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JumpQH
Oct. 6, 2012, 05:58 PM
OK, where to begin? I'm very interested in Western Dressage, but it seems to be non-existent in AZ! I'm very confused as to which is the "governing" association. There seems to be quite a few, and each have different rules from each other! Based on another thread, I went to what seemed to be the largest, most recommended association (can't recall which one right now, of course), and found that there was no AZ affiliate! I also googled Western Dressage AZ to find someone to get lessons from, and found no one! Help????

Ozzerati
Oct. 7, 2012, 09:56 AM
Western Dressage Assn. of America was considered the original, I think. That group seems to have split into 2 factions: a group that wants to be judged according to USEF/USDF standards (under the WDAA umbrella), and the "cowboy dressage" group that wants to create its own standards/tests and has reinvented the arena/letters. There is also a North American Western Dressage organization.

In my area (Texas), western dressage tests--most following WDAA--are offered at lots of the schooling shows. I haven't found much offered by the national or state affiliates, but the grassroots clubs have been receptive of it. Contact your local organizations and ask if they'll offer it. It's a blast!

jumpytoo
Oct. 7, 2012, 10:13 AM
Talk to the people who put on the local dressage shows. Ask them to offer the classes. Usually they are open to the idea since it can bring more entries. The guidelines for judging and also the patterns are available on the internet (pm me if you can't find them). In areas where there isn't a circuit type thing for WD, joining in with the dressage shows makes sense.
If you read the judging guidelines and look at the score sheet you can see what areas you should give extra attention . I am going to attend a clinic to become better informed. I would also suggest you "like" a couple of the WDA's on FB.. even if they are not in you area. They are good for information sharing,videos and lots of people trying out this new discipline.
I haven't done WD (yet) but have a few Moms that pleasure ride western who are already wanting to give it a shot at a schooling show next month. I'll probably toss a western saddle on one of my H/J's and do the show for fun as well.. and to add to the party atmosphere.

Watch out DQ's, the Bling is in the Ring !

JumpQH
Oct. 7, 2012, 11:44 AM
Thanks for the help!

CA ASB
Oct. 8, 2012, 07:49 PM
Hi;

I do WD in So. Cal. So far, not much going on here, but seems to be more than you have. I would be more than happy to talk w/you in two weeks as I believe I will be at the Ariz. Futurity (ASB) horse show in Scottsdale then. PM me if you want to talk.

As someone at the ASHA decided that I'd make a good idiot, I'm our designated breed "ambassador" for WD, so have had to learn about the various organizations.

Currently? There are at least 5. Two are recognized as affiliates of USEF, but there is no "governing body" as of yet. WDAA is one of them, as is North American Western Dressage (NAWD). WDAA uses the tests that are in the USEF rule book (in the Morgan section). NAWD has their own. Midwestern Dressage was on their own, now they are affiliated with NAWD. Northwest Western Dressage seems to be doing the same - but - they are using the USEF tests, not the NAWD tests (grabbing head and banging now). There is something called "Southwest" WD, but I'm thinking that the NAWD folks grabbed the name and created a website ...

Then, there is Cowboy Dressage. This is the pros group. (Kind of like there is natural horsemanship as a discipline, but then there are all the different "branded" trainers that you can get levels at, etc.). Cowboy Dressage is a tm of Eitan and Debbie Beth-Halachmy (sp).

And - they too have their own set of tests AND their own court (different sized).

To compound it further? You can go to a USDF show - and if they offer WD, they may well ask you to do the USDF tests (ask me how I know ...). :eek:

In any case, I'll be at Friesian Nationals this week competing on my Saddlebred (lol) in the OTAB WD class(es).

JumpQH
Oct. 13, 2012, 01:59 PM
UPDATE: I have talked to several dressage trainers (I have yet to find anyone who does dressage in a Western saddle) and am going to start taking lessons. The trainer I chose stated that dressage is dressage in any tack - I liked that! I was trying to decide between Ranch Horse Pleasure, which I could show in the frequent AQHA shows out here, or Western Dressage, which is non-existent, and discovered that when it came down to it, I REALLY wanted the Western Dressage. I'm excited to start lessons! I'm also hoping that by the time I'd be ready to show, WD will have hit the West Coast and be available at shows!

Wellspotted
Oct. 13, 2012, 02:16 PM
"Dressage is dressage in any tack"--sounds to me like a true dressage trainer! Good for her/him and for you!

You may already have found it, but here is a link to the Western Dressage Association of America's web site:


http://westerndressageassociation.org/

They don't list an Arizona affiliate yet, but you could e-mail them and ask if there is one pending. A few years ago, where I live, there was no western dressage; now we have people showing in our local dressage association shows (only two shows a year, but they have added gaited too). I think they use the AMHA dressage tests, which may be the ones the USEF uses too.

http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/breedsdisciplines/breeds/morgan/WesternDressageTests.aspx

Good luck!

ezduzit
Oct. 14, 2012, 08:53 AM
I love dressage. I love western pleasure. I love Morgans.

So, I was intrigued that our Morgan Grand Nationals offered western dressage. And luckily with live feed.

I'm just not seeing it as a viable sport. Something fun to do with your horse? Sure! Why not! But I didn't see anything more than a pattern class. And more importantly, for me, I didn't see the potential to BECOME anything more than a pattern class.

I'll ride a class or two if it comes to our local show...I can see the benefit of having a horse responsive to the aids...push button. But I just can't see how it can be used to develop the athlete in the same way that traditional dressage does.

Bluey
Oct. 14, 2012, 10:16 AM
I love dressage. I love western pleasure. I love Morgans.

So, I was intrigued that our Morgan Grand Nationals offered western dressage. And luckily with live feed.

I'm just not seeing it as a viable sport. Something fun to do with your horse? Sure! Why not! But I didn't see anything more than a pattern class. And more importantly, for me, I didn't see the potential to BECOME anything more than a pattern class.

I'll ride a class or two if it comes to our local show...I can see the benefit of having a horse responsive to the aids...push button. But I just can't see how it can be used to develop the athlete in the same way that traditional dressage does.

I agree, it is no fish or fowl.

I wish the ones that are promoting that would make it it's own thing, with good riding from both, dressage and western disciplines, not a half backed mixture no one quite knows what to do with.

Using a curb with two hands, as I have seen in some western dressage shows?
That doesn't make sense, curbs in western riding are to be used on finished horses ridden with one hand.
Seems not right to do something wrong, using a western curb two handed, to look like you are doing something else, riding dressage two handed.:confused:

Since this is just starting, maybe they will fine tune what they want after some more time, we will have to see where this goes.:yes:

It is sure, as it is today, one more easy class to show in and if nothing else, use it to give a horse show experience for other later.
"Easy" meaning any well trained, well ridden horse can do well in it today, as it seems to be scored.:)

longride1
Oct. 15, 2012, 01:00 PM
The tests used for Western Dressage are almost exactly like the tests used for regular dressage and are judged the same way, so how can they be pattern classes and the same thing in regular dressage be different? Basic and Primary are the Intro and Training level of Western Dressage.

So let's look instead at who is in the ring at the Morgan Nationals - older Morgan Western Pleasure horses. The discipline is too young (2 years old) to have more than a few horses actually started and progressing with the goal of being examples of Western Dressage. The trainers who trained many of those horses felt that they were using dressage principles. They get scores in the upper 60s and 70s. I'm told that at the same levels in regular dressage it's not uncommon to see scores in the 80s at a competitions as prestigious to dressage as the Morgan National is to Morgans.

Soon the next two levels of tests will be available, and a progression will have to be shown. The rules have already been tweaked a lot, and will continue to be. So will the tests. USEF dressage tests change every 4 years, and sometimes the changes have not been good. Things that proved not to support good training or got misused were dropped and the movements rearranged. Testing dressage, no matter english or western, will continue to be an evolving thing.

HappyTalk
Oct. 15, 2012, 01:48 PM
I offered a western primary and a basic test at my organization's dressage schooling show 2 weeks ago. We had 5 western competitors come to compete. There two really nice rides (one showed in a curb with 2 hands, gasp!!!). The other rides were OK, nothing to OMG about and were certainly better than some of the TL rides we had that day. All of the western competitors thanked me for offering it. All were enthused about it and wanted to compete in other western dressage events.

We had one competitor who could not get away from the four beat canter and lame looking jog trot in her first class. She obviously read the judge's comments and corrected for her second test. Her horse turned out to be a nice mover when he was allowed to go more forward. I think it is a good thing.

