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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezduzit View Post
    I don't think it's contempt, PE. Let's face it, western pleasure riders DO NOT HAVE the riding skill that dressage riders have...not the awareness of their body movements and/or their horse's response. I think it's fair to say that.

    Western riders who participate in speed and action don't have it either. It's point and shoot.

    It's just not the same.
    Have you watched must Intro/Training Level dressage? So, does the average schooling show rider in those classes appear so very skilled that they can hop on another horse and show FEI? No - the average rider in ANY discipline is showing at the entry levels. These riders in WD are not all WP riders - many came from reining, roping, and even traditional (English) dressage. I know of a few traditional (English) dressage trainers who are also doing WD - one of them has showed through PSG on a horse she trained.

    I have seen some western riders who are quite skilled and quite aware of their horses - if you think reining and roping is point and shoot, you have never participated in it or watched a good trainer/rider in those disciplines. Those are skilled sports that require a good seat, understanding of seat and leg aids, and strong core strength, as well as a fine tuned understanding and awareness of the horse. You do realize many other disciplines think dressage is all "crank and spank"? Why is there this need to put down other disciplines and believe ours is the only "pure and difficult"?

    I don't show WD, but have judged it (and have judged Cowboy Dressage) at several schooling shows. Right now, it is very much like judging lower level traditional (English) dressage. There is the good, the not-so-good, and an ocassional standout fabulous ride.

    Right now, they don't have a progression of tests/levels because it is a brand new discipline. Actually, CD does have some progression - they've created tests that are the equivalent of Intro through lower/mid levels (aka 2nd level). I think it was a smart move to start with the entry level tests - draw in a wider base of participation, then slowly work toward higher level tests.

    There are several clinics offered, many by traditional (English) dressage trainers. I suspect the riding will improve - it is very much like our lower levels of traditional dressage - education and training needed for improvement.

    I do believe this movement will take off - they have a lot of work to do, especially on the merging of multiple groups - but I'm seeing more and more partiicpants at the schooling shows. This Fall I judged a schooling show that was 50% Cowboy Dressage - and I saw a few very good riders, and breeds ranging from Morgan to QH to Arab to Oldenburg.

    I wonder if there was such a resistance when USEF first added lower level tests? Or when USDF created the Walk/Trot Intro tests?


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  2. #42
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    So,if I am understanding this correctly what I assumed Western Dressage to be as pure classical dressage with the only difference being western tack is incorrect? For example, does anyone have the old Mary Twelveponies book, "Everyday Training: Backyard Dressage" (yep, I'm older than dirt)? In that book she rides classical dressage with a dropped nose band snaffle bridle and a western saddle.

    Is the WD movement trying to reinvent the wheel by having its own training methods and tests? I'm really just trying to understand all this. ???
    One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. - Virginia Woolf



  3. #43
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    MOR, I appreciate your response and you make valid points.

    I'm coming from a pov that a western horse can't progress *up the levels* because of conformation and breeding. So how do you see the progression.

    I'm thinking in comparison to cd where more and more collection is asked for. How far, in your opinion, can a western horse go?

    Personally, I don't see how a western horse can go much beyond 1 or 2 level. Perhaps, I'm splitting hairs here...a lot of *dressage* horses can't go above that level either. But I don't see how a western horse could progress to Grand Prix level unless Grand Prix in wd includes reining and sliding stops. Is that the goal, maybe? To start at a lower level with w/j/l and end with reining patterns? Then, to me it would just be a reining class. "Just" a reining class.



  4. #44
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    Mrs. Smith,

    As far as I can see the difference is in the kind of gaits you're aiming for -walk, lope, canter (no 4 beat canter), but no change in the quality of gaits. The WDAA consulted classical dressage in constructing its rules and tests. The website says, under education,

    "Our Rules incorporate elements of both Western and Dressage disciplines. Their revision was a collaborative effort on the part of member feedback, evaluation of respected horse people and equine organizations, and edited by a team of our Advisory Board members championed by Anita Owen, FEI Olympic Dressage judge." http://westerndressageassociation.or...e-rules-tests/

    The rules regarding gaits talk about free flowing movement, qualities of tempo, rhythm, speed, etc. Lightness, harmony, natural head carriage, etc. The gaits are working, collected, and free (walk, jog, lope).
    http://westerndressageassociation.or...a77f38b1_e.pdf

    Doesn't look like alot of re-inventing the wheel to me, but I'm just an interested layperson. The tests look alot like TD tests.

