!**


As for Western Dressage: Yes, dressage means training, but......


Anyone else a little turned off by the USDF Connection's cover stating:

" "WESTERN DRESSAGE" - Inside our sport's hottest trend"


USDF, are you for real??? I think you put this article in the wrong magazine!

I don't know of any Dressage Rider that thinks Western Dressage is our sport's hottest trend! I think this article belongs in a Western Horseman Magazine, in which Western Dressage is now the "hottest" trend in Western Riding. Western Riding is NOT the hottest trend in Dressage Riding. USDF Connection got this a little backwards, should have read: "DRESSAGE: Inside the hottest trend in Western Riding".

Curb bits, engaged curb bits on contact, loopy reins because horse is in curb, LATE BEHIND flying changes because hands in lap pulling back blocking hind legs (see p. 31).


"Curb bits are permitted at any level. Hackamores and cavessons are prohibited. Riders using a snaffle must use two hands on the reins. Horses may be ridden one or two handed witha curb, through the rules do call for the judge to take into the consideration in the collective remarks the difficulty of the use of one hand." (see p. 32).

Dutch Lovin' Dressage Rider
May. 17, 2012, 06:38 PM
She's a talented dressage horse, but tends to become unbalanced quite easily at times and gets quite irritated by it as well. I'm just wondering if combining a western saddle with her background in Dressage would be a better fit?

If she is unbalance and irritated, how is using a western saddle going to help with her balance and irritation? Maybe your dressage saddle doesn't fit her back very well. Are you thinking of using a curb?




I feel that cross-training is always a good thing for both the rider and the horse. I'm just feeling that maybe this is a way I can take my current out-of-work mare back into work with something that would make us both a bit more comfortable.

I am just curious at how riding in a western saddle would be cross training for dressage? If she has pain issues, is irritated and is uncomfortable, maybe a good vet exam would help determine what is bothering her?

paintlady
May. 17, 2012, 07:01 PM
I have a very Western bred Paint mare. I even owned a Western saddle at one point for trail riding. I couldn't stand riding Western though... I felt like I couldn't feel my horse in that saddle. I now do classical dressage with my mare. We may be better suited for Western dressage, but I'm not planning to switch.

With that said, I really have no problem with the Western dressage movement. If you want to make the switch - go for it!

J-Lu
May. 17, 2012, 07:57 PM
I believe "Western Dressage" is just a catchphrase, and that USDF needed something to write about.

Western saddles just aren't designed for dressage, even the ones Pam Grace is now marketing. They aren't designed to transmit seatbone or thigh signaling, they're designed for ranch work.

Dressage is also about contact in the mouth. Curb bits don't allow for good contact.

I'm all for cross-training, and for Western riders to try dressage, and for dressage riders to try western. But "Western Dressage"? I'm sorry, no.

NOMIOMI1
May. 17, 2012, 08:13 PM
Well in the spirit of actually answering your post LOL :lol:

I do know of a couple of horses who have trouble just tracking up period ... Bred for shorter strides behind and so I would love to see them do some WD for fun :)

I am not a fan of this new "trend" but I am a fan of the horses and my friends who would love to show them in it so... GOOOOOOOO Western Dressage! lol

J-Lu
May. 17, 2012, 08:40 PM
OK, Namiomi1 has a point.

You say that your mare is heavily bred for Western Pleasure but is talented in dressage. Can you explain what you mean by this? I think that many western-bred horses (especially Arabians, they're so versatile in the breeding) can do just fine in dressage training if they are properly trained and ridden.

If she gets unbalanced and irritated, I'm guessing that your saddle doesn't fit well and that your riding isn't helping her out. Have you worked with a good dressage trainer? (I mean, a *good* dressage trainer?) Have you had a good dressage rider in the saddle to see what's going on with your mare? Has anyone good really checked the fit of your saddle? I think you need to start there.

The training/her comfort is going to be about the saddle fit and the way you ride her, not the type of saddle. Unless YOU are more comfortable in the western saddle...




I am probably asking for it...but who here has considered crossing over into Western Dressage?

After reading about it in the USDF Connection...I'm finding myself more and more interested in it for my Arabian mare. Her breeding is heavily based in Western Pleasure and Reining. She's a talented dressage horse, but tends to become unbalanced quite easily at times and gets quite irritated by it as well. I'm just wondering if combining a western saddle with her background in Dressage would be a better fit? She was originally started under saddle Western, and did quite well...so this isn't too big of a stretch.

Dressage is and always will be my first love...and I'm not looking to replace that...I feel that cross-training is always a good thing for both the rider and the horse. I'm just feeling that maybe this is a way I can take my current out-of-work mare back into work with something that would make us both a bit more comfortable.

Isabeau Z Solace
May. 17, 2012, 08:50 PM
OP, Yes, I am pretty intersted in the 'Western Dressage' idea. I have one mare, in particular, who is talented and can 'sit,' but she is a bit, um, laaazzzy.:D I love her, but I bet she'd love me a lot more if I didn't insist she do flying changes that were 'up' with quite so much 'jump.' She could really do potentially well in this.

As for all this silliness about bit contact.... well I guess some folks have never seen the 'one handed' classical haute-ecole on the curb.....

And this silliness about this or that saddle isn't suitable... I'm pretty sure Buck Brannanman schools 'dressage' in his 'western' saddle just fine. See Buck documentary if you are unsure.:winkgrin: Come to think of it, those scenes of our buddy Buck schooling his horse in the documentary really give a good example of what I am thinking of when I think Western Dressage.

So for those folks who are having a 'problem' with this WD idea... I'll point you towards those scenes, as an ideal they could keep in mind.:)

Foxtrot's
May. 17, 2012, 08:56 PM
..if only I could ride like Buck (sigh). So light, so easy, so relaxed.

Dutch Lovin' Dressage Rider
May. 17, 2012, 09:07 PM
]
As for all this silliness about bit contact.... well I guess some folks have never seen the 'one handed' classical haute-ecole on the curb......


Silliness about bit contact? In Dressage, we have bitting rules and training scales for a reason. :lol:

And right, those haute-cole horses are not started out in curbs one handed either. They are started in snaffles, so not a really good comparison - sorry. ;)


Well, in Dressage and in western, horses are at first trained in snaffles, and then later "fine tuned" to a curb when they are educated. But not in this Western Dressage. They are allowing curb bits at all levels. Curbs are ok for - Basic Level (comparable to Intro Level) and Primary Level (comparable to Training Level).

In DRESSAGE, curbs are allowed once a horse is trained to Third Level, not walk-trot Intro Level. :eek:

Dutch Lovin' Dressage Rider
May. 17, 2012, 09:08 PM
..if only I could ride like Buck (sigh). So light, so easy, so relaxed.




I have not seen Buck ride. I am guessing this is sarcasm? :)

NOMIOMI1
May. 17, 2012, 09:13 PM
I have not seen Buck ride. I am guessing this is sarcasm? :)

No he is a pretty good rider Buck Brannaman I think they mean. He rides lovely... But remember he is also not attempting to sit the type of gaits top Dressage riders are lol

SillyHorse
May. 17, 2012, 09:23 PM
Go ahead and do it, but really, it's not dressage. It's pattern riding, plain and simple.

"As for all this silliness about bit contact.... well I guess some folks have never seen the 'one handed' classical haute-ecole on the curb.....

And this silliness about this or that saddle isn't suitable... "

What you so smugly call "silliness" is what the USEF calls the rules. Again, go ahead and do what you want, but don't call it dressage, because it isn't.

monstrpony
May. 17, 2012, 09:31 PM
I have not seen Buck ride. I am guessing this is sarcasm? :)

Right, just go ahead and pass judgement on things about which you know very little. That always does great things for the impression people get from what you say.