Wellspotted
Oct. 16, 2012, 12:41 AM
I think it can be a positive influence when it's used to improve gaits as HappyTalk talked about--the four-beat lope and lame-looking jog trot.

But I did not approve of one thing I read in the early days of western dressage (just a few years ago)--that it is designed to improve the way of going of western horses, across the board.

I think it would be a pity to change the good, natural-looking, free way of moving of a good western horse to the over-bent, foaming-at-the-mouth, laborious-looking movement of some dressage horses.

And the posts in this thread about two-handed use of the curb have really given me something to think about! :yes:

HappyTalk
Oct. 16, 2012, 06:40 AM
For goodness sakes, it is a four/ five minute test. Light curb contact for 4 minutes is not going to hurt anything. People think the western riders are uneducated. Not true.

ezduzit
Oct. 16, 2012, 08:02 AM
My issue with using two hands on the curb is that western horses neck rein (or seat rein as I like to say ). The curb bit is not meant to be used as a direct rein bit the way a snaffle is used.

I will be interested in seeing how new or more progressives tests address movements like more jog yet without rising.

I can see how that can be done. After all, most dressage is done with sitting trot. What I don't see happening is the western horse staying western if it's doing what the 'english' dressage horse is doing. Then it's just a matter of tack.

Again, I don't see any harm to the horse or rider by having another class to ride in or more precise training for flexibility and response to the aids. But I don't see it as 'real' dressage either.

ezduzit
Oct. 16, 2012, 08:03 AM
In Morgan classes, light contact is required. Very loose reins (stock horse style) are penalized.




For goodness sakes, it is a four/ five minute test. Light curb contact for 4 minutes is not going to hurt anything. People think the western riders are uneducated. Not true.

aktill
Oct. 16, 2012, 10:38 AM
People who ride curbs consistently two-handed or on contact ARE uneducated, independently of what tack they ride in.

The reason it's not appropriate to ride two handed in a curb is not "convention" or "tradition", it's because it's not possible to teach a horse to flex laterally in a leverage bit alone. That's a major point of the snaffle/hackamore/two-rein/bridle progression - establish lateral response to the rein in lateral tools (snaffle/hackamore) before moving into a longitudinal-only tool (a bridle bit). You move to the bridle when the horse accepts the bend from single-handed cues, not just when he doesn't freak out when a curb is hung off him like most people seem to.

Of course, nowadays people throw curbs on 3 yr old "cuz its western" and MAKE them do things that used to require a progression. Why? Because people are in a rush and not nearly as picky as they used to be.

Not all western riders are uneducated, but plenty are. Of course, the same goes for english riders too.

SonnyandLacy
Oct. 16, 2012, 12:31 PM
UPDATE: I have talked to several dressage trainers (I have yet to find anyone who does dressage in a Western saddle) and am going to start taking lessons. The trainer I chose stated that dressage is dressage in any tack - I liked that! I was trying to decide between Ranch Horse Pleasure, which I could show in the frequent AQHA shows out here, or Western Dressage, which is non-existent, and discovered that when it came down to it, I REALLY wanted the Western Dressage. I'm excited to start lessons! I'm also hoping that by the time I'd be ready to show, WD will have hit the West Coast and be available at shows!

This whole topic of western dressage is interesting. My trainer laughed at me when I started talking about this new fad of "western dressage." Because she has always trained her horses, whither western or english, to do lateral movements (correctly) and be able to be fluid, collect extend etc. She just said to me, all my horses should need is a change of tack to compete in dressage. Of course I'm not talking about PSG, but more akin to training, intro or 1st level.

Its a little strange to me that someone has to go out and find a western dressage instructor.

JumpQH
Oct. 16, 2012, 10:00 PM
Its a little strange to me that someone has to go out and find a western dressage instructor.

Do you think it's strange that English riders find dressage instructors, too, then?

HappyTalk
Oct. 17, 2012, 02:04 PM
The reason it's not appropriate to ride two handed in a curb is not "convention" or "tradition", it's because it's not possible to teach a horse to flex laterally in a leverage bit alone.


No one is talking about teaching lateral flexion on a curb. Most western trainers start with a snaffle and work to the horse wearing a curb. There are plenty of curb type bits with rotating mouthpieces (the Myler type bits) that allow one side of the mouth to be affected.

ezduzit
Oct. 18, 2012, 06:40 AM
Last summer I bought Harry a nice hunt bridle, plain cavasseon and a Myler level 2 bit.

I wanted to school him with direct rein for suppling. That idea turned out to be a big bust...he is so used to the weight of the western bit and weighted reins that he couldn't 'find' the bit on the lighter set up. He was lost, confused and I ended up on the ground.

So, any schooling I do with suppling/flexibility will have to be with his low-port curb. I don't know if he's peculiar in his dependency on the weighted set up or not. Or if he could get used to a 'no weight' set up over time.

I can work him in long lines for suppling. But his western dressage (planning to ride some next season) will have to be done completely in the curb.

aktill
Oct. 18, 2012, 09:59 AM
No one is talking about teaching lateral flexion on a curb. Most western trainers start with a snaffle and work to the horse wearing a curb. There are plenty of curb type bits with rotating mouthpieces (the Myler type bits) that allow one side of the mouth to be affected.

If you use two hands on a curb, we're talking about imparting differential pressure on those reins (unless both hands are working exactly together, and then why two hands?). Ergo, lateral flexion.

Pulling on a leverage type bit differentially will act tend to lift the mouthpiece on one side rather then the other as a result of the leverage (just try it), and encourage counterflexion at the poll. The horse may eventually learn to ignore that action, but it's counterproductive and counter-intuitive.

Curbs are not two-handed bits. People use them that way, sure, but people do lots of other odd things too (like ride curb bits on contact). Lots of good horseman talk about how people usually move from one bit to another after they flunk out of one bit, and I've seen it myself plenty of times.

Whatever floats your boat though.

JumpQH
Oct. 21, 2012, 06:48 PM
I took my first dressage lesson this weekend! It was much harder than expected, mainly because I have a lazy QH who doesn't want to use himself! Anyway, my eyes have been opened, and I'm still very excited about this! Now, if only I can convince someone to start Western Dressage classes at shows in AZ..........

SanJacMonument
Oct. 23, 2012, 10:27 AM
WD is slowly taking off in Texas and some parts of Texas have more classes and clinics than others; it's really a sport that is in its infancy stage. Best to take classical dressage lessons and just wait for it to evolve and grow.

The rules on things like bits, use of flashes, & allowing a rider an ear piece with the trainer coaching during a test, use of microphones by callers, etc. have changed even in the last few months. Quite frustrating but it will have to play out.

Its not worth too much time & effort till the basic competition rules become more firm - IMO.

CA ASB
Oct. 23, 2012, 01:46 PM
Let me offer some perspective on that two hands on the curb issue.

When WDAA started, and the tests were first out, it was either snaffle (two hands allowed), or move to the curb, with one hand and you got bonus points.

The curb is normally introduced in a regular dressage horse at a higher level. The compromise was made in WD as so many horses that were already wearing a curb came over, so they had to allow the curb at the lower levels. But then, people complained that some of us were getting extra points for going one handed - so they took it away.

And then? Because judges asked, they made the decision to allow two hands on the reins because *that was what they were used to seeing.* While dressage principles are the same, a jog is not a trot. An extended jog is not an extended trot. Even in WD, I have had judges ask us to POST the jog and mark me down if I didn't.

Back to the reins issue - so, they took away the extra points for riding one handed (boo) and allowed two hands on a curb. While a leverage bit, with only light contact, there is still a small amount of direct reining that occurs. And? The dang tests currently do not reward neck reining. At all.

So, some of us, who have lovely Western horses, who go in the curb with one hand beautifully - yes, you will see us with two hands on the reins because it is what we get on our comment sheets as to what the judges want to see. Do I like it? :no:

Do we score in the 60's and 70's? :yes:

aktill
Oct. 23, 2012, 04:53 PM
It's a little hard for those of us on the outside to have too much regard for a discipline that requires incorrect riding and willful disregard for tradition given the mission statement of most of the organizations preaches the exact opposite (though it's very like modern dressage if that's the case).