    It's not reining, it's not Western Pleasure. It's dressage in a Western saddle, on a Western horse, with Western gaits. Level 2 test 4 has changes in gaits, changes within gaits (collected lope, working walk, etc), some gymnastics, some lateral work. Sure that's the top of their classes now, but who knows what it will offer in the future. I'm not anywhere near there so I can wait for them to come up with more challenging work.

    ETA: Mystic -thank you so much for taking the time to talk about WD in your very detailed post, especially regarding the misconception that Western is point and shoot. I really appreciate it. And you're right; there are still dressage people who debate whether intro tests (W/T) are really dressage. Do a search of UDBB and you'll find them.



    Paula
    Last edited by paulaedwina; Dec. 20, 2012 at 10:41 AM. Reason: Shoutout to Mystic Oak Ranch
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


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  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulaedwina View Post
    BTW I heard of another splinter group -driving dressage? Interesting. Does that give you a seizure too?

    Paula
    Ummmm...well, THIS certainly seems to indicate you're out of touch with "dressage" per se. Ever hear of "Combined Driving." They have competitions from single-horse to four-in-hand up to International level and the first phase of competition is >>>>>>>>DRESSAGE! Duh.

    Paula, you seem to want dresage to encompass EVERYTHING that YOU want to do by changing its rules to suit what you're doing right now. You ask, can i use a bareback "saddle", can I use a different bridle, noseband, etc., etc., etc. In otherwords, can I do everything that is NOT accepted in the rules for dressage and call it dressage? *shrug* Whatever floats your boat. But it's not going to fly as "dressage."


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  6. #46
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    Paula, I wonder how it would wash out to judge a wd class with stock types and gaited types. I see the same kind of prejudice forthcoming as in cd classes where it's seems the blood horses always have the edge. For instance, I don't show open because they usually get stock judges and I don't stand a snowball's chance. Harry doesn't have the quality of gaits they are looking for. Conversely, at the Morgan shows, stock horses in the open classes never do well. Seems like it would be very difficult to score a class between a stock horse who is perfectly gaited for his breed and a gaited horse who is perfect for his breed.

    As for driven dressage, you have a point. When I showed carriage, with my dressage horse (who loved carriage, riding not so much) I used to win a lot. The comment I got most often was "you were the only one who showed bend". I had a t-shirt once that said: impulsion, collection, extension, flexion. try THAT without seat or legs!! I loved carriage driving...sadly lost him way to young to founder and Cushings.



  7. #47
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    If you take the gaits bit out of dressage, it's pattern riding. Nothing wrong with that, per se, but it's not dressage. Dressage is about the improvement of the horse's way of going under saddle. In some cases that's improving the gaits beyond what your horse offered before training; in some (looking at some of the bred-for-purpose sporthorses out there) it's preserving that freedom and expression even with a rider on board.

    Combined driving/driving dressage is the same deal, different arrangement. You're still judged on gaits and their relative freedom.

    This is reminiscent of an earlier discussion about working equitation; those horses are amazingly athletic and what they're doing is awesome, but cross cantering around obstacles because that's what lets them get the turn and speed they want is not dressage.


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  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy M View Post
    Paula, you seem to want dresage to encompass EVERYTHING that YOU want to do by changing its rules to suit what you're doing right now. You ask, can i use a bareback "saddle", can I use a different bridle, noseband, etc., etc., etc. In otherwords, can I do everything that is NOT accepted in the rules for dressage and call it dressage? *shrug* Whatever floats your boat. But it's not going to fly as "dressage."
    I think I understand your concern. I'm an upstart who presumes to ask -why not? How dare I ask whether I can ride a test bareback or in a bareback saddle (quotes are so cute)? What presumption! Why, I seem to be operating under the misapprehension that dressage is about training horse and rider, and not about gear. I mean a shoulder in is only a shoulder in if you're in the right tack! Dressage is only dressage if I'm doing it in a sand arena in top hat and rat catcher, in a dressage saddle, on a horse stamped "genuine dressage horse"?