(and, yes, that IS sarcasm) :rolleyes:

49'er
May. 17, 2012, 09:42 PM
Most of you guys are hilarious. :) I see this as a chance for the old time romal horse to come back. When split reins hit the west coast in the eighties, many of us old timers thought that the art of the romal horse was dead. Horses used to go up in the bit and move collected. It has been a lost art in the western show pen for over 40 years I believe. Now it has a chance to come back, hopefully before the old time romal trainers all die off. Most of them are pretty old by now. :)

I am a driver now and work a lot of driven dressage. I have a cob mare that I think would be great in western dressage and I still have my old equipment. When I get bored with driving, this gives something new to try. :)

silvia
May. 17, 2012, 09:56 PM
Go ahead and do it, but really, it's not dressage. It's pattern riding, plain and simple.

Yes, because dressage doesn't use patterns at all. In any tests. Really.




:lol:

Dutch Lovin' Dressage Rider
May. 17, 2012, 10:19 PM
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dutch Lovin' Dressage Rider

"I have not seen Buck ride. I am guessing this is sarcasm?"



Right, just go ahead and pass judgement on things about which you know very little. That always does great things for the impression people get from what you say.

(and, yes, that IS sarcasm) :rolleyes:




Well, I don't know Buck, and I'd don't really know Jack either! :lol::lol::lol: They are both likely really nice folks.

Like I said, I have not seen Buck ride. No passing of judgement there. And then I asked if he/she who made the Buck comment was being silly. No passing of judgement there either.

NO sarcasm there anywhere. Simply a simple statement and simply a simple question of clarification. :rolleyes:



.

AzulBlue
May. 17, 2012, 10:55 PM
I wanted to add my 2 cents on the comment regarding the inability to communicate properly with a western saddle. My daughter rides western, but takes riding lessons with a dressage instructor. My daughter has always preferred western, but this instructor came highly recommended, so we ended up with a dressage instructor to help us along with a green bean. I have to say, that my daughter has NO troubles using her seat bones and such to communicate with her horse! I do understand that a dressage saddle is better equipped to have more "feel" but trust me...it can all be done in a western saddle! ;) what was it that Buck said? Something to the effect of "a horse can feel a mosquito land on him on a windy day" so a little extra leather and bulk isn't going to halt all ability to feel your horse and vice versa...my daughter can ride bridleless and use only seatbone/leg to guide her horse from 20 meter circles all the way down to 5 meter circles. It's amazing! Now, I know very little to nothing of this new western dressage, and would like to learn more, so could we please keep this thread going in a positive way so we can learn more vs. bicker over what should and shouldn't be?

Ambitious Kate
May. 17, 2012, 10:58 PM
She's a talented dressage horse, but tends to become unbalanced quite easily at times and gets quite irritated by it as well. I'm just wondering if combining a western saddle with her background in Dressage would be a better fit? She was originally started under saddle Western, and did quite well...so this isn't too big of a stretch.



A horse becomes unbalanced and irritated when it is heavily on the forehand, and back isn't engaged. when the horse is not bent properly, and is allowed to be on the forehand, the can fall forward or to the right or left and anticipating this makes them anxious and irritated. When their shoulder is allowed to fall in, they aren't using their back or the bend properly, and they can fall, trip, or run on the forehand, and it makes them - yes, anxious and irritated.

It has nothing to do with the western saddle. If your concen is saddle oriented, you will need to make sure you are riding in a well fitted saddle, western or english.

Her unbalanced problems are in her training and the rider, not in the saddle.

RedmondDressage
May. 17, 2012, 11:14 PM
Yes, because dressage doesn't use patterns at all. In any tests. Really.


Pattern riding and riding a dressage test are completely different animals. Pull up a dressage test and read the directives. In a dressage test you are not just riding a 10m or 20m circle to ride the shape of a circle. Each movement has a specific purpose in training and to demonstrate the horse's skills. Very different from just riding a pattern.

Blkarab
May. 18, 2012, 12:12 AM
Thanks to everyone for posting.

To answer a few questions (please forgive, I've only read a few of the posts)...I wanted to address the pain issue.

No, she's not in pain. I've had saddle, chiro, vet, etc...all look at her. She goes great with my very good dressage instructor. She's shown her through 1st level with good scores, especially for an arabian.

She's 14.1 and very narrow, which has made the combination for the two of us difficult, as I'm 5'7. I feel precarious on her in an English saddle and when I'm not balanced on her, I get tense, and she gets aggitated by it. When I have ridden her in a western saddle, I feel like I have more underneath my legs and feel that I can balance myself on her much more comfortably. I know the feel for her will not be the same as riding traditional dressage...but that might be a good thing, as she's very sensitive to pressure and changes in balance, etc.

No, I'm not planning on riding her in a curb and I'm not planning on showing her in Western Dressage...I'm more curious about crossing between the two areas to bring the best of both to my talented mare to give her more of a job and a way I can ride her. I went to the Western Dressage Association website, and under their rules and guidelines, they state that a snaffle bit is just fine.

I have a very lovely gelding that is great at "traditional" dressage.

Blkarab
May. 18, 2012, 12:25 AM
Just to add...I've now read all the posts.

Please keep this positive. I understand that there are many differences between the two disciplines, and I'm well aware of that.

I know that my inbalances will cause issues no matter the saddle or the style of riding...I'm okay with that as well, and take full responsibility for the issues that my position and tension cause with this mare...trust me, it's been a long road for the two of us in that department...going on 8 years.

My gelding gives me the confidence and the stability to go forward with learning to perfect my seat and aids in dressage...he is quite the steady-eddy...my mare is not...which is why I have the gelding.

As far as "patterns" for Western Dressage...the Intro tests are nearly identical to the first tests for Western Dressage...the ridden goals are pretty close to the same.

Neigh-Neigh
May. 18, 2012, 02:36 AM
I believe "Western Dressage" is just a catchphrase, and that USDF needed something to write about.

Western saddles just aren't designed for dressage, even the ones Pam Grace is now marketing. They aren't designed to transmit seatbone or thigh signaling, they're designed for ranch work.

Dressage is also about contact in the mouth. Curb bits don't allow for good contact.

I'm all for cross-training, and for Western riders to try dressage, and for dressage riders to try western. But "Western Dressage"? I'm sorry, no.

This.

Maude
May. 18, 2012, 08:17 AM
I prefer to think of it as dressage in a western saddle. I ride my PSG mare in western tack too, and she goes as well in my Reinsman saddle as she does in my Roosli. I think people are hung up on the whole "Western Dressage" label. I see WD as an opportunity to introduce western riders to dressage. They may not be exposed otherwise. I personally disagree with using a curb and always ride in a snaffle. I did not read the article in the USDF Magazine as I have not rejoined yet. I teach riders of all ages with all different types of horses that ride in dressage and western saddles. One horse has been ridden in western tack for most of his training since I started working with he and his rider 1 1/2 years ago. He is now ridden in a Huselbos dressage saddle and all the training he received in his western saddle transferred right over. IMHO, WD has it's place. Especially to introduce people to dressage who otherwise would not think of learning about dressage. I teach dressage to whoever wants to learn on whatever horse they have. Every horse and rider can benefit from correct dressage training. I don't change the way I teach just because someone rides in western tack. Blkarab, I say go for it. Especially if you have a solid dressage background. Tack doesn't make the horse or rider. And, I know alot of "dressage riders" who should be so lucky to be as soft and to sit a horse like Buck Brannaman. :)

paulosey
May. 18, 2012, 08:36 AM
I am interested in riding Western Dressage, although it is unheard of in my part of the world. I ride in a reining saddle and my horse is able to feel my seat aides fine. I have also ridden traditional dressage in the past. I think he prefers the western saddle to the dressage saddle because he feels like I am shouting the aides to him in the English saddle. We can work on that down the road, but since he is so sensitive, the western reining saddle is perfect for us both right now. I am riding in a D-ring with a lozenge ( how the heck do you spell that?).
I think you are doing yourself a disservice to think there is so much difference between dressage and western riding...good western riding, that is. Both are developed from the Spanish school.
Anyway, I think the finished bridle horse has alot more in common with a dressage horse than some of you give them credit for. I agree, if this trend brings about a resurgance of interest in the training of bridle horses in the vaquero tradition, it would be a great thing for alot of western horses.

Blkarab, you may get a different point of view if you check out the new western forum.