Or in other words, why on earth would you ride badly just for points? Why risk creating bad habits which will ruin your riding outside the ring?

hank
Oct. 23, 2012, 05:18 PM
I took my first dressage lesson this weekend! It was much harder than expected, mainly because I have a lazy QH who doesn't want to use himself! Anyway, my eyes have been opened, and I'm still very excited about this! Now, if only I can convince someone to start Western Dressage classes at shows in AZ..........

If I am not mistaken, there is at least one schooling show in the Tucson area that has Western Dressage Classes. If you are not near Tucson, why not call the contacts to your local shows and ask if you can ride intro in western attire and tack? Worst they can tell you is "no", and it might get you some showing and feedback.

Sure wish there had been something like this when I was a kid. My mother had some aversion to English riding, WD would have solved half our fights!:sadsmile:

Bluey
Oct. 23, 2012, 05:20 PM
Let me offer some perspective on that two hands on the curb issue.

When WDAA started, and the tests were first out, it was either snaffle (two hands allowed), or move to the curb, with one hand and you got bonus points.

The curb is normally introduced in a regular dressage horse at a higher level. The compromise was made in WD as so many horses that were already wearing a curb came over, so they had to allow the curb at the lower levels. But then, people complained that some of us were getting extra points for going one handed - so they took it away.

And then? Because judges asked, they made the decision to allow two hands on the reins because *that was what they were used to seeing.* While dressage principles are the same, a jog is not a trot. An extended jog is not an extended trot. Even in WD, I have had judges ask us to POST the jog and mark me down if I didn't.

Back to the reins issue - so, they took away the extra points for riding one handed (boo) and allowed two hands on a curb. While a leverage bit, with only light contact, there is still a small amount of direct reining that occurs. And? The dang tests currently do not reward neck reining. At all.

So, some of us, who have lovely Western horses, who go in the curb with one hand beautifully - yes, you will see us with two hands on the reins because it is what we get on our comment sheets as to what the judges want to see. Do I like it? :no:

Do we score in the 60's and 70's? :yes:

That just shows you that some don't know what they are requesting when they want to make an English discipline look acceptable to western riders.

When you are at a point to "introduce a curb bit" in dressage, you don't just do that, you ADD a curb to a snaffle.
You then learn to ride with TWO reins, not one handed.

Doesn't really seem that the ones wanting to get western dressage to progress have all their eggs in their technical basket quite yet, requiring riding with two hands on western bits just because dressage at one point start adding a curb.:confused:

CA ASB
Oct. 23, 2012, 05:57 PM
Point is - it is a different discipline. Not just English dressage with Western tack.

That is what the promoters want. It is currently a bit hamstringed by the fact that the judging pool that is available judges a *similar,* yet different discipline and the most common reaction that they have when first asked to judge it is, "WTF?" They then do so, and usually react with pleasant surprise as to how nicely and quietly many of us ride.

It is not the folks advancing WD that are asking for the two hands. It was driven by the judging pool (as I'm told, and as supported anecdotally by my score sheets when I was riding single handed).

I believe the new, higher level tests require a single hand on the reins with a curb.

Bluey
Oct. 23, 2012, 06:20 PM
Point is - it is a different discipline. Not just English dressage with Western tack.

That is what the promoters want. It is currently a bit hamstringed by the fact that the judging pool that is available judges a *similar,* yet different discipline and the most common reaction that they have when first asked to judge it is, "WTF?" They then do so, and usually react with pleasant surprise as to how nicely and quietly many of us ride.

It is not the folks advancing WD that are asking for the two hands. It was driven by the judging pool (as I'm told, and as supported anecdotally by my score sheets when I was riding single handed).

I believe the new, higher level tests require a single hand on the reins with a curb.

A different discipline won't make the mechanics of bits change.

I know that western dressage is new and trying to find it's way.
That is good, but don't forget to listen to what already works and why.

I would say that any training, western or English or whatever we want to call it can be accomplished very well with direct rein on a snaffle, so do use that for the lower levels, as it is in standard western and dressage riding.

When a curb is introduced, if western, do require what that western curb demands, minimal to no direct contact and one hand.

If western dressage wants to ask for real contact with a curb, then demand the double bridle of standard dressage for those levels.

What any well trained horse at the higher levels is asked for in many disciplines is self carriage.

While not exactly classical, riding in such self carriage that you don't need even a bridle, the other aids suffice, in the higher levels of dressage has always been found in the circus, or in some western events, like in reining and cutting, or in the more rare doma vaquera.
Meaning, training so a horse can perform whatever is asked of in the most efficient way for it's structure and carrying a rider, that is what dressage is, can be adapted to most any kind of basic training, under any name.

The differences will be the ultimate goal of dressage as a discipline is not the same of most western disciplines.
In a way, I think that western dressage as a name is misleading those pushing for it by wanting then to base it on dressage as a discipline, not have formed it's own training scale for a western horse.

Then, no one said western dressage had to be about what makes sense.;)
It seems to be one more way to use our horses, to get others to participate, so what, as with other goofy stuff we do with our horses, why not?:p

CA ASB
Oct. 23, 2012, 07:28 PM
The issue currently for many of our horses is that some have been working at the higher (curb) level, and the tests are at lower levels - snaffles are only used with 3-4 year olds in the Western world (hmm, maybe some 5 year olds), and some of us at breed shows can only show the first year in a snaffle.

Personally, we either work in a bosal/hackamore, or the curb. My mare doesn't seem to like any sort of snaffle, never has.

And the reason they are calling it western dressage is that it is supposed to be it's own training scale. It is NOT dressage (as in the judged discipline). If anything, it is closer to classical dressage or what the bridle horses were.

I would love it if the progression eventually had it so you could show in a bosal.

As for us, (and many of us starting in this), we haven't been working in a snaffle for, hmm, over 10 years now. We were asked by a clinician to use a snaffle in a clinic. My mare fussed and fussed over the bit. Was tense and exhibited zero softness. Changed her to a curb - soft, no fussing. Changed again to no bit, same result. Getting that beautiful self carriage.

I agree that when the curb is used in Western it should be one handed. But that is not what the *pool of available judges* stated, so, for the moment, two hands are allowed, and one hand is not rewarded (at least give us that!)

And, really, Bluey, why are you trying to pick a fight here? I'm just trying to explain why things are the way they ARE. I flipping agree that if there's a curb it should be one-handed. BUT IT ISN'T.

Bluey
Oct. 23, 2012, 08:13 PM
The issue currently for many of our horses is that some have been working at the higher (curb) level, and the tests are at lower levels - snaffles are only used with 3-4 year olds in the Western world (hmm, maybe some 5 year olds), and some of us at breed shows can only show the first year in a snaffle.

Personally, we either work in a bosal/hackamore, or the curb. My mare doesn't seem to like any sort of snaffle, never has.

And the reason they are calling it western dressage is that it is supposed to be it's own training scale. It is NOT dressage (as in the judged discipline). If anything, it is closer to classical dressage or what the bridle horses were.

I would love it if the progression eventually had it so you could show in a bosal.

As for us, (and many of us starting in this), we haven't been working in a snaffle for, hmm, over 10 years now. We were asked by a clinician to use a snaffle in a clinic. My mare fussed and fussed over the bit. Was tense and exhibited zero softness. Changed her to a curb - soft, no fussing. Changed again to no bit, same result. Getting that beautiful self carriage.

I agree that when the curb is used in Western it should be one handed. But that is not what the *pool of available judges* stated, so, for the moment, two hands are allowed, and one hand is not rewarded (at least give us that!)

And, really, Bluey, why are you trying to pick a fight here? I'm just trying to explain why things are the way they ARE. I flipping agree that if there's a curb it should be one-handed. BUT IT ISN'T.

And, really, why do you think "I am trying to pick a fight?":eek:

I thought we were talking about disciplines and how this new thing called western dressage may work and thoughts on why and why not and what matters here, if at all.
Why so touchy?:confused:

aktill
Oct. 23, 2012, 11:24 PM
So many times on this forum I see people complain that their horse doesn't like such and such a bit, or goes better in another, so they switch. I'm sorry, but baring fit that's a cop out. There's really no justification for going to a curb because someone can't ride a snaffle, assuming any real respect for the path of building a traditional western bridle horse (which these western dressage people seem to at least strongly hint at).

So your horse doesn't go as well in a snaffle...ride him more in it! My horse goes as well in a side pull, snaffle, 5/8 bosal, and 3/8 bosalita BECAUSE the time was taken with all of them. Yes, I plan to eventually ride in just a spade, but that doesn't mean he can't (or won't) go in a snaffle anymore once we're through the two rein and into the bridle.