    Yes, I do see your concern. People like me are corrupting influences.


    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


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  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezduzit View Post
    Paula, I wonder how it would wash out to judge a wd class with stock types and gaited types. I see the same kind of prejudice forthcoming as in cd classes where it's seems the blood horses always have the edge. For instance, I don't show open because they usually get stock judges and I don't stand a snowball's chance. Harry doesn't have the quality of gaits they are looking for. Conversely, at the Morgan shows, stock horses in the open classes never do well. Seems like it would be very difficult to score a class between a stock horse who is perfectly gaited for his breed and a gaited horse who is perfect for his breed.

    As for driven dressage, you have a point. When I showed carriage, with my dressage horse (who loved carriage, riding not so much) I used to win a lot. The comment I got most often was "you were the only one who showed bend". I had a t-shirt once that said: impulsion, collection, extension, flexion. try THAT without seat or legs!! I loved carriage driving...sadly lost him way to young to founder and Cushings.
    I am sorry you lost your boy, ezduzit. I never thought of gaited horses in WD. I don't recall any restrictions to their type in the rules. This is beyond my ken, but I guess they would have to be judged on the purity of their gaits. But would you put your gaited horse into a test with a lope requirement if he can't lope?

    ETA: CM161 I love working equitation. I think of it as dressage too because of rhythm, implusion, submission, lightness etc. Purity of gaits to me is competition. Cross cantering would lose you points in dressage competition no doubt, but I think that's secondary to whether the art is dressage.

    Y'know, I think I understand the clash here. Individuals mean different things when we speak of dressage! Same word, way different perspectives. When I think of dressage I think of I'm thinking of the poetry in motion of horse and rider, lightness, concert, carriage, rhythm, impulsion, balance. When I see it I say, "that's dressage". I don't care what form it comes in.

    For someone else dressage is a discipline and sport that require fluency in specific movements, progression in complexity and competition. Something like that. So for that person dressage has very specific criteria.

    And we clash because we don't understand each other.

    Maybe?
    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).



  10. #50
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    "'......a western horse can't progress *up the levels* because of conformation and breeding. " Why would that be? If a horse has proper training, it should advance. Be "competitive", perhaps not. But be able to do 'everything', why not? I know that western eq horses from 30 years ago (in CA) could have instantly done a second level test. Or what about (omg forgot his name) the radio show personality who regularly did dressage presentations in his western saddle. And for what it is worth Phillipe Karl just took two western horses into his program.

    Gaited horses could only do figures, since the gaits are not those listed for the tests. (And lateral work could not be done w/o injury (within a pace/etc).
    I.D.E.A. yoda


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  11. #51
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    Definite maybe!! IMHO, it is a sport when there are rules and special clothes to buy! Outfits!!! with matching boots!!! LOL poking a little fun here.

    Dressage and wp and wd ARE disciplines. They need skill from the rider, talent from the horse and practice practice practice.

    I think you're right in that we're talking at cross-purposes. I love a beautiful ride too whether I'm riding or watching.

    What you are describing is what I hope to achieve in the wd ring...more a reflection of MY riding skill than Harry's ability. He is what he is...my goal is to be THAT good too. ;-)



  12. #52
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    I misspoke when I said *gaited*...referring to 3 gaited horses who are not stock types. It's the vocabulary around here.

    And yes, you're right about progression. I did mean 'not competitive' when I said they can't progress up the levels. However, I'd love to see a stock type doing Grand Prix!



  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulaedwina View Post
    Yes, I do see your concern. People like me are corrupting influences.


    Paula
    Wow, you give yourself a lot of credit! Where are the emoticons this morning?
    My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

    "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran


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  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by ideayoda View Post
    "

    Gaited horses could only do figures, since the gaits are not those listed for the tests. (And lateral work could not be done w/o injury (within a pace/etc).
    Gaited horses do shoulder in, haunches in, half pass at a flat walk. They are not asked for lateral work in a running walk. Agreed. But the NWHA tests go up through Third and ask for the above, in a flat walk only.