SillyHorse
May. 18, 2012, 08:55 AM
Go ahead and do it, but really, it's not dressage. It's pattern riding, plain and simple.

"And this silliness about this or that saddle isn't suitable... "

Great! I guess I'll show up for a Western Pleasure class at the next county horse show, with my dressage saddle. After all, if it's just silliness, that should be just fine, right?

Yes, because dressage doesn't use patterns at all. In any tests. Really.

Ok then, by your reasoning, I should expect to see "Dressage Western Pleasure" classes offered at "western" shows. I should be permitted to ride in my dressage attire with my dressage saddle and snaffle bit, ride with contact and connection, display the gaits that we strive for in dressage, and expect them to modify the rules for me to allow all of this. Right? After all, it's all the same silliness and pattern riding. Right?

butlerfamilyzoo
May. 18, 2012, 09:14 AM
Man, those of you folks that say western saddles dont transmit the aids like a dressage saddle... Really? Go watch reining. Stay with me for a minute. lol. I did reining as a kid. Your aids for a finished reining horse should be INVISIBLE. Just like upper level dressage, yet upper level dressage fankly, you can still see a LOT of aids in most riders. I will agree that a reining horse rides "flatter" compared to an upper level dressage horse, sitting the two is like comparing apples and oranges. So i'm not arguing there, but your horse can feel ALL of your very LIGHT aids in a western saddle, i will argue that point till the day i die.

Both trees are still wood or fiberglass in there... Both trees if looked at sitting next to each other are not all that different. It's just the leather on top that's designed different and one has flocking in leather pockets, the other has fleece direct on the horse. (in simple terms)

Now, for western dressage... I'm all for it. I would totally do it if i had a horse that would enjoy it, and i think i likely do right now. He's a lovely collected boy, but he does not LIKE to be forward and expressive. Is he just being lazy? Maybe. Or maybe he's just telling me it's not the job he wants in life.

I also have no problems with a young horse going in a curb. We are learning more and more about how bits fit in the mouth and how they really work. I can tell you that right now, i have a mare that is so incredibly fussy in every snaffle i've tried on her, yet her driving bit which is a Glory liverpool (essentially a 45 degree angled arch mouth curb), she is so happy and easy. WHY? It FITS her mouth. Not all horses are meant for snaffles or even a mullen mouth as that offers no tongue relief. Will this curb option in WD be abused? I'm positive it will. But so are double bridles in dressage before a horse is really ready for it or even needs it...

WD is trying to use a very similar training scale as dressage, so those calling it pattern riding, it shouldnt be. It should show the training and the transitions and the balance and everything else it should show in dressage, with maybe a little less flamboyant movers... So we could sorta call this the same as dressage 20yrs ago in different tack! Before we started breeding such sport specific, ginormous, flamboyant movers. (not knocking them, i drool over them, and own one in pony form)

Dressage is TRAINING. This has been discussed here before. ANY horse should be able to do dressage, even if it's not built for it, it will benefit from dressage training, because it's TRAINING on a scale in the way a horse should be developed.

Western Dressage has said they do not want it to turn into a bunch of western pleasure horses 4 beating around a dressage lest in a lope or doing the slowest jog that looks half lame. The horses should still be forward. So what a great outlet for all those people that love dressage because they are perfectionists, but do not have the expressive movers of today to stand out at a show. Cause we all know show politics tends to place expressive huge movers over well ridden and precise but not so flamboyant.

I also hope this brings back the old vaquero tradition, which to me, is something truly beautiful to watch. But i started out a western girl, doing the reining thing, then went to hunters, then to dressage, and now to driving, so maybe i appreciate multiple disciplines and what they have to offer more than the DQ only types.

At the end of the day, whatever gets people on their horses, whatever the breed or ability of the animal, enjoying them, and using proper training (which WD is wanting to promote), makes me a happy person.

SillyHorse
May. 18, 2012, 09:20 AM
OK, as long as there's a place for me to be competitive in a Western Pleasure class with my horse who has fairly expressive gaits, because *boo hoo* he's not competitive in real Western Pleasure and that's Not Fair! I want to win! With my dressage horse! In Western Pleasure!

witherbee
May. 18, 2012, 09:21 AM
I have no idea if it will help this horse and rider combination, but I am happy to see all of the western riders at our local dressage shows. Glad to see people out competing and enjoying their horses and trying to learn better ways to train.

SillyHorse
May. 18, 2012, 09:28 AM
I have never had a problem with people from any and all disciplines participating in dressage shows; in fact I love seeing them coming to play in our sandbox and I'm thrilled for them when they do well. There is room for all. However, I do have a problem with changing the rules and requirements to accommodate them. (In case you hadn't noticed :lol:)

butlerfamilyzoo
May. 18, 2012, 09:42 AM
SillyHorse... There are many in the western world that DESPISE western pleasure because it's DESTROYING the gaits of the horse. Especially in the stock horse world where it's gone so off the deep end it doesnt even resemble the original western ranch style horse.

So is this creating a new discipline for horses that cant cut it in western pleasure? I dont see it like that... I see it as more of trying to bring back the traditional western horse. And dressage is nothing if not traditional right? ;)

If we go back to the military style horse of the US cavalry, these were stock horse breeds brought along in dressage training methods with curb bits and more "western" than english tack, or a hybrid of sorts when looking at the mclellan saddle and breast collar.

The vaquero style horse is much the same, and is not restricted to just the US, very similar style in spain for the bull fighting horses.

SO to "me" western dressage has been around a long long time. It's just given a name and tests to ride to show it off. I dont see it as making up new rules for a certain type of horse, it's just creating an outlet for a style that is already out there and that's almost vanished in the US.

49'er
May. 18, 2012, 09:48 AM
Thank you Kayla. That is what I was trying to say earlier. :)

betonbill
May. 18, 2012, 09:54 AM
Amen to Butlerfamilyzoo. I think the OP should go ahead and have some fun and explore WD with her horse. From what I have read over the years the good western saddles are made to put the rider in a balanced position, so don't think that this should be an issue.

As far as Buck and his horse, we should all be so lucky to be able to ride even a small fraction as well. I saw the movie, I got the DVD, and those shots of him riding in the fields--well, if WD evolves to something approaching that sort of riding, it is something to strive for.

Also agree that this might be perfect for the vaquero type of riding, romal and all. I was in Westernland (E. Oregon) for years and saw a lot of nice, balanced WP horses (way before they changed for the worse) that could probably have excelled in western dressage.

Good luck, OP. It's all about the fun, anyway.

Gloria
May. 18, 2012, 10:11 AM
Come on folks. Some people hate tight pants; some people despise English saddles. I don't, but some really do. Won't it be great if Western Dressage bring those people closer to dressage, who otherwise are completely separated from this wonderful displine called dressage? - maybe we will see more men riding in dressage, or even English displine in general? Once those folks are hooked in dressage (Western or not), it won't be that big a stretch for some of them to cross the line to try it in English dressage (my hope anyway...).

To me, if we can get one more rider and horse to stay away from that miserable Western Pleasure, the goal has been reached.

NOMIOMI1
May. 18, 2012, 10:35 AM
I hate tight pants!

There are some who consider dressage a pursuit of excellence... Western dressage is training level riding that is allowed to do upper level movements without the work involved.

Having done breed showing I know what its like to see the talented horse at 3 years beat out the senior horses because the new "trend" leaned that way movement wise.

Wd allows for more trend in the dressage world. I have played that game so its not skin off my nose but in comparison to the blood sweat and tears put into my dressage it gives a bad taste in my mouth to associate something cue based and trendy to the sport.

There are people even IN dressage who hate their own sport and I feel this will give them a foothold for their jealousy over the "elite" portions of it. Hands down the toughest riding sport in the world (based on length of time to develope them) linked up with a sport that trains horses to finish in months?

It has its ugly side.

SmartAlex
May. 18, 2012, 10:43 AM
If people supposedly can't ride dressage in a western saddle because it deadens all those seat aids, then how the heck does one manage in a side saddle? You ever see the padding on those babies?

