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  1. #1
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    Default Western Dressage confusion! UPDATED!

    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????
    Last edited by JumpQH; Oct. 13, 2012 at 02:00 PM.



  2. #2
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    Sep. 11, 2009
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    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!



  3. #3
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    Aug. 1, 2004
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    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 !
    I can explain it TO you,but I can't understand it FOR you



  4. #4
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    Default

    Thanks for the help!



  5. #5
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    Sep. 16, 2003
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    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 ...).

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



  6. #6
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    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!


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  7. #7
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    "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/breedsd...sageTests.aspx

    Good luck!
    Founder of the People Who Prefer COTH Over FB Clique
    People Who Hate to Rush to Kill Wildlife Clique!
    "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique



  8. #8
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    Jul. 3, 2012
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    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.



  9. #9
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    Jan. 4, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezduzit View Post
    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.

    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.

    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.



  10. #10
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    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.



  11. #11
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    Mar. 17, 2006
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    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.



  12. #12
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    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!
    Founder of the People Who Prefer COTH Over FB Clique
    People Who Hate to Rush to Kill Wildlife Clique!
    "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique



  13. #13
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    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.



  14. #14
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    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.



  15. #15
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    In Morgan classes, light contact is required. Very loose reins (stock horse style) are penalized.



    Quote Originally Posted by HappyTalk View Post
    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.



  16. #16
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    Feb. 2, 2007
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    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.


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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JumpQH View Post
    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.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by SonnyandLacy View Post
    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?



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by aktill View Post
    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.


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  20. #20
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    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.



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