    Nobody considers a 'pace' an acceptable or desired gait in a gaited horse. It's desirable in some Standardbreds on the track.


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  15. #55
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    Katarine, I have to laugh at how upset the TN walking horse kids were that they didn't place in saddleseat equation or pleasure at our Morgan shows!



  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezduzit View Post
    MOR, I appreciate your response and you make valid points.

    I'm coming from a pov that a western horse can't progress *up the levels* because of conformation and breeding. So how do you see the progression.

    I'm thinking in comparison to cd where more and more collection is asked for. How far, in your opinion, can a western horse go?

    Personally, I don't see how a western horse can go much beyond 1 or 2 level. Perhaps, I'm splitting hairs here...a lot of *dressage* horses can't go above that level either. But I don't see how a western horse could progress to Grand Prix level unless Grand Prix in wd includes reining and sliding stops. Is that the goal, maybe? To start at a lower level with w/j/l and end with reining patterns? Then, to me it would just be a reining class. "Just" a reining class.
    And I disagree - I have always thought of dressage as a discipline for any horse. I have seen many different breeds showing through the FEI levels - Paint, Tbred, Arab, Morgan, ISH, Friesian, Andalusian, etc. Sure, they aren't all going to the Olympics, but they are improving through good training. And not all stock horses are downhill, incapable of collection. Even a horse who is downhill can be improved through good training. Collection is simply shifting balance to the hindquarters and elevating the front end - yes? Of course, it is more complicated then that, but it boils down to that concept - why can't a western horse do that? Personally, I think rider ability is a greater limiting factor then horse ability!

    Dressage is all about improving the horse through training. Only in recent years did we see the focus on big gaits above all else - prior to that, it was flexibility, suppleness, purity of the gaits, balance, making the horse more rideable through good training. Why can't a western horse be improved through good training? BTW, there are some accomplished trainers who are happy to take on western type horses - I really enjoyed the story of Against All Odds, a PMU QH/Draft cross who was trained to GP. And more recently sold to junior rider as a schoolmaster - I saw her ride him two years ago in Junior Championships.

    Western Pleasure is, in many ways, the opposite - destroying the gait rideability through training. And many Western riders wanted something better for their horses - I think we should feel good about the Western riders coming to the dressage training concept to improve things for their horses!

    What will the "upper level" look like? I don't know, I'm not a member of the Organizing committee(s). But since the two groups I know of (Western Dressage Association and Cowboy Dressage) both have FEI riders in their groups, I'm going to guess they will include some of the components of our own upper levels of dressage. Reiners already include some pretty complex moves - including spins, side pass, etc, I would guess we'll see some of those components, perhaps in both collected and "free" gaits?

    As for the term "collection" - are dressage people aware that term is used in many other disciplines? Including hunters and pleasure classes (both English and Western)? I've watched some very accomplished jumper trainers telling their riders to collect the horse - so are we the only discipline that has a right to use that term?


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  17. #57
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    I'm not saying that dressage training can't be applied to a western horse. I agree that all horses improve when taught from a thoughtful, gradual pov given their particular talents and conformation.

    And certainly collection is not reserved for dressage riders. But just as a peanut rolling stock horse can't collect (without specific training to change the peanut rolling) my Harry can't uncollect. He's bred and built to sit down on his hocks and LOPE...a true, 3 beat collected, slow canter. So he could/might be able to do Grand Prix but he can't do training level.

    We're probably talking in circles at this point. I think it's a good idea that the USDF has drawn their guidelines so people know where they stand.