RedmondDressage
May. 18, 2012, 10:44 AM
So is this creating a new discipline for horses that cant cut it in western pleasure? I dont see it like that... I see it as more of trying to bring back the traditional western horse. And dressage is nothing if not traditional right?

Not reeeaaally wanting to jump into the debate but I think you may have misinterpreted what SillyHorse wrote... I don't think s/he was saying that this is creating a new discipline for horses that cant cut it in western pleasure... S/he was saying that this is an attempt to change the rules in Dressage so that people can win ribbons without having to compete against actual Dressage horses...

Isabeau Z Solace
May. 18, 2012, 10:52 AM
Quote:
Like I said, I have not seen Buck ride. No passing of judgement there. And then I asked if he/she who made the Buck comment was being silly. No passing of judgement there either.

NO sarcasm there anywhere. Simply a simple statement and simply a simple question of clarification. :rolleyes:


Well here's your opportunity to get caught up!:D The documentary is called Buck, and you can get it on Netflix, Walmart, or wherever.

The trailer at the website has just the briefest seconds of him riding. You might be able to find more snippets on youtube.

http://www.buckthefilm.com/

Isabeau Z Solace
May. 18, 2012, 10:59 AM
If people supposedly can't ride dressage in a western saddle because it deadens all those seat aids, then how the heck does one manage in a side saddle? You ever see the padding on those babies?

Well heck yeah, that's a good point !:D;):cool:

GraceLikeRain
May. 18, 2012, 11:04 AM
OP: If you want to try it then go for it! I am in a very english-centered area so I don't know of anyone who is giving western dressage a shot but I wish I did. I don't see any harm in trying. Who cares if it is "real" dressage, or riding patterns, or whatever. If it is something you think you'll enjoy, I wouldn't let all of these naysayers stop you.

What is the absolute worst thing that could happen?

butlerfamilyzoo
May. 18, 2012, 11:16 AM
Redmond Dressage- "Not reeeaaally wanting to jump into the debate but I think you may have misinterpreted what SillyHorse wrote... I don't think s/he was saying that this is creating a new discipline for horses that cant cut it in western pleasure... S/he was saying that this is an attempt to change the rules in Dressage so that people can win ribbons without having to compete against actual Dressage horses... "


OK, as long as there's a place for me to be competitive in a Western Pleasure class with my horse who has fairly expressive gaits, because *boo hoo* he's not competitive in real Western Pleasure and that's Not Fair! I want to win! With my dressage horse! In Western Pleasure!


But i understand what you are saying too. I DO agree that i think WD will be abused, that people will use it to get ribbons because they arent competitive enough for "real" dressage, that it's not "real" dressage because horses are going to be allowed to do "upper level" movements before taking the "real" steps to get there as defined by "real" dressage...

Do you realize how many people skip the steps to push their 5yr olds into 4th level or above, and still win because they have flashy flamboyant movers with a pro with a big name sitting on their backs?

All disciplines have people abusing it to win the ribbons.

vtdobes
May. 18, 2012, 11:32 AM
I also have no problems with a young horse going in a curb. We are learning more and more about how bits fit in the mouth and how they really work. I can tell you that right now, i have a mare that is so incredibly fussy in every snaffle i've tried on her, yet her driving bit which is a Glory liverpool (essentially a 45 degree angled arch mouth curb), she is so happy and easy. WHY? It FITS her mouth. Not all horses are meant for snaffles or even a mullen mouth as that offers no tongue relief. Will this curb option in WD be abused? I'm positive it will. But so are double bridles in dressage before a horse is really ready for it or even needs it...

Dressage is TRAINING. This has been discussed here before. ANY horse should be able to do dressage, even if it's not built for it, it will benefit from dressage training, because it's TRAINING on a scale in the way a horse should be developed.

At the end of the day, whatever gets people on their horses, whatever the breed or ability of the animal, enjoying them, and using proper training (which WD is wanting to promote), makes me a happy person.

Agreed with this. My Morgan mare hates any kind of snaffle but loves her Glory Butterfly for carriage driving, pelham for when I ride her huntseat and the curb when I ride her western. So quiet and soft in all three. As long as a bit is not misused I don't see anything wrong with using what the horse likes.

fairtheewell
May. 18, 2012, 11:59 AM
I am interested in riding Western Dressage, although it is unheard of in my part of the world. I ride in a reining saddle and my horse is able to feel my seat aides fine. I have also ridden traditional dressage in the past. I think he prefers the western saddle to the dressage saddle because he feels like I am shouting the aides to him in the English saddle. We can work on that down the road, but since he is so sensitive, the western reining saddle is perfect for us both right now. I am riding in a D-ring with a lozenge ( how the heck do you spell that?).
I think you are doing yourself a disservice to think there is so much difference between dressage and western riding...good western riding, that is. Both are developed from the Spanish school.
Anyway, I think the finished bridle horse has alot more in common with a dressage horse than some of you give them credit for. I agree, if this trend brings about a resurgance of interest in the training of bridle horses in the vaquero tradition, it would be a great thing for alot of western horses.

Blkarab, you may get a different point of view if you check out the new western forum.

I second this. Also, think about how fun it will be to buy tack..:)

N2Equus
May. 18, 2012, 12:22 PM
Great post(s) Butlerfamilyzoo!

Blkarab
May. 18, 2012, 12:52 PM
Thanks everyone for the discussion.

I spoke with my dressage instructor and my mare's trainer. She's on board with this if we decide to do it. She doesn't feel that it would be a bad road to take. I'm thinking about it. The local GMO is offering a couple of seminars to look at WD more in-depth.

Great post butlerfamilyzoo. That is essentially my goal...to just be able to get back on my mare and give her a job. She enjoys working too much.

SillyHorse
May. 18, 2012, 12:57 PM
So is this creating a new discipline for horses that cant cut it in western pleasure? I dont see it like that... I see it as more of trying to bring back the traditional western horse. And dressage is nothing if not traditional right? ;)




Not reeeaaally wanting to jump into the debate but I think you may have misinterpreted what SillyHorse wrote... I don't think s/he was saying that this is creating a new discipline for horses that cant cut it in western pleasure... S/he was saying that this is an attempt to change the rules in Dressage so that people can win ribbons without having to compete against actual Dressage horses...
Yes, RedmondDressage gets it.


Western Dressage has said they do not want it to turn into a bunch of western pleasure horses 4 beating around a dressage lest in a lope or doing the slowest jog that looks half lame. The horses should still be forward. So what a great outlet for all those people that love dressage because they are perfectionists, but do not have the expressive movers of today to stand out at a show. Cause we all know show politics tends to place expressive huge movers over well ridden and precise but not so flamboyant.
This is where I have the problem.
Riding dressage does not equal showing. If people want to pursue dressage because they love it, because they understand how good it is for their horses when done correctly, then I applaud them and encourage them to do so in whatever tack they want. There are untold numbers of people pursuing dressage at all levels - up to GP - who do not show. So why must the dressage community alter the rules for some people because they want to show horses that they don't think will be competitive?

I can (and have) put a western saddle on my horse and get serious, good instruction in Western disciplines, and I can enjoy the heck out of it, and do it to the best of my ability. But I do not expect that community to alter their show rules to accommodate me because I want to show my horse, a horse whose gaits render him pretty darned non-competitive in that milieu.

J-Lu
May. 18, 2012, 01:09 PM
Man, those of you folks that say western saddles dont transmit the aids like a dressage saddle... Really? Go watch reining. Stay with me for a minute. lol. I did reining as a kid. Your aids for a finished reining horse should be INVISIBLE. Just like upper level dressage, yet upper level dressage fankly, you can still see a LOT of aids in most riders. I will agree that a reining horse rides "flatter" compared to an upper level dressage horse, sitting the two is like comparing apples and oranges. So i'm not arguing there, but your horse can feel ALL of your very LIGHT aids in a western saddle, i will argue that point till the day i die.