I've no idea why you're claiming WD has to have curbs since people will somehow have forgotten how to ride snaffles. All that says to me is that they never really finished the horse in the snaffle before moving on. Wide, gaping training holes aren't the right justification for rule changes, much like removing the halt at Grand Prix didn't fly just because Anky claimed her "advanced" horses somehow didn't need to remember their basics anymore.

No disrespect intended, but the whole discipline rationalizes building rules around the most common denominator, rather than correctness or tradition. Makes for big classes, but that's a pretty sad goal.

paulaedwina
Oct. 24, 2012, 11:26 AM
I got sucked in to WD by a pearl-clutching thread in the Dressage forum (everybody's not clutching pearls of course). I followed the video link, went to the WDAA and read the rules and am hooked! BTW you can ride in a snaffle so this whole curb bit thing doesn't even have to come into play, especially IMO if you're an affiliate of classical training and self-carriage.

What I need to know is where can I compete? I live in PA and ride in Union Bridge, MD.

I currently ride a treeless endurance type saddle http://ezfittreelesssaddles.com/ and can easily switch out the English stirrup leathers for Western fenders.

Paula

Wellspotted
Oct. 24, 2012, 11:27 PM
It's a little hard for those of us on the outside to have too much regard for a discipline that requires incorrect riding and willful disregard for tradition given the mission statement of most of the organizations preaches the exact opposite (though it's very like modern dressage if that's the case).

Or in other words, why on earth would you ride badly just for points? Why risk creating bad habits which will ruin your riding outside the ring?

Good points.

If one sees western dressage (or any dressage) as just another competition discipline, another opportunity to rack up more ribbons, points, place in comparison to other riders, that's one thing. If, however, one sees western dressage as an art, which dressage is, then ask yourself what aktill asks in this thread.

betonbill
Oct. 24, 2012, 11:40 PM
Popping in momentarily from the English side, whenever anyone mentions western dressage I'm immediately reminded of those segments from the Buck video with him riding in the pasture. No matter what the tack is, now THAT'S dressage!

If you can emulate that, then you've got yourself a nice progressive sport.

Wellspotted
Oct. 25, 2012, 01:34 AM
This is "interesting"--

http://chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=372307

longride1
Oct. 25, 2012, 10:29 AM
Being deeply involved in the evolution of WD, I know for sure that correct work is at the heart of the discipline. If judges are asking for two hands on a curb, we have some serious training to do. I've worked with "L" judges and the first thing I tell them is don't throw your training away. Do give all three of the basic principles their proper place, which means keeping relaxation as important as forward and straight. Correct dressage work helps the horse and so correct work is required by the WDAA's commitment to the welfare of the horse.

All of us recognize that there were some built in conflicts between the way Bridle horses, most western horses and dressage horses are started and the initial rules for WD. Personally I'll continue working to move the introduction of the curb up to the level it belongs. WDAA now does allow bosals for those who like the Bridle horse progression.

Saying that having a horse that only goes in a curb is a sign of incomplete training may be true, but it misses an important point. We want to teach a different way, but you can't scare people into wanting to change, and for many going suddenly to a snaffle is scary. People are very open to learning more about feel and working with their horses, but they are very averse to being told they've been idiots and bad trainers until they stepped into the dressage arena. WDAA has chosen to try and make the transition easier in the hopes that excitement about a new approach will lead the new dressage riders to get the training and education that give them a correct foundation. I was around when the dressage was the new discipline and it was hunter riders we were trying to attract. A lot of the new riders were a long way from doing correct dressage then too.

NoSuchPerson
Oct. 25, 2012, 11:58 AM
I love the idea of western dressage and I think lots of good western trainers are already doing western dressage, but they just call it good horsemanship. For example, the guy who trained my current riding mule is a reining guy, but he did everything a good dressage trainer would have done with the same ultimate goal in mind - an equine that is light, flexible, capable of extending and collecting himself as required, and responsive.

Also, I am old. :-) I showed western pleasure back in the '60's. My mare was light, balanced, and worked off her hindquarters - "back-to-front" you might say if you were a dressage type. I switched to H/J and dabbled in dressage after that, so I never experienced the "peanut roller" phenomenon that so many people now associate with the WP horse. Thus, I don't see the concepts of western dressage as being new and radical so much as they represent a tentative return to an earlier era.

But, I don't love the idea of simply holding western dressage classes alongside regular dressage classes at regular dressage competitions. I don't believe western dressage ought to be just regular dressage with a western saddle. I think in order for it to be a viable discipline over the long term, it has to retain a sense of being unique and distinct from regular dressage.

I confess, though, that I don't have an good alternative suggestion to holding western dressage classes at regular dressage competitions, especially since western dressage is still in it's infancy and cannot yet sustain itself as a stand-alone entity.

baylady7
Oct. 25, 2012, 01:15 PM
>>>>> if only I can convince someone to start Western Dressage classes at shows in AZ..........

if you line up sponsors ($$$) and guarantee entries, coordinate with show management and it should happen!!!

aktill
Oct. 25, 2012, 08:32 PM
Why do people insist on getting into the show ring before they have the training (or confidence) to show? What happened to shows being a test of training?

Again, I struggle with needing to abuse rules simply to accommodate those who aren't yet qualified to show?

Likewise, why even have shows before people know what's being evaluated?

Makes so little sense.

Wellspotted
Oct. 25, 2012, 09:18 PM
No disrespect intended, but the whole discipline rationalizes building rules around the most common denominator, rather than correctness or tradition. Makes for big classes, but that's a pretty sad goal.

I think you've just made a pretty profound point. Seriously. Maybe riders think that because that's what democracy does, dressage should be the same. Well, it isn't necessarily working well in government, or running a country, so why should it work well in dressage? You've got to have some standards.

longride1
Oct. 25, 2012, 09:19 PM
It's the USA :). That's the way dressage got started in the late 50's early 60's and it's still true that many many Intro and Training level riders don't have much real knowledge of dressage when they start showing. They take lessons to get better at showing, and only later discover that the show is not the thing. Being a beginner isn't abusing the rules.

The western dressage organizations are just dealing with a reality that dressage didn't have to cope with. How to win over people who have been taught that a horse must go straight into the bridle on a looped rein or go in a totally downhill frame and most of all have to have their horses in a curb by the time the animal is 5 years old. We don't want any of those things for western dressage horses, but if we insist that riders have to retrain before they can enter the ring, they'll never make the effort.

The standards are there. It's up to the judges. When I started out it was unusual for a beginner to make over 55% on a test. Now that same ride gets a 65% - 70%. If the judges are even more lenient for WD, which some seem to be, it's going to be hard for newbies to see what those standards are. But I think this is true across the board. Inflated scores aren't just for WD folks.

Wellspotted
Oct. 25, 2012, 10:25 PM
I love the idea of western dressage and I think lots of good western trainers are already doing western dressage, but they just call it good horsemanship. For example, the guy who trained my current riding mule is a reining guy, but he did everything a good dressage trainer would have done with the same ultimate goal in mind - an equine that is light, flexible, capable of extending and collecting himself as required, and responsive.

Also, I am old. :-) I showed western pleasure back in the '60's. My mare was light, balanced, and worked off her hindquarters - "back-to-front" you might say if you were a dressage type. I switched to H/J and dabbled in dressage after that, so I never experienced the "peanut roller" phenomenon that so many people now associate with the WP horse. Thus, I don't see the concepts of western dressage as being new and radical so much as they represent a tentative return to an earlier era.

But, I don't love the idea of simply holding western dressage classes alongside regular dressage classes at regular dressage competitions. I don't believe western dressage ought to be just regular dressage with a western saddle. I think in order for it to be a viable discipline over the long term, it has to retain a sense of being unique and distinct from regular dressage.

I confess, though, that I don't have an good alternative suggestion to holding western dressage classes at regular dressage competitions, especially since western dressage is still in it's infancy and cannot yet sustain itself as a stand-alone entity.

You sound like you may be around my age. I grew up in the SE too and learned to ride what was then called "forward seat" but loved being a spectator at shows of any discipline because I just loved the horses, and my mother loved watching the shows. There were no peanut rollers in WP in the shows I saw in the 60s either, and when I saw my first peanut-rolling WP class 40-odd years later, I had NO IDEA what those horses were doing, or why! :eek:

I like what you say here about western dressage. :yes:

NoSuchPerson
Oct. 25, 2012, 10:42 PM
Thanks, Wellspotted.