  18. #58
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    Doesn't dressage require riding on the bit? Every western horse I've ever ridden, at least in stock shows that have horsemanship/wp/western riding/trail, are all on a draped rein.
    I think if they want to establish a different yet similar criteria that suits the western horse, more power to them. I think it would vastly improve the western discipline as far as horsemanship is concerned (not to insinuate that they can't ride or be in touch with their horse.)
    Dressage has such a long, elegant, and esteemed history that I'm sure some people might feel that WD, coming in hundreds of years later, and trying to become a branch or even it's own discipline in its own right is disrespectful (that might not be the right word). I don't have an opinion either way, but I do see how some elements of classical dressage contradict the way western horses are trained anymore.
    Someone did say that a lot of western horses aren't built to do classical dressage. This has some truth to it. So many of them have such straight shoulders that they would be very limited, but there's nothing wrong with them at least trying, if it means a better foundation and connection all together. Isn't that the point of dressage? Harmonious and solid training?
    Maybe this is a good thing for the horse world. Maybe they will start breeding western horses to do less troping with their heads dragging on the floor, and be taught true collection and impulsion etc etc.

    Maybe the best solution is for WD to slow down and outline their goals to become a legitimate, professional organization. Dressage has so many little elements that would be different for western horses that these things need to be established for it to be trained and judged correctly. They might just find something else to call it than dressage, as it's not purists dressage but in fact it's own discipline. That, I would support even as an english rider.
    Just like how many hunter jumpers might greatly benefit from going back to the basics of dressage and find that a lot of their problems would be vastly improved, western could or should have some equivalent best suited to them.

    Just so no one is offended, I know many very well trained western horses and some horribly trained dressage horses, and vice versa. I have respect for both.


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  19. #59
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    I think people's frustration toward you, PE, is that you are arguing about something in which you really don't have the experience to back it up. Let's see, in the past you've talked about adding all of these things to your "disciplines": dressage, working equitation, bareback dressage, equitation, trail, competitive trail, and now western dressage. Yet it appears that you don't even seem to be starting with one thing and gaining mastery of it.

    I agree with SandyM about her assessment of your wanting to do a dressage show in a bareback pad - read the rules and you'll easily see the answer is no. Yes, a leg yield is a leg yield is a leg yield (providing, of course, that you do a proper leg yield to begin with); but a jog is not a trot, and a lope is not a canter. No, you cannot do your dressage test bareback, nor can you do it in a trail saddle - them's the rules. As much as I would LOVE it if I could do a dressage test bitless, the rules state that I cannot, so I follow the rules when I show. (Of course schooling at home is different - I'm talking about showing)

    I'm not even going to get into the WD debate about is it or isn't it dressage because I've got enough to keep my mind busy with trying to work on regular ole dressage with my rangy mustang. I've been in training for years and I am more concerned with learning to do things correctly and properly - defining the rules or validity of a sport are so far beyond where my head is at.

    Perhaps it might do you and your horse some good if you focused on one thing vs. getting your panties in a bunch about a new discipline (when you don't seem to really have experience with the root discipline to begin with). Your goals seem to be so scattered that I wonder if your horse is equally confused? I honestly don't even understand why you give a hoot so much?? Why are you so offended about a sport that you don't even do? When you get to the point of having been in training, of having learned something, of having taught your horse to do something, of learning to ride properly, of improving your skills to the point where you're ready to enter a show . . . until then, why does it matter to you?

    I love watching good riding as much as the next person, and I think good riding comes in all disciplines. There will be good riding and bad riding in WD classes, just as there will be good riding and bad riding in traditional dressage classes. I don't claim that one discipline holds all of the good riders and everyone is crap. Heck, I would love to learn DV stuff, take my horse cutting, do some eventing. Maybe I'll get to it, maybe I won't, but the basics need to be there first.

    And as far as TPTB in WD consulting with Anita Owen goes . . . well good for them, but so what? I would be more impressed if they worked with a GROUP of judges, trainers, clinicians. Saying that they "consulted with" can be misleading. It is like trainers who say they "worked with" (or studied with) someone - that "working with" or "studying with" could have been a 2-day clinic, not a 2-year working student or apprenticeship program. Words can be misleading on purpose.
    My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

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  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by ideayoda View Post
    Gaited horses could only do figures, since the gaits are not those listed for the tests. (And lateral work could not be done w/o injury (within a pace/etc).
    Careful not to be too all-encompassing there. Icelandics can do a lot of forms of lateral work in tolt, for example.



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