Both trees are still wood or fiberglass in there... Both trees if looked at sitting next to each other are not all that different. It's just the leather on top that's designed different and one has flocking in leather pockets, the other has fleece direct on the horse. (in simple terms)



WD is trying to use a very similar training scale as dressage, so those calling it pattern riding, it shouldnt be. It should show the training and the transitions and the balance and everything else it should show in dressage, with maybe a little less flamboyant movers... So we could sorta call this the same as dressage 20yrs ago in different tack! Before we started breeding such sport specific, ginormous, flamboyant movers. (not knocking them, i drool over them, and own one in pony form)

Dressage is TRAINING. This has been discussed here before. ANY horse should be able to do dressage, even if it's not built for it, it will benefit from dressage training, because it's TRAINING on a scale in the way a horse should be developed.

Western Dressage has said they do not want it to turn into a bunch of western pleasure horses 4 beating around a dressage lest in a lope or doing the slowest jog that looks half lame. The horses should still be forward. So what a great outlet for all those people that love dressage because they are perfectionists, but do not have the expressive movers of today to stand out at a show. Cause we all know show politics tends to place expressive huge movers over well ridden and precise but not so flamboyant.

I also hope this brings back the old vaquero tradition, which to me, is something truly beautiful to watch. But i started out a western girl, doing the reining thing, then went to hunters, then to dressage, and now to driving, so maybe i appreciate multiple disciplines and what they have to offer more than the DQ only types.

At the end of the day, whatever gets people on their horses, whatever the breed or ability of the animal, enjoying them, and using proper training (which WD is wanting to promote), makes me a happy person.

FWIW, I disagree about the trees. THey are very different.

Reining tests of course require a full compliment of aids from the rider, and invisible aids. But dressage tests require VERY refined use of seat aids. Reining does large pattern and requires alot of room. Reining horses don't change what their doing every few strides. Dressage tests might have 2-4 movements along one 60 m line of travel, and frequently call for changes within the gaits. All dressage riders know that the seat is critical to dressage riding, hence the saddles are *designed* for this. Western saddles are not. Sorry.

Dressage doesn't require flamboyant movement, it requires a correctly trained horse (i.e. one that is developing the topline). Anyone can score well on any kind of horse if they train/ride the horse correctly. To say that "Western Dressage" is for dressage -leaning riders who can't compete in the dressage ring suggests to me that they aren't really riding dressage in the first place.

Similarly, I can place a dressage saddle on a cutting horse or barrel horse. Is this really the best saddle for the sport? No. I would be riding barrels in a dressage saddle, not doing "Barrel Dressage".

Dressage 20 years ago still had different aids than western riding, even when people competed in forward-seat saddles. The training is very different.

I don't think anyone here is saying to the OP "don't ride in a western saddle" or "if you can't ride in a dressage saddle, don't bring your mare back into work". The problem is with the concept of "Western Dressage" as a discipline. To me, it's like watching the "hunter under saddle" classes at the quarter horse shows. These horses are ridden like western pleasure but in English tack. it's not the same as "hunter under saddle" in the english world.

HorseKrazy
May. 18, 2012, 01:19 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ycY1S-BbwI&feature=youtube_gdata_player

I just thought I would add this to the thread, hopefully the link works.... I personally ride as many 'styles' as I can get my seat into. I started out bareback and have ridden everything from western pleasure to three day eventing. I'm a huge fan of cross training and I feel it ALL has a place. Often my horse is the one dictating what we ride! Aside from all that, I am currently trying to encourage my husband to ride more- but I can't get him in tight pants and my 'girly' saddles... So I am VERY intrigued by this western dressage. I have noticed the similarities in a working 'western' horses training with sensitivity to seat and legs (even in that bulky saddle) and that of a horse in dressage training. Additionally my AQHA reining trained mare is leaving next week to be a lesson horse at a dressage barn... I can let you all know how that goes- maybe ill even take video....

Foxtrot's
May. 18, 2012, 01:51 PM
Anybody remember the reiner Roy Yates?

He talked about collection on a loose rein and quoted James Filis.

While I personally had difficulties with some (a lot) of his methods, he was bridging the gap in those days between dressage and Western and the sight of a very light horse, moving so easily and willingly without a lot of 'muscle' from the rider is appealing.

I do not know to what level he rode - but I do not have a prejudice as to either type, or think that one is treading in another's turf.

CHT
May. 18, 2012, 02:49 PM
I think they are allowing the curb at all levels to help encourage people to cross over from WP or other western events with their "finished" horses that are ridden in a curb.

My guess would be that this will eventually change as WD becomed more a "thing".

My experience with breed show/circuit showing is limited, but from what I have seen based on three trainers, is their idea of teaching the horse to "collect" on a loose rein involved teaching the horse to fear the bit. They corrected by snatching up contact (jerking and dropping) so that the horse fears moving its head out of place so that it doesn't get the snatch. Perhaps WD will allow how the horse holds its head to be more a reflection of its body and balance vs a predetermined ideal.

RougeEmpire
May. 18, 2012, 02:50 PM
Go ahead and do it, but really, it's not dressage. It's pattern riding, plain and simple.

"As for all this silliness about bit contact.... well I guess some folks have never seen the 'one handed' classical haute-ecole on the curb.....

And this silliness about this or that saddle isn't suitable... "

What you so smugly call "silliness" is what the USEF calls the rules. Again, go ahead and do what you want, but don't call it dressage, because it isn't.


It IS dressage, what it isn't is Dressage. If you are going to be a snotty biznatch at least get it right.

butlerfamilyzoo
May. 18, 2012, 03:15 PM
My replies in red.




Reining tests of course require a full compliment of aids from the rider, and invisible aids. But dressage tests require VERY refined use of seat aids. Reining does large pattern and requires alot of room. Reining horses don't change what their doing every few strides. Dressage tests might have 2-4 movements along one 60 m line of travel, and frequently call for changes within the gaits. All dressage riders know that the seat is critical to dressage riding, hence the saddles are *designed* for this. Western saddles are not. Sorry.

Have you trained a reining horse? Because i can assure you that they make smaller circles and change things up every few strides while training, the reining patterns dont show it, but i'll equate that to people who train 2nd level at home and show at training level. We all do a multitude of exercises to soften and supple at home that we dont ride in a test. We cross trained our reiners on cattle as a kid, and i can darn sure tell you that saddle did not inhibit me asking for a side pass to a halt to a spin to a full gallop, and all without swinging my legs up and down to get lead changes or doing much more than simply shift my weight, all while maintaining a collected supple animal on a loose rein.

Dressage doesn't require flamboyant movement, it requires a correctly trained horse (i.e. one that is developing the topline). Anyone can score well on any kind of horse if they train/ride the horse correctly. To say that "Western Dressage" is for dressage -leaning riders who can't compete in the dressage ring suggests to me that they aren't really riding dressage in the first place.

It DOESNT require flamboyant, but it's what's winning in the ring, and if you dont agree with that, then it's a rare show that a judge isnt placing flamboyant over correct and better ridden. This is discussed in multiple threads here of late. I HATE that dressage has become this, sure, i love a big flashy freak of nature... :D But i miss when you really could bring in an "off breed" and do well because you were correct. It's been a turn off to the discipline for me the past couple years. And no, i dont see this too much in lower levels, but it starts somewhere around 2nd-3rd is what i see.

Similarly, I can place a dressage saddle on a cutting horse or barrel horse. Is this really the best saddle for the sport? No. I would be riding barrels in a dressage saddle, not doing "Barrel Dressage".

No argument. And no one is saying that western dressage will be doing grand prix movements exactly as we know them either. The upper WD tests at present read a bit like training level...

Dressage 20 years ago still had different aids than western riding, even when people competed in forward-seat saddles. The training is very different.

I disagree. The training USED TO BE so similar. Now western pleasure has turned into crank and spank. But my cross trained welsh ponies (and used to be arabs) are/were trained exactly the same in all disciplines i rode, from dressage to western to hunters. What has changed in dressage in 20yrs is the horse itself. Breeders have gotten very good at breeding for the sport, and thus creating large flamboyant moving animals. 20yrs ago, the horses were not so athletic. Which is also discussed in multiple threads here.