I had the same reaction you did the first time I ever saw a western pleasure class with horses' noses down around their knees as they troped along. In fact, I think I said, "What the ^%$# is wrong with those horses? :-)

aktill
Oct. 26, 2012, 09:40 AM
The western dressage organizations are just dealing with a reality that dressage didn't have to cope with. How to win over people who have been taught that a horse must go straight into the bridle on a looped rein or go in a totally downhill frame and most of all have to have their horses in a curb by the time the animal is 5 years old. We don't want any of those things for western dressage horses, but if we insist that riders have to retrain before they can enter the ring, they'll never make the effort.


Blimey, I don't mean to pick, but you feel people shouldn't need to retrain themselves properly to the standards being evaluated before they go into the ring?

How fair is it then to the people who actually follow a training progression and have properly schooled horses?

I know we live in the age of "don't mess with anyone's self esteem", but showing isn't really just something to do in some people's minds. There are those who actually want to have their good work rewarded.

I have just as little sympathy as you on the age vs headgear issue, though. I think it's ridiculous that most western events limit what bitting you can use based on how old the horse is. Rather then earning the right to move from say a snaffle to a curb through training, the horse and rider simply have to successfully avoid dying to do so instead.

Go team.

In the vaquero traditions particularly, there's no shame in "stepping down" the equipment based on holes that are discovered, or even merely based on the job being done. Lots of guys I know talk about moving a bridle horses back into the two rein when they know the work will get quicker, or even back into one of the hackamores if the country they're working over is more likely to snag reins etc.

Likewise, if you move from one stage to the next (say bosal to bosalita) and the horse or rider struggle, there's no "shame" in revisiting earlier stages.

longride1
Oct. 26, 2012, 03:16 PM
I do feel they must retrain to be successful. And please note I called for tighter judging. That means you can go in the ring, but your scores will reflect the weak spots in your training. I'm not saying give 70's to bad rides. I'm saying the opposite. Give 2s and 3s when deserved and 8s when deserved and let people figure out that there's something missing when they get 50's and correctly trained horses get 70s. I am disturbed by seeing rides with no positioning, much less bend, get over 70% at Primary 3. If someone wants to go in the ring and try a test by all means let them do it. But they should see serious deductions if using a curb two handed causes their horse to raise it's head and go hollow even for a stride. They should be able to figure out from the comments that two handed for bend with a shank bit isn't really working for them.

Melelio
Nov. 5, 2012, 09:50 AM
No one is talking about teaching lateral flexion on a curb. Most western trainers start with a snaffle and work to the horse wearing a curb. There are plenty of curb type bits with rotating mouthpieces (the Myler type bits) that allow one side of the mouth to be affected.

All my shanked bits are flexible in the middle and easily can be used two handed. Of course, they are no longer 'curb' bits at that, even though my favorite does have a medium port. It's just hinged IN that port. Still, I don't consider it a true curb.

I haven't looked yet, but aren't there bitting rules for this as in any other sport?

warpedcowgirl
Nov. 23, 2013, 07:40 AM
My issue with using two hands on the curb is that western horses neck rein (or seat rein as I like to say ). The curb bit is not meant to be used as a direct rein bit the way a snaffle is used.

EZDUZIT, thank you. My thoughts exactly.
I've re-entered the horse universe after a 6-year hiatus.
Former dressage and Western rider, and was a little *horrified* to see pictures of two-handed curb bit riding.
If I had grabbed the bridle with two hands, my old school bridle horse mentor would have physically removed me from the horse and screamed at me! haha
I'm still interested in WD but need to do more investigation.
I also live in Arizona.

fire_911medic
Nov. 23, 2013, 08:19 AM
My husband is interested in western dressage - I am a classical dressage rider - where is the best place to get info regarding ? And is AQHA recognizing western dressage the same as regular dressage as far as allowing members to obtain points for recognized competitions ?

Hermein
Nov. 25, 2013, 12:07 AM
Why use a curb bit at all? If I have to put so much pressure on my horse's mouth to get her to stop, how is that dressagy? If you want to, and don't have any cows that you need to rope, why not use a direct rein?

Circle Y now makes a Western Dressage saddle. (They moved the bucking rolls down to the side to keep the leg in place.) I think that along with the Mounted Shooting Saddle and 15 types of barrel racing saddles, the Western Dressage movement may be yet another marketing opportunity for the Tack industry.

longride1
Nov. 25, 2013, 10:11 AM
The best place for information is the Western Dressage Association of America web site and a tour of WDAA state affiliate web sites on Facebook. WDAA is recognized and shows run under their rules by AMHA, AHA, Pinto Horse Assc., ASA, Appaloosa Horse Club, IFSHA, AA Andalusian and Lusitano HSA and USEF. Many USDF GMOs are also offering WD tests at their schooling shows along with HOY awards. Currently the AQHA has not developed a program for western dressage but there has been talk between the two organizations.

NoSuchPerson
Nov. 25, 2013, 10:23 AM
Why use a curb bit at all? If I have to put so much pressure on my horse's mouth to get her to stop, how is that dressagy?

Proper use of a curb bit has nothing whatsoever to do with putting more pressure on a horse's mouth. Properly used on a properly trained horse, a curb is about less pressure and more subtle cues.

What about upper level dressage horses being shown in a double bridle? Do you think that is about putting more pressure on a horse's mouth and that it is not dressagy?

However, I agree that there is no reason not to use a snaffle if you want to.

mvp
Nov. 25, 2013, 11:42 AM
Why use a curb bit at all? If I have to put so much pressure on my horse's mouth to get her to stop, how is that dressagy? If you want to, and don't have any cows that you need to rope, why not use a direct rein?

Wha?

You need to learn what leverage bits (and the horses who wear them) were made for.

Look, there's no need for a horse to trot in place or skip, either. But dressagists care about those movements and I admire a horse strong and broke enough to do them.

In other news: Thanks for the history of dressage in America before my time. It might be very educational to learn what that discipline looked like in it's infancy here as an instructive comparison for WD.

Hermein
Nov. 25, 2013, 12:26 PM
Proper use of a curb bit has nothing whatsoever to do with putting more pressure on a horse's mouth. Properly used on a properly trained horse, a curb is about less pressure and more subtle cues.

"Properly" seems to be the key word here, right? Imo, leverage hasn't much to do with dressage. Or shouldn't. "Leverage" is a means to increase pressure--given that once you have a tool that increases pressure, you don't need to exert as much force.


You need to learn what leverage bits (and the horses who wear them) were made for.

You don't see many 3 yr old dressage horses working in a double bridle. Thank heavens. It seems to me that western riding is always in a hurry--rushing to get the babies ready for the futurities; and giving spurs to a novice rider, expecting her (who isn't sure what her feet are doing) to use them properly.

If I've missed something, please enlighten me.

katarine
Nov. 25, 2013, 12:35 PM
Hermein, you've missed everything about how Western horses are supposed to be developed in the bridle. All of it.

people who use them as a crutch should receive scores that reflect that problem, because it most assuredly IS a problem.

mvp
Nov. 25, 2013, 12:48 PM
"Properly" seems to be the key word here, right? Imo, leverage hasn't much to do with dressage. Or shouldn't.


You don't see many 3 yr old dressage horses working in a double bridle. Thank heavens. To me, early use of a curb, is akin to giving a begining rider spurs.

If I've missed something, please enlighten me.

What follows is JMO (and I come originally from HunterWorld through Old Skool DressageWorld to WesternWorld):

I don't understand the AQHA's "all horses 5 and up should be out of the snaffle" thing for the show ring. I think that's where your stereotype of young horses being ridden in leverage/signal bits comes from.

It's not so in non-showing WesternWorld. It makes sense to me to spend a long time riding a horse in a snaffle. You should be able to get *everything* you'll eventually want from the horse in that bit.

A little detour here:

There is a question in my mind about how the horse should relate to the snaffle. Dressagers don't think of a snaffle as a signal bit. Any signal given to the horse comes from the rider's body. So the horse should push right up into that contact. IME, Western folks want the horse to be "behind the bit." What I think that really means is that the Western horse-- often bitted up in a thin and unstable bit as a young horse-- should keep a loop in the reins and look for slight changes in the reins before a hand ever actually pulls on his mouth.

