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  1. #1
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    Default Crossing over to Western Dressage

    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.
    Unashamed Member of the Dressage Arab Clique
    CRAYOLA POSSE= Thistle



  2. #2
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    Feb. 19, 2011
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    Portland, OR
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    Default

    NO not me, even though I live in the west and own a western saddle.

    **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).



  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Blkarab View Post
    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?



    Quote Originally Posted by Blkarab View Post
    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?



  4. #4
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    Jul. 1, 2009
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    Northern Virginia
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    Default

    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!



  5. #5
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    Mar. 15, 2007
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    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.



  6. #6
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    Oct. 13, 2006
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    Well in the spirit of actually answering your post 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
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



  7. #7
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    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...



    Quote Originally Posted by Blkarab View Post
    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.



  8. #8
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    Jun. 20, 2009
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    Hunterdon County NJ
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    Default

    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. 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. 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.



  9. #9
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    May. 4, 2003
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    Canada
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    ..if only I could ride like Buck (sigh). So light, so easy, so relaxed.



  10. #10
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    Feb. 19, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post
    ]
    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.

    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.



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxtrot's View Post
    ..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?



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutch Lovin' Dressage Rider View Post
    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
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



  13. #13
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    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by Linny View Post
    Those martingales were so taut, you could play Ode to Joy on them with a comb



  14. #14
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    Dec. 7, 2001
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutch Lovin' Dressage Rider View Post
    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)
    "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

    Spay and neuter. Please.



  15. #15
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    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.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SillyHorse View Post
    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.







  17. #17
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    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dutch Lovin' Dressage Rider

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


    Quote Originally Posted by monstrpony View Post
    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)



    Well, I don't know Buck, and I'd don't really know Jack either! 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.



    .



  18. #18
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    Feb. 16, 2012
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    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?



  19. #19
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    Mar. 27, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blkarab View Post
    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.
    Trainer's website - photos of my horse Airborne under About and Francesca Edwards also in media page 1

    http://www.patricianorciadressage.com/



  20. #20
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    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.



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