The current rules, regulations, and tests for Western Dressage are here:
http://westerndressageassociation.org/western-dressage-rules-tests/

So for everyone terrified of western ponies cranked and spanked into a canter pirouette... These tests are so easy all of us DQs could ride them in our sleep.

Jealoushe
May. 18, 2012, 03:45 PM
Who here has SEEN western dressage....clinic, show...anything?

I went to an introduction to western dressage clinic that was put on in my area, and let me assure you that what I saw was quite interesting.

Horses were not slow, lazy, and not tracking up. They were forward and quite expressive. They had a nice uphill carriage and you could see minimal effort from the rider. It was not completely like normal dressage, but not far off.

I taped the clinic...I will have to put it on youtube and share so you can take a looksie.

mp
May. 18, 2012, 03:56 PM
the reining patterns dont show it, but i'll equate that to people who train 2nd level at home and show at training level. We all do a multitude of exercises to soften and supple at home that we dont ride in a test.

Well ... that's the point. You may be using 2nd level movements to train, but reiners don't do 2nd level or even first level movements in competition. Most people riding and showing dressage have plans (realistic or not ;)) to move up the levels. There are no levels in reining. Levels of competence in execution that show up in the scores, but not of required movements.

It's not a matter of whether you cross-train or not. Or whether a western saddle is more restrictive than a dressage saddle (IMO, depends on what kind of saddle you have -- some dressage saddles have such big thigh blocks they lock you in position more than some western saddles).

It's that the two traditions don't even speak the same language, -- the concept of contact is not the same and "collection" in western parlance is not the same thing as "collection" in dressage.

And, yes, I've seen people who ride in the California vaqueros tradition. They are about .001% of western riders. When the other 99.999% of western riders/reiners/reined cowhorse folks talk about "collecting up their horses" the horses do not, in any way shape or form, resemble a dressage horse in collection. Horse may be light and responsive and moving off the seat, etc etc, and wonderful in all aspects. But the horse is not in collection as it is scored in a dressage test.

As far as flamboyance winning in dressage, I don't see that at shows. Granted, most of the rides are at 2nd level and below, but still I see the correct horses and riders winning the classes, even at PSG. I've never attended an international competition and have only seen recordings of the rides, so I can't speak to that.

To answer the OP's question, I have no plans to move to western dressage, even though I am a lowly TL/1st rider and could probably score much better than in "regular" dressage. I'm afraid I'd fall asleep doing the pattern. :sleepy:

Just kidding. Sort of.

PS -- yes, I've seen western dressage classes. If watching "regular" dressage is like watching paint dry, then western dressage is like watching the paint dry and then sl-o-o-o-o-owly peel off over time.

Gloria
May. 18, 2012, 04:00 PM
Western Dressage is getting a lot of attention in Morgan shows. There were many very nice entries last year at the Grand National/World show. I was watching because I was very curious.

As a "normal" dressage person, it's kind of sad for me to say this, but many of them are moving more correctly than many of the "English" dressage I see in regular Dressage competitions. Quite a few of them I can see were from Western Pleasure world (which is quite different from the AQHA WP by the way) and were testing the water. Those competitors were serious in this and were not fooling around. Many of them needed to have more forward, pushing powers, but most of them were happy little horses doing their jobs.

Isabeau Z Solace
May. 18, 2012, 06:25 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ycY1S-BbwI&feature=youtube_gdata_player

I just thought I would add this to the thread, hopefully the link works.... I personally ride as many 'styles' as I can get my seat into. I started out bareback and have ridden everything from western pleasure to three day eventing. I'm a huge fan of cross training and I feel it ALL has a place. Often my horse is the one dictating what we ride! Aside from all that, I am currently trying to encourage my husband to ride more- but I can't get him in tight pants and my 'girly' saddles... So I am VERY intrigued by this western dressage. I have noticed the similarities in a working 'western' horses training with sensitivity to seat and legs (even in that bulky saddle) and that of a horse in dressage training. Additionally my AQHA reining trained mare is leaving next week to be a lesson horse at a dressage barn... I can let you all know how that goes- maybe ill even take video....
'

So looking at that video again, I can't find much I think Dressage purists really ought to get worked up over.

Surprisingly, no one threw rotten tomatoes or rocks at the western rider???

The most entertaining part was when they switched horses. Fun to see cowboy try to sit big warmblood extended trot. Fun to see dressage rider really, err, um, not, quite, getting the 'loop in the reins' concept.:D

I'll start a fight:winkgrin: Who do you think rode the other's horse better...../:cool:

HorseKrazy
May. 18, 2012, 06:29 PM
^^^^^ that was my point exactly!

49'er
May. 18, 2012, 06:53 PM
The western rider was better, but since this was in Europe, he probably rode dressage before switching to western. :)

Ambitious Kate
May. 18, 2012, 07:15 PM
'

So looking at that video again, I can't find much I think Dressage purists really ought to get worked up over.

Surprisingly, no one threw rotten tomatoes or rocks at the western rider???

The most entertaining part was when they switched horses. Fun to see cowboy try to sit big warmblood extended trot. Fun to see dressage rider really, err, um, not, quite, getting the 'loop in the reins' concept.:D

I'll start a fight:winkgrin: Who do you think rode the other's horse better...../:cool:

What I thought was fun was to see the western horse rocked back and not on the forehand by the end of the ride with dressage rider. His head was up, he was balanced and engaged, and even threw a few changes in at the canter at the end because his forehand was light,and he was collected and round. With his western rider, his head was low and he was heavy on his forehand. The western rider rode a pattern, but it didn't look like dressage to me, on his own horse. He was mincing, heavy and although he could spin, he wasn't cantering a pirouette. I hope that's not an example of western dressage. It was a fun performance by the two, though.

MistyBlue
May. 18, 2012, 07:30 PM
When did 'dressage' become "so good for the horse?" :winkgrin: :lol:

Yeah, they all adore having every ear flick and eye blink analyzed, tweaked, controlled and nitpicked. And changing the way they evolved to move. ;)
Dressage shows off the training...the training is difficult because *nobody* can agree what's correct. :D

Tamara in TN
May. 18, 2012, 07:41 PM
).

And, yes, I've seen people who ride in the California vaqueros tradition. They are about .001% of western riders. When the other 99.999% of western riders/reiners/reined cowhorse folks talk about "collecting up their horses" the horses do not, in any way shape or form, resemble a dressage horse in collection. .

thank you....we could always call it "mexican saddle seat"
or is that just too... well you know "hispanic" ????:lol::lol:

Tamara

Kaluna
May. 18, 2012, 08:14 PM
When did 'dressage' become "so good for the horse?" :winkgrin: :lol:

Yeah, they all adore having every ear flick and eye blink analyzed, tweaked, controlled and nitpicked. And changing the way they evolved to move. ;)
Dressage shows off the training...the training is difficult because *nobody* can agree what's correct. :D

You don't ride dressage do you! :no: It's pretty agreed upon what is correct. Subjective? yes, not less subjective than any ring or hunter classes. Go watch classes or better yet scribe!:yes: You'll get the judging and if you don't you can ask the judge.

Kaluna
May. 18, 2012, 08:25 PM
Butlerfamilyzoo,

Do you just want to win? Or ride dressage well? Well ridden and well trained horses score well all the time no matter what the breed. Do they always win? No. A better mover but well ridden horse will beat the average mover. But the average mover ridden and trained well scores well. That's the point of showing dressage. The score not the placing. Look at all the threads on this board. :yes:

Reining horses don't do what dressage horses do and they never did. If they did Anky van Grunsven would be automatically world champion reiner from her experience as world champion dressage rider. But she's not. She's not close. Why? Dressage and reining are two different things. Dressage and western riding are two different things.

I'm with the person who said that western dressage is like QH hunter undersaddle. Painful to watch.

Dutch Lovin' Dressage Rider
May. 18, 2012, 11:13 PM
Or whether a western saddle is more restrictive than a dressage saddle (IMO, depends on what kind of saddle you have -- some dressage saddles have such big thigh blocks they lock you in position more than some western saddles).