So (and still on the detour), I don't give a rat's a$$ which way you use the snaffle, but I want the same end results. Those are:

1. The horse engages his hind end and lifts his shoulders.
2. He flexes laterally and longitudinally. Usually the horse learns those two in that order. To my mind, that's the reason for the snaffle (as opposed to a bosal or leverage bit).
3. I eventually do less and less with my hand and give more and more of any signal for turn, squat, extend, collect, change gait and all from my body.

Back to the main topic:

So from VaqueroWorld, which I take to be the more-or-less starting point for WesternShowWorld, the leverage bit means the horse as successfully come through all these earlier stages of training.

Now, does the average 5-year-old in a shanked bit in the show ring have all that? I dunno. But I'll bet that folks are settling for apparent ridability in those young horses and don't have the Vaquero's thoroughness.

Can trainers produce a horse that does? Maybe if everything were absolutely right-- you began at 2 with a great-minded, well-balanced horse and your were a very skilled trainer, you might be able to take a horse from snaffle to leverage bit in 3 years.

My point is that there is a whole lot of pretty decent horsemanship connected to a training system that ends in a leverage bit. Lots of it *does* pursue the same biomechanics goals that classical dressage does. And, IMO, the idea of riding a horse with aids that involve signals is psychologically kind.

Hermein
Nov. 25, 2013, 01:26 PM
You don't see many dressage horses making it to Grand Prix; and usually they're not the youngsters--which signifies (maybe correctly or maybe not) that they've been in training, level by level.

You do see a lot of reiners, cutters, ropers and wp-ers competing hard as two and three year olds. If someone wants to show in Western Dressage, what are the odds that the particular horse will have been trained level by level?

IF Western Dressage should lead to more concern for the horse among traditional western riders, I'm all for it. And if that works out that way, the next thing I want is to put off starting race horses until they're 3 or 4. Heresy.

Bluey
Nov. 25, 2013, 04:42 PM
You don't see many dressage horses making it to Grand Prix; and usually they're not the youngsters--which signifies (maybe correctly or maybe not) that they've been in training, level by level.

You do see a lot of reiners, cutters, ropers and wp-ers competing hard as two and three year olds. If someone wants to show in Western Dressage, what are the odds that the particular horse will have been trained level by level?

IF Western Dressage should lead to more concern for the horse among traditional western riders, I'm all for it. And if that works out that way, the next thing I want is to put off starting race horses until they're 3 or 4. Heresy.

That is comparing apples and potatoes.
All you can say is that both are kind of round.

Racers, reiners and cutters are working on being bred with talent for something they can do better than none as a given talent.
Nothing like a client bringing you a horse to train that has that talent and you already see that the first few times you get on them, don't have to spend years getting there.

Just like a gymnast, that starts at five and six and if talented, is at the top of it's game in mid teens, after years of training that brings that talent out, those horses are at their best early in their lives, later they confirm and learn to be steady, but that brilliance is either there right off, or you just won't have it

If you wait until later to train them, you lose those years where they are the most trainable, just as you would a gymnast trying to start training at 15 and trying to compete with those that have grown into the sport and have all those formative years of motor memory practice perfecting their talent.

There are some studies showing that colts started early do have higher parameters of physical and mental fitness than those started a year later and stay more sound all along, because they are training for that from that early start.
It is a few years before that early start advantage evens out.

I grew up with the idea that you never started any horse under saddle until four, it just was not done.
If you had a three year old you wanted to work with, you drove it to a lighter wagon with an old horse as wheeler.

When I came to the USA and saw so many twos being started and competing, I didn't know what to think.
After years of starting and training them, I can say, it is wonderful for the horses.
Why lose those early formative years with them?

Critics of starting colts early bring up injuries that may happen when you train for performance.
Injuries happen at any age you train for any performance and is a different topic, that is HOW to train, not WHEN.
A bad trainer will have more injuries at any age it trains it's horses, a good one won't have hardly any.

warpedcowgirl
Nov. 25, 2013, 08:19 PM
FWIW, an old school bridle horse guy told me (many years ago) that he often wouldn't have a horse "straight up" in the bridle (ie cathedral port) until the horse was 8 or 9. His horses lived long and useful lives, working well into their late-20s.

mvp
Nov. 29, 2013, 08:01 AM
Racers, reiners and cutters are working on being bred with talent for something they can do better than none as a given talent.

I'd add that folks have sped up the dressage progression since I was a kid as well. The old "a level a year" doesn't seem to apply anymore.

I do think the structure of showing in Western World-- that run by the AQHA meaning that shows exist to support breeders has caused futurities…. which has caused a huge emphasis on what young horses can do…. which has caused folks to discover that athletic young, kind-minded horses *can* be made to do a lot.

Were the USEF similarly so focused on supporting breeders with shows as opposed to shows in general, I think we'd see the same kind of thing.

Kyzteke
Nov. 29, 2013, 09:57 AM
Afew points on "real dressage" (sorry, but that's how I see it).

You are not allowed to ride in a double bridle until PSG, which is the 6th level (not counting Intro, which only started afew years ago....again, a class developed to lure people who can't ride that well but like to show). You MUST use a snaffle.

You are not REQUIRED to use a double bridle (both a curb and a small, thin snaffle -- brigdoon (sp?) with reins to each bit) till I-1 I believe. And good riders can easily do all the upper level movements in a snaffle...in fact there are plenty of people who believe that using a snaffle should be allowed through-out the levels. In fact, the woman who won the Gold medal in the London Olympics gave a demo ride where she did all the GP movements using a snaffle.

In general, even today when you have a type of horse who was bred for the discipline, a horse who has reached Grand Prix (the top level) by age 7-8 is considered quite precocious. It's more likely to see a "young" GP horse who is 10-12 yrs old.

As for scores in the 70's-80's on a regular basis? Doesn't happen unless you are talking the upper echelon of riders internationally.

Most ammie dressage riders of ANY level are happy if they break 60. You can go to Centerline Scores, which is a website that has the scores of all riders/horses in the USA who have shown in USDF-recognized shows. Shows the scores at various levels.

Personally, I think if they REALLY wanted to have "Western Dressage", they would just base it on the training scale used to make a bridle horse, with the same sort of maneuvers/head gear required at each "level."

But they won't do that, because that actually takes time & skill, something much of the ammie horse world is reluctant to put in. So they will invent some mish-mash of nonsense so every body get "show" NOW.

Granted, it's a new class, but from what I've seen so far of the riders/classes...it's kind of a joke...it denigrates both classical dressage AND traditional western horsemanship.

Personally, I would prefer they keep it at the western shows, rather than put it in regular dressage shows, but I'm guessing that here in America, where western riding is more popular, USDF will eventually cave just to support their shows and make $$$.

Pocket Pony
Nov. 29, 2013, 11:44 AM
Afew points on "real dressage" (sorry, but that's how I see it).

You are not allowed to ride in a double bridle until PSG, which is the 6th level (not counting Intro, which only started afew years ago....again, a class developed to lure people who can't ride that well but like to show). You MUST use a snaffle.



A double bridle is allowed at 3rd level.

Also, wrt Intro, it didn't lure me because I can't ride for shit yet like to show. I (and many other people whom I know who are decent riders who in levels above Intro score into the high 60s) used Intro as, well, an intro for my horse into what showing is all about . . . getting into the ring, leaving the warm-up area, riding the test in front of a judge, focusing with hoopla around, etc. Sure I could do that at Training level, but for me Intro just takes the pressure off.

mvp
Nov. 29, 2013, 11:55 AM
Great post, krysteke, the whole thing. Thank you.

On this part



Personally, I think if they REALLY wanted to have "Western Dressage", they would just base it on the training scale used to make a bridle horse, with the same sort of maneuvers/head gear required at each "level."

But they won't do that, because that actually takes time & skill, something much of the ammie horse world is reluctant to put in. So they will invent some mish-mash of nonsense so every body get "show" NOW.

Granted, it's a new class, but from what I've seen so far of the riders/classes...it's kind of a joke...it denigrates both classical dressage AND traditional western horsemanship.

Personally, I would prefer they keep it at the western shows, rather than put it in regular dressage shows, but I'm guessing that here in America, where western riding is more popular, USDF will eventually cave just to support their shows and make $$$.

I'd like a training scale or levels base on the making of the bridle horse to inform WD's progression, too. At least I'd be basing my training and showing on something very, very worthwhile in the end.