You spoke too soon! They are now designing western saddles similarly to dressage saddles. To help the Western Dressage riders be able to ride dressage, Pam Fowler Grace partnered with Circle Y to create western saddles with strategically placed thigh blocks for proper positioning. They have also used a flex tree for freedom of movement in the horse so they can perform precise dressage maneuvers.

http://www.shopatron.com/products/productdetail/The+Dance+Western+Dressage/part_number=1850/468.0.1.1.22293.109578.0.0.0?pp=12&


"Pam Grace, professional dressage exhibitor, horse trainer, clinician, and “L” dressage judge, has collaborated with Circle Y to create The Dance - a saddle specifically designed for western dressage. The strategically placed thigh blocks, seat design, and stirrup leather position allow the rider to maintain perfect dressage position and alignment. A Flex2® tree allows freedom of movement for the horse, an important factor in performing precise dressage maneuvers. The saddle is lightweight, with several performance and comfort features for both horse and rider. “This saddle is cutting edge-a fabulous one of a kind design which is unparalleled. It takes balance, freedom of movement and comfort to new heights. You cannot sit incorrectly in this saddle,” said Pam Grace.




So to those who said the saddle type doesn't matter for Western Dressage, apparently it does, because they saw the need for them to be more dressage-like.


It also weighs only 24 lbs (most other saddles on this site range from 23 to 43 lbs).





.

NOMIOMI1
May. 18, 2012, 11:19 PM
It speaks volumes to me that many who defend WDressage say negative things about actual Dressage.

Kaluna
May. 18, 2012, 11:21 PM
You spoke too soon! They are now designing western saddles similarly to dressage saddles. To help the Western Dressage riders be able to ride dressage, Pam Fowler Grace partnered with Circle Y to create western saddles with strategically placed thigh blocks for proper positioning. They have also used a flex tree for freedom of movement in the horse so they can perform precise dressage maneuvers.

http://www.shopatron.com/products/productdetail/The+Dance+Western+Dressage/part_number=1850/468.0.1.1.22293.109578.0.0.0?pp=12&

"Pam Grace, professional dressage exhibitor, horse trainer, clinician, and “L” dressage judge, has collaborated with Circle Y to create The Dance - a saddle specifically designed for western dressage. The strategically placed thigh blocks, seat design, and stirrup leather position allow the rider to maintain perfect dressage position and alignment. A Flex2® tree allows freedom of movement for the horse, an important factor in performing precise dressage maneuvers. The saddle is lightweight, with several performance and comfort features for both horse and rider. “This saddle is cutting edge-a fabulous one of a kind design which is unparalleled. It takes balance, freedom of movement and comfort to new heights. You cannot sit incorrectly in this saddle,” said Pam Grace.

So to those who said the saddle type doesn't matter for Western Dressage, apparently it does, because they saw the need for them to be more dressage-like.
It also weighs only 24 lbs (most other saddles on this site range from 23 to 43 lbs).
.

This was mentioned on page 1 of this thread. You didn't see it? The ads feature Pam riding with this saddle on her European trained GP horse, that she went on to ride GP in the US. This horse wasn't trained in a western saddle EVER yet is featured in this saddle. It's a nice marketing tool for Pam and her retired horse and speaks to her TX roots. Pah-lease.

Dutch Lovin' Dressage Rider
May. 18, 2012, 11:42 PM
This was mentioned on page 1 of this thread. You didn't see it? The ads feature Pam riding with this saddle on her European trained GP horse, that she went on to ride GP in the US. This horse wasn't trained in a western saddle EVER yet is featured in this saddle. It's a nice marketing tool for Pam and her retired horse and speaks to her TX roots. Pah-lease.


Yeah I saw that but no actual details were given. I just happened to be reading my May Dressage Today this afternoon, and saw the advertisement, so I checked out the website.

I have always said that I love love LOVE my western saddle because it puts me in a totally straight position, just like my dressage saddles do. And it doesn't even have thigh blocks to achieve my natural dressage seat. If you took the horse out from under me while riding in one of my dressage saddles or my western saddle, I'd land completely standing tall and flat on my feet.

Kaluna
May. 19, 2012, 12:40 AM
Yeah I saw that but no actual details were given. I just happened to be reading my May Dressage Today this afternoon, and saw the advertisement, so I checked out the website.

I have always said that I love love LOVE my western saddle because it puts me in a totally straight position, just like my dressage saddles do. And it doesn't even have thigh blocks to achieve my natural dressage seat. If you took the horse out from under me while riding in one of my dressage saddles or my western saddle, I'd land completely standing tall and flat on my feet.

Cool! I don't doubt you!

I can tell you that Star in Stripes wasn't ridden in a western saddle until this sponsorship came along. I never trust quotes from riders getting sponsorship money. That's me.

Dutch Lovin' Dressage Rider
May. 19, 2012, 12:52 AM
I can tell you that Star in Stripes wasn't ridden in a western saddle until this sponsorship came along. I never trust quotes from riders getting sponsorship money. That's me.


Interesting. Trying to figure out why they think need thigh blocks for Intro and TL anyway when western saddles put the rider in an aligned position anyway (unless you hike up the stirrups).

SillyHorse
May. 19, 2012, 07:38 AM
You don't ride dressage do you! :no: It's pretty agreed upon what is correct. Subjective? yes, not less subjective than any ring or hunter classes. Go watch classes or better yet scribe!:yes: You'll get the judging and if you don't you can ask the judge.


It speaks volumes to me that many who defend WDressage say negative things about actual Dressage.
Quoted for truth.

Aven
May. 19, 2012, 09:06 AM
FWIW, I disagree about the trees. THey are very different.

Reining tests of course require a full compliment of aids from the rider, and invisible aids. But dressage tests require VERY refined use of seat aids. Reining does large pattern and requires alot of room. Reining horses don't change what their doing every few strides. Dressage tests might have 2-4 movements along one 60 m line of travel, and frequently call for changes within the gaits. All dressage riders know that the seat is critical to dressage riding, hence the saddles are *designed* for this. Western saddles are not. Sorry.

Dressage doesn't require flamboyant movement, it requires a correctly trained horse (i.e. one that is developing the topline). Anyone can score well on any kind of horse if they train/ride the horse correctly. To say that "Western Dressage" is for dressage -leaning riders who can't compete in the dressage ring suggests to me that they aren't really riding dressage in the first place.

Similarly, I can place a dressage saddle on a cutting horse or barrel horse. Is this really the best saddle for the sport? No. I would be riding barrels in a dressage saddle, not doing "Barrel Dressage".

Dressage 20 years ago still had different aids than western riding, even when people competed in forward-seat saddles. The training is very different.

I don't think anyone here is saying to the OP "don't ride in a western saddle" or "if you can't ride in a dressage saddle, don't bring your mare back into work". The problem is with the concept of "Western Dressage" as a discipline. To me, it's like watching the "hunter under saddle" classes at the quarter horse shows. These horses are ridden like western pleasure but in English tack. it's not the same as "hunter under saddle" in the english world.

I really really like this post. Thank you! You summed up my thoughts nicely.

I would have no issues with WD if it was simply Dressage for western type horses in W saddles. But its not.. any more than HUS is the same. I remember an articles ages ago in some big horse mag. There was a discussion about A circuit HUS and the world champion breed HUS types. There were people pinning on the A with their AQHA horses but when they tried the breed ring always got the gate. And vice versa. And that isn't with huge rule differences.