Some WD folks--- not liking the kludgy, inclusive "sure, ride in your leverage bit two-handed" crap-- have written about Dressage's Training Scale for the WD crowd. I'd say that's better than nothing, but it does cause some of us who come from English or DressageWorld to wonder if we should just make lower level dressage horses that go in snaffles and western saddles.

I have written many threads about this. I *do* want to know how bridle horse people make up their horses. If there's another way to get a horse to happily carry himself on his hind end, I want to know what that is.

So, yeah, I want exactly what you are recommending and to date, I can't find it.

Kyzteke
Nov. 29, 2013, 12:41 PM
A double bridle is allowed at 3rd level.

Also, wrt Intro, it didn't lure me because I can't ride for shit yet like to show. I (and many other people whom I know who are decent riders who in levels above Intro score into the high 60s) used Intro as, well, an intro for my horse into what showing is all about . . . getting into the ring, leaving the warm-up area, riding the test in front of a judge, focusing with hoopla around, etc. Sure I could do that at Training level, but for me Intro just takes the pressure off.

I've heard that before, but that makes no sense. Why is there "more" pressure at Training Level than Intro?

Intro is a very, very recent addition to the USDF classes and (I may be wrong on this) but I'm pretty sure they don't even have an "Intro" over in Europe.

Yet they seem to be able to bring their greenies along just fine; they certainly kick our butts on a fairly regular basis.

So...why do Americans need this level? What's wrong with just plain old schooling shows? No, I suspect Intro classes were NOT created for green horses....

Kyzteke
Nov. 29, 2013, 12:56 PM
I have written many threads about this. I *do* want to know how bridle horse people make up their horses. If there's another way to get a horse to happily carry himself on his hind end, I want to know what that is.

So, yeah, I want exactly what you are recommending and to date, I can't find it.

I think you will have trouble finding this outside the rare "Californio" ranch classes simply because it's almost a lost art.

If they REALLY wanted to show what "western/cowboy" dressage is all about, this is it.

I really don't think this "sport" is being promoted as a way to improve western horsemanship, although perhaps people like Jack Brainard originally had that in mind.

Nope, in the typical American "I-Want-It-Fast-Now-Without-Much-Hard-Work" style, they are going to dumb it down to fill classes and make $$$.

Too bad, but I would LOVE to see actual classes for bridle horses. Watching a made bridle horse work is a real treat.

Pocket Pony
Nov. 29, 2013, 04:12 PM
I've heard that before, but that makes no sense. Why is there "more" pressure at Training Level than Intro?

Intro is a very, very recent addition to the USDF classes and (I may be wrong on this) but I'm pretty sure they don't even have an "Intro" over in Europe.

Yet they seem to be able to bring their greenies along just fine; they certainly kick our butts on a fairly regular basis.

So...why do Americans need this level? What's wrong with just plain old schooling shows? No, I suspect Intro classes were NOT created for green horses....

I don't care if they have Intro in Europe or not. I'm not competing against Europeans, and I'm certainly not going to do the Big Tour or the Small Tour any day. What they do is irrelevant to me.

The pressure is self-created. Sure, Training level isn't too difficult, either, but I put pressure on myself to at least try to be competitive (and I create the same pressure for myself at a schooling show as a rated show - I don't let myself slack just because one is "schooling") at Training level, whereas at Intro I don't really care if my horse jumps around or we make mistakes. I still try hard and still ride my best, but I care less about mistakes because it IS just Intro. I mean, does anyone chase points at Intro? I guess someone might but to me it is a "throwaway" class. Kind of like my friends who used the Modified AA classes in h/j land as a warmup class that they didn't really care about. A chance to get the kinks out, get some practice at a new location, or whatever.

Kyzteke
Nov. 29, 2013, 10:33 PM
The pressure is self-created.

Any schooling show will supply the same stuff for the horse as Intro does.

It wasn't created for the horse...if was created for people who want to show but don't even want to put the sweat in to do Training Level. It's a money-maker for USDF, pure & simple.

Lots of people never do more than Intro, because then they never have to canter....

As for green horses...well, somehow for all these years they managed to get seasoned without Intro Classes....I wonder how?:rolleyes:

Schooling shows? Yep, that's it. That's what they are for...

NoSuchPerson
Nov. 29, 2013, 11:16 PM
...to fill classes and make $$$.

You say that like it's a bad thing. Everything report I've seen in recent years says horse ownership is declining, as is horse show attendance. If, in order to keep competitions economically viable, you have to expand the pool of potential participants by adding lower level classes like Intro, then we should be grateful that 1. shows are willing to do so and 2. people are willing to show up and show in them.

I also believe the demographics of the horse owning population is changing, with more older riders and fewer younger riders. Us little old ladies often have very different goals than younger folks. I know I've got very different goals than I did when I was younger. I'm also a bigger sissy now than I was when I was younger, mostly because I know just how easily I can be seriously broken. So, if I'm more comfortable re-starting my showing career in Intro dressage or in the "Chicken Little Jumpers" (a real class on the local winter H/J circuit), what's the harm?

Kyzteke
Nov. 30, 2013, 12:00 AM
You say that like it's a bad thing. Everything report I've seen in recent years says horse ownership is declining, as is horse show attendance. If, in order to keep competitions economically viable, you have to expand the pool of potential participants by adding lower level classes like Intro, then we should be grateful that 1. shows are willing to do so and 2. people are willing to show up and show in them.


I understand that riding clubs/organizations need to make $$.

I had 2 of my horses in 4 classes each this last summer (in-hand) and with all the costs totaled I dropped about $850 in one day!

Yeah, I got these cool, fancy ribbons (one of my mares won the Championship), but they were pretty darn spendy pieces of...whatever.

Still, I "get" that showing is a hobby like any other and many people really enjoy it.

I have zero problem with that aspect.

My issue is making these "competitions" that aren't really that at all. They take no serious degree of horsemanship and in the case of this topic, basically making up a "discipline" to fit the population; dumbing down the class(es) to the point that it is SO easy a bunch of people will enter.

You know, at this show, I won the Breeder Class and therefore the Breeder Championship. So I could brag on and on about how hot I am (or rather, my horses are), but the fact is there were only 2 other entries in the class and neither of them were that great.

So it's not like I beat HillTop Farms or something. I beat a couple of kids with 3 week old foals and somebody with some (obviously) subpar stock. There wasn't any glory or even much satisfaction in that...at least to me.

However one of my mares took the her class AND the Mare Championship against a highly decorated, older mare....and THAT was cool. In that case I felt like I'd really won something of value. But the breeding class? I was embarrassed to even mention it.

You know, I'm older as well, but rather than pay all that $$ to show in "Intro" why not spend another few months in training and start at Training Level (or even higher). What is the rush to show? Are you riding to get better or riding to show? There IS a difference, as I'm sure you know.

And getting a 70% in a walk/trot class is certainly no big accomplishment. Nor is slapping a curb on a already trained western horse so you can ride w/two hands.

Personally, I'm of the opinion that all the $$ people spend showing Intro and/or WD could be better spent (IMHO) in actual lessons and training...

I guess that's my point. It doesn't improve horsemanship to lower the bar, and that's what I see happening.

Granted, Western Dressage and Intro dressage classes certainly aren't going to make the world fall apart, and there are certainly far more pressing things to worry about, but I just don't see any challenge in it OR accomplishment in them...

NoSuchPerson
Dec. 1, 2013, 09:09 AM
And getting a 70% in a walk/trot class is certainly no big accomplishment.

But maybe it is to someone else.


Personally, I'm of the opinion that all the $$ people spend showing Intro and/or WD could be better spent (IMHO) in actual lessons and training...

How do you know they aren't? At many boarding/lesson/training barns, there is a culture of showing. Not instead of lessons and training but in addition to lessons and training.


I guess that's my point. It doesn't improve horsemanship to lower the bar, and that's what I see happening.

I don't see that at all. Intro dressage or walk-trot pleasure or cross-rails jumpers are just the first step in a progression. For example, I know an older rider who just went to a show (first one in decades) with her new horse. They entered a walk-trot division and did fine. At the end of the day, she said, "We did it. We did OK. I didn't fall off. I had fun. Next time, we're moving up to the next division."

I'm curious. Do you also oppose walk-trot classes on the theory that people ought to just wait until they learn to canter before they go to a show? Do you think lead-line classes are a waste because those kids just shouldn't be showing until they can steer their own pony? Cross-rail jumpers because people shouldn't show jumpers until they learn to jump a "real" fence?

I just don't get all this hate for low level showing or for western dressage. I don't see any reason to be opposed to anything that encourages people to be more involved with horses. There are many benefits and I don't see any real down side.

mvp
Dec. 1, 2013, 09:56 AM
I'll bite… and I do support Western Dressage


Do you also oppose walk-trot classes on the theory that people ought to just wait until they learn to canter before they go to a show? Do you think lead-line classes are a waste because those kids just shouldn't be showing until they can steer their own pony? Cross-rail jumpers because people shouldn't show jumpers until they learn to jump a "real" fence?
In answer to your questions:

Yes. People shouldn't show until they can WTC. I don't think asking for that level of control/competence is too much. I really don't think it's too much since the show atmosphere makes most horses harder to ride. If you aren't required to have the skill it takes to canter, how do you think an amped up horse there to just to W-T is going to go?

I don't think its mean or irrational to expect folks to stay home and develop skills before they go out showing.

No, but I don't watch 'em or care one way or another. At least there's an adult there making sure the pony ride is safe.

Yes. The worst wrecks I have seen in schooling rings happen when riders of varying skills work together. There are folks jumping the little stuff who can't steer or stop. WTF?

On the WD front: Making a discipline that's inclusive At All Costs isn't interesting to me. So I'm opposed to the "Hey, ride in your shank bit two-handed if you want to" approach. But there are so many people and horses who would benefit from a discipline that gave them the incentive to train a horse to use himself correctly. That's a good reason to be inclusive to a degree.

NoSuchPerson
Dec. 1, 2013, 11:14 AM
LOL, I guess it's time for me to drop out of this discussion, then, because clearly we don't share much common ground.

I do have to comment, though, on the statements that people shouldn't show until they can WTC and that "If you aren't required to have the skill it takes to canter, how do you think an amped up horse there to just to W-T is going to go?" I don't know what kind of shows you're going to, but the W/T classes at the shows I go to a populated by beginners on been-there-done-that horses that know their jobs. No amped up horses, no bucking, no spooking.

gaitedincali
Dec. 1, 2013, 05:34 PM
Yes. People shouldn't show until they can WTC. I don't think asking for that level of control/competence is too much. I really don't think it's too much since the show atmosphere makes most horses harder to ride. If you aren't required to have the skill it takes to canter, how do you think an amped up horse there to just to W-T is going to go?



Someone should let the breed circuits all know the big w/t classes they're have since forever ago are really a secret disaster waiting to happen. ;) Since the horses get so amped up and all and no one is smart enough to pick calm, experienced horses that don't get amped up and/or lunge/warm them up properly.

longride1
Dec. 2, 2013, 08:54 AM
Western Dressage IS offering a scale of training that goes to the level of the made bridle horse and a top bridle horse should be very successful there. Next year 3rd level tests will be added. The issues of two hands on the curb is controversial, which means that there are top level western trainers who use the technique and feel it is beneficial. I feel the use of the snaffle or bosal at the lower levels will soon become standard. There is no requirement to use the curb at any particular age of the horse and when showing using it magnifies any balance problems the horse has. Getting this across to that segment of the western trainers conditioned that a "broke" horse has to be in a curb to be "western" is a matter of education.

schrkr
Dec. 2, 2013, 10:35 AM
I have competed both western dressage through 1st level (67%) and Dressage through 1st level (schooling 2nd). Western Dressage is GREAT - give it a try!

I found western dressage to be just a minor adjustment here and there from Dressage. My horse actually liked the slightly slower gaits of the western dressage and had a great time. We schooled for about a month - developed a nice jog trot and got rewarded with 7s for our gait score.

I also happen to be in the environment of adult beginner riders and green horses. My experience is that Intro classes are AWESOME for the above type of horses and riders. The way I see it there are multiple reasons why Intro classes are great.

First - I have seen A LOT of adult riders take extra time to feel comfortable at the canter - people learn at different speeds - what's wrong with them wanting feedback from a judge on how they are progressing thus far? Riding rail classes you don't get as much detailed feedback.

Some people are going to show regardless of if they are ready to or not - why not have a class where they can get their feet wet and potentially not show outside their limits. I would rather see a nicely ridden walk/trot test than add the canter and watch it go sideways - rider jerking on horse and flopping in saddle.

I've always been of the opinion - if you can't do it at a walk - you shouldn't do it faster - the idea being that speed makes it harder. My personal experience has been that horses seem to bolt and become more amped up the faster the pace. Plus SO MANY horses amp up away from home. So - you take an inexperienced horse to a show - you don't know how it will do until you go down the centerline (sure you can get an idea by hauling to shows and riding in warmup arenas but until you go down the centerline - you really don't know). Your horse is amped up and you are able to get the test done but it isn't pretty - good thing you didn't have to canter - your horse would have been in the rafters. Now you have a game plan that didn't involve pushing him so far he had a bad experience.


If we go by the Dressage thought that it takes a year per level and technically we are supposed to show 1 level below where we are schooling - it would take 1-2 years of the horse being undersaddle before we ever showed it in a dressage show. Something I doubt many people would follow.

There was concern raised about wanting people to know how to ride w/t/c before they show. How many times have you seen people with means purchase a horse that has been trained up the levels but they themselves have no idea how to ride? The point being - first you are going to have people that don't follow the same riding guidelines you follow and chaos may happen in the warmup arena- gonna happen get over it. Second would you rather have someone be uncontrolled at a trot or uncontrolled at a medium/extended canter?

I would rather people take their time and show at the level they are comfortable. It means less stress on them which can lead to a happier horse. After all dressage is supposed to be about the training process - not everyone is going to make it to Grand Prix - what's wrong with enjoying the process even at the Intro level? So what if they are showing at Intro - we all started somewhere. If you don't like it then don't show in it, but by treating those who are showing in it as second class dressage riders - you are effectively giving people a reason to think we are an elitist, unwelcoming society that they thought we were.

Just my opinion

Pocket Pony
Dec. 2, 2013, 12:23 PM
schrkr, excellent post.

I guess I don't see offering an Intro Dressage test as being offensive to me. It doesn't negatively affect me and my progression with my horse, and if it is helpful to another rider then I'm all for it. At least in the Intro classes I've seen, there are plenty of good and relatively accomplished riders who use that class - even pros! I've used it for one horse and not another. So what? I didn't "dumb down" my own level of horsemanship by entering a W/T class. My ego isn't such that I feel like I should ride at a certain level - I ride at the level where my horse is comfortable and where I can do things that give him confidence. I don't see how that is bad horsemanship.

What about people who buy horses who are too much for them and then look like they are waterskiing on the horse's mouth as he drags them around Second level? Or who only get on to ride the class after the trainer has done all the warmup? Or who can't ride Dobbin without lunging first? Are they absolved from bad horsemanship because they are at Second?

I am actually at a point where I'm not showing but we are schooling First/Second stuff at home. At this point there is no need for this horse to go back to an Intro class. It was useful when we needed it but we don't need it anymore.

With regard to Western Dressage - well, honestly, I've never even seen one of those classes, so I can't comment. I do think that there should be a bit (or bosal) progression in the rules so that there is some element of the training scale involved and a horse in the curb should be at a higher level than one in a snaffle (in that the rider demonstrates skill and proper use of all the aids that go along with riding a horse in the bridle).

Plumcreek
Dec. 3, 2013, 03:12 PM
UPDATE: I have talked to several dressage trainers (I have yet to find anyone who does dressage in a Western saddle) and am going to start taking lessons. The trainer I chose stated that dressage is dressage in any tack - I liked that! I was trying to decide between Ranch Horse Pleasure, which I could show in the frequent AQHA shows out here, or Western Dressage, which is non-existent, and discovered that when it came down to it, I REALLY wanted the Western Dressage. I'm excited to start lessons! I'm also hoping that by the time I'd be ready to show, WD will have hit the West Coast and be available at shows!

After watching ~ 40 rounds of Open Ranch Pleasure at the AQHA World Show prelims, I would say that you can school and show Western Dressage and still show Ranch Pleasure when it is offered close by. Dressage is Dressage, no matter what saddle you ride. The Ranch Pleasure, as it is evolving, is getting pretty close

Sunny74
Dec. 29, 2013, 11:45 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biZei-ieLH4

SanJacMonument
Dec. 29, 2013, 01:55 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biZei-ieLH4

Nice video!