Though I want to do Dressage barrels that sound knid of fun! Can we have barrel tests? Ie collect canter around the first, extend trot to the next.... Best score minus time wins?

butlerfamilyzoo
May. 19, 2012, 09:20 AM
FYI- As a younger working student i was a confirmed 3rd level rider, schooling higher on schoolmasters every chance i got. Oh to have that life back. A kid later, screw it... lol :lol:

Therefore, i'm not out to win anything personally, no ribbons, no scores. However, if everyone were just out to see what they score to show how far they've come or what they need to work on, why offer ribbons and year end awards? Obviously there are many out there that like to hang ribbons on their wall. I sure see a lot of pictures of people proudly displaying their ribbons and awards on FB... Is that a bad thing? It is a good feeling to win is it not? I mean, if i'm gonna spend $500 to show my horse, at least i got a $2 ribbon to show for it. :lol: I am one that has framed tests and hung those on my walls though too, good and bad... ;)

I like to scribe and watch and listen, i still love the sport, i just dont have the desire to work that hard anymore, and no, that doesnt mean i'm running over to western dressage, frankly, i'll likely never show there either. I MUCH prefer driving now days, so i'm commenting more from an open minded and hopeful view point that WD will improve life for a lot of western pleasure horses that might otherwise get the crank and spank method. It will never be DRESSAGE as we know it, so i'm not sure why people are getting so worked up about it either.

However, i will stick to my guns that if you start really watching that 2-3rd level rides and above, it gets different, maybe more political (nothing is worse as a scribe to see a big wig place over someone else for a ride that wasnt as stellar simply because the judge knows them or some other such nonsense, and yes, i do hear what judges mutter under their breath that they shouldnt), but really i just see the bigger, flashier moving horses scoring higher than a ride that i thought was equally if not better on a lovely but not so exuberant mover. I know i'm not alone because i read the other threads here, i know several competitors showing at those levels, . Think this was mentioned in a why arent dressage shows fun or something similar to that recently. Since this "trend" if you will, there is a steady flood of more exuberant movers hitting the ring, even in the lower levels. And maybe this is just because these horses are now ready to hit the ring, breeders have been breeding more sport specific and now they are of an age to be showing so we are seeing them more and more. And like i said before, i love a wild moving freak of nature, so i'm not knocking it. I only knock the politics/preference of big moving over better ridden. I'm no authority on the subject, i only know what i've seen in my little bubble of the world and get to watch online of bigger competitions.

What i have seen of the Western Dressage, i've been happy with. It's not reining, i didnt say it was, i only compared that signals/aids of training dressage and western horses once upon a time were the same if not very similar, as well as the steps to get them to the top in their sport. Money, bad trainers, everyone wanting a ribbon = corruption of the good. Even in dressage, hunters, etc... Good training gets thrown out the window often for the quicker result demanded by the high paying client. I love watching morgan and arab western pleasure, the trend has not changed in those breeds, just the clothes and amount of silver on their tack. Stock horse western pleasure, i dont know what the heck happened there and why they thought they needed to kill the old style ranch horse to create the crippled looking things they have... I think it's for those horses i hope Western Dressage really makes a difference. I doubt it will. It's just a personal hope.

I really did not mean to attack anyone's personal beliefs here. But i do hope to see good things from WD, no, it will never be DRESSAGE. Stupid that they are creating a new saddle for it. I so hope one day to see the really lovely western horses that once used to exist out there showing in something and doing well. I think that's the whole point for me.

Elatu
May. 20, 2012, 03:03 PM
There seems to be confusion out there and on several forums about what Western Dressage is and should be. Jeff Wilson, from Black Willow Morgans and heads the State of New York WD states this,..
"Western Dressage is not meant to be that world, (English Dressage) we established that at the Convention. Ours is a western world, and western horsemanship using dressage principles. That means not stadium riding, but “able to navigate circumstances encountered in the real (our) world, maybe a trail ride at whatever level you are at, so YOU become successful with YOUR horse, period."

If I have a person come up with a barrel racer, we use dressage to make that horse get around the barrels better! I've done it for years. I'm not going to shove a training scale down a person's throat and call it Western Dressage! There is so much more to it than that. How about Relaxation and Balance which is heavily emphasized from the French school? Communication is key. Understanding the why's and how's are key. Help them with dressage concepts yes, but not trying to make a Grand Prix horse out of a pleasure/trail horse. Jeff Wilson is absolutely correct. This is what we do. I don't care what tack a person comes up to me and rides with. It's how to make that person and horse better in what they do. Dressage IS the French word for training.

quietann
May. 20, 2012, 05:27 PM
Western Dressage is getting a lot of attention in Morgan shows. There were many very nice entries last year at the Grand National/World show. I was watching because I was very curious.

As a "normal" dressage person, it's kind of sad for me to say this, but many of them are moving more correctly than many of the "English" dressage I see in regular Dressage competitions. Quite a few of them I can see were from Western Pleasure world (which is quite different from the AQHA WP by the way) and were testing the water. Those competitors were serious in this and were not fooling around. Many of them needed to have more forward, pushing powers, but most of them were happy little horses doing their jobs.

Gloria, I also watched and some of those horses really looked nice, and everyone there was there to the best they could. I believe that a lot of the impulse for Western Dressage comes from the Morgan world, and with good reason... Morgans are too forward to be good Western Pleasure horses by today's standards, not to mention that rail classes are boring after a while, and most Morgans like variety. So... Western dressage, as I recall, was a little slower than regular dressage, but horses mostly moved nicely off the leg, with correct bend, etc. Keeping in mind that these were the equivalent of Training Level regular dressage competitors, they were no "worse" than the TL Morgan dressage competitors...

Aven
May. 20, 2012, 05:29 PM
There seems to be confusion out there and on several forums about what Western Dressage is and should be. Jeff Wilson, from Black Willow Morgans and heads the State of New York WD states this,..
"Western Dressage is not meant to be that world, (English Dressage) we established that at the Convention. Ours is a western world, and western horsemanship using dressage principles. That means not stadium riding, but “able to navigate circumstances encountered in the real (our) world, maybe a trail ride at whatever level you are at, so YOU become successful with YOUR horse, period."



I think there is much confusion.. 'real' dressage does the exact same thing. And competing in WD is every bit as much a stadium sport as regular dressage competitions. But that doesn't mean I don't use some of my and my horse's dressage training when out hacking or even when out hunting.. Seems like reverse snobbery to me. And how can you make a 'new' version of dressage when you seem to have little grasp of what regular dressage is?

ccoronios
May. 22, 2012, 04:03 PM
"Dressage is also about contact in the mouth. Curb bits don't allow for good contact."

Well, actually ...... The Spanish-influenced western, which you saw heavily on the west coast several decades ago, was absolutely about LIGHT contact with a curb. Horses were trained in bosal and graduated slowly through carrying the bit while being 'ridden' on bosal to being ridden on the bit. These were the Mona Lisa/Segunda/spade mouthpieces, which contrary to popular horror stories, were NOT used for gouging a horse's mouth out. The extremely talented, light-handed riders/trainers had barely to sit into the saddle, tighten leg muscles, and close fingers for a sliding stop. A horse well-trained in this method is the lightest, most responsive ride imaginable.

Now, the western breeds no longer show in this tack. Many of the 'crossover' breeds (NOT implying disrespect - just not sure what else to call them [Arabians, Morgans, ASBs]) use the tack, seek the 'frame' of collection, but I'm not sure about the lightness.

Carol

MuskokaLakesConnemaras
May. 23, 2012, 04:20 PM
I haven't read all the replies, but for the record.... my dressage started Connemara pony came 3rd in a Trail class of 21 in his first attempt. I rode him in my dressage saddle and formal attire :D Lateral schooling goes the other way too ;) Shocked the heck out of all the QH divas there LOL!!

katarine
May. 23, 2012, 06:21 PM
Just do what makes you happy and your horse happy.

I do gaited dressage on a TWH. We have a blast. I've had plenty of peeps tell me well it's not Dressage because he doesn't trot. Ok, I'm fine with that. And we've gone to many schooling shows (can't exactly go to a recognized, that darn trot thing again), and many times, we have ended up with the high point ribbon for the day. I know, it's just a schooling show. I get it. But unpurse your sphincter(s) and think: the judge saw the test ridden, the submission, the harmony, the effectiveness, the maneuvers ridden in walk/flat walk/and running walk and canter and said hey, that's the best I've seen today. Some Ls, some small r's, some large Rs...and I always hear "that look like so much fun!"

And they are correct.

No one rewrote the Dressage rules for western or for gaited. They wrote rules for them both. In addition to the 'real' rule book.

Breathe, everybody - it's going to be ok.