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  1. #1
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    Default The purpose of western dressage?

    I might be starting to understand the WHY of starting western dressage. I read a blog that talked about pyramids as foundations and scales (music) as practice and how the theory applies to training horses.

    Start at the beginning with a solid foundation and build on that. And a lot of practicing on the basics so there's always a comfort zone to retreat to when training new things.

    As I read I wondered: "Who doesn't know this?" Then I thought maybe there's a lot of western people out there who whip and spur to get performance rather than build with patience, fairness and comfort.

    If so, then a need and market has been identified and addressed.

    http://www.usefnetwork.com/blogs/950...ng_scales.aspx



  2. #2
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    Because english dressage people won't let western people ride in their shows?

    Doesn't matter what saddle you sit in, training is training....
    "As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use."- William James
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  3. #3
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    Default

    I think there are a lot of people who whip and spur in order to get performance, not just in the Western riding world.

    In response to the question posed in the title, I think it's to provide an outlet for people who want to ride Western but aren't interested in the traditional Western activities like WP. I think it appeals especially to people like me who grew up riding English but, as they get older find themselves riding more often in a Western saddle. The "dressage" part is comfortably familiar and the "Western" part is informal and secure.


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  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NoSuchPerson View Post
    In response to the question posed in the title, I think it's to provide an outlet for people who want to ride Western but aren't interested in the traditional Western activities like WP. I think it appeals especially to people like me who grew up riding English but, as they get older find themselves riding more often in a Western saddle. The "dressage" part is comfortably familiar and the "Western" part is informal and secure.
    THIS!

    Quote Originally Posted by NoSuchPerson View Post
    In response to the question posed in the title, I think it's to provide an outlet for people who want to ride Western but aren't interested in the traditional Western activities like WP. I think it appeals especially to people like me who grew up riding English but, as they get older find themselves riding more often in a Western saddle. The "dressage" part is comfortably familiar and the "Western" part is informal and secure.
    THIS!

    I board at a facility whose in-house trainer (the owner) trains dressage horses and some reining/western as well. As far as students I am probably her only true dressage student (well, I'm not that good, but....the desire is there!) at the moment and one of about 3 dressage-riding boarders. A lot of the boarders are middle-aged super-awesomely-nice ladies who are re-riders and just love to ride. two own morgans, 3 own quarter horses... And at least two of them are SUPER excited about western dressage, and planning on taking their horses to the western dressage classes being held in conjunction with some local bronze shows.

    Within the excitement, though, the same people questioned why it came about (out of curiosity). The consensus is that it's geared towards being an outlet for people who have average, nice horses who aren't fancy reiners or pricey WP horses.... more casual horses, if you will, and give them a way to work towards goals and "train" towards something and get out and show and have some fun that doesn't involve breed shows and whatnot.

    It also seems to appeal, at least around here, to those whose finances can't manage the big breed shows and reining classics, etc. (Although having said that, there was lots of excitement about a clinic being held, until the cost came out... these ladies don't have an extra $400 for a clinic!)

    Pretty pleased to see it being offered locally at shows, since it really is generating excitement and additional "desire to ride" in the barn
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  5. #5
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    Default

    I'm coming around to embracing the idea...but I always have to over-analyze everything first(according to my mother; and it was NOT a compliment)! lol

    I think you have hit the nail on the head in that we older riders, re-riders and less ambitious riders like the idea of having an achievable goal; something we don't envision for ourselves with "regular" dressage.

    I'm looking forward to having this new occupation when our winter breaks for good...in March sometimes. :-( The mental discipline required to school and ride the tests will be VERY GOOD for me...I tend to want the horse to do it without my help. I had one once who did and he spoiled me because I didn't know I wasn't doing any of the work. It will also be good for my show pony who gets bored with the round and round.

    My question had more to do with the bigger picture of how this came up now and what "market" prompted the idea. And part of that market is people like us who are ready to do something different within our western pleasure riding.



  6. #6
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    I have always wondered who needed dressage (weren't well all doing that?) and why Western Dressage was anything special.

    I think the social/political/demographic motivations are those mentioned: There's a group of people who want it.

    But I also think Western Dressage is the result of what has happened in the WP world, and the specialization that has produced reining. Back in Vaquero times, the pleasurable horse or the "bridle horse" (ancestor to the reiner) would have had plenty of dressage in him.

    But now that WP and reining have become specialized and dedicated disciplines in their own right, the Vaquero gap is left open.
    The armchair saddler
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  7. #7
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    Default

    Vaquero gap?



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DancingArabian View Post
    Vaquero gap?
    I mean the horse who was taught to squat, lift his shoulders, be flexible, light to the hand and leg, obedient and all as part of becoming a finished horse. To me, the Vaqueros put this foundation on any horse--- and then they changed his frame to suit the job they were doing at the time.

    If, on the other hand, folks train for the WP ideal especially, I don't think you get quite the same hind end engagement. Or at least you don't get the kind of collection you'd see in upper level dressage.

    To an extent, I suspect reiners come closer, but there are some differences between the way they want a horse to go and the way USEF dressage-types do-- even when their horses are finished animals.

    My point is that the kind of rider who wouldn't choose the speed and intensity of reining is left with the WP direction (or similar). And that's where the "Vaquero Gap" is.
    The armchair saddler
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  9. #9
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    Default

    One of the founder/drivers behind western dressage is Jack Brainard, who also helped start the NRHA. The man knows a market and a need in the horse industry. I imagine a lot of it grew out of observations he made at his clinics about horses and people.


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  10. #10
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    I was thinking that it was something along these lines. Too much rootin' tootin' cowboy out there and not enough REAL training and riding.

    With that as a motivational force, I can understand/accept the place that western dressage has in our horse culture. Before this, I was left wondering WHAT THE H*LL IS THIS???? I can't function if I don't know the why of something!!! lol
    Quote Originally Posted by BayRoan View Post
    One of the founder/drivers behind western dressage is Jack Brainard, who also helped start the NRHA. The man knows a market and a need in the horse industry. I imagine a lot of it grew out of observations he made at his clinics about horses and people.



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    I mean the horse who was taught to squat, lift his shoulders, be flexible, light to the hand and leg, obedient and all as part of becoming a finished horse. To me, the Vaqueros put this foundation on any horse--- and then they changed his frame to suit the job they were doing at the time.

    If, on the other hand, folks train for the WP ideal especially, I don't think you get quite the same hind end engagement. Or at least you don't get the kind of collection you'd see in upper level dressage.

    To an extent, I suspect reiners come closer, but there are some differences between the way they want a horse to go and the way USEF dressage-types do-- even when their horses are finished animals.

    My point is that the kind of rider who wouldn't choose the speed and intensity of reining is left with the WP direction (or similar). And that's where the "Vaquero Gap" is.
    Wouldn't Working Equitation be a good option?


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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melelio View Post
    Because english dressage people won't let western people ride in their shows?

    Doesn't matter what saddle you sit in, training is training....
    Traditional dressage is a discipline with rules for tack and attire. "Western" people can ride in the shows if they wish, but they have to follow the rules, just like everyone else.

    I'm not allowed to ride in trail classes in my dressage saddle, according to the rules for a local show circuit. Negotiating those obstacles doesn't require a saddle with a horn and riding is just riding, right?

    I guess I could feel I'm being unfairly excluded and form "english" (whatever that is) trail classes ... but I think that would be foolish. So, I can either suck it up and find a western saddle to fit my horse or ... just find something else to do.


    Quote Originally Posted by NoSuchPerson View Post
    I think there are a lot of people who whip and spur in order to get performance, not just in the Western riding world.

    In response to the question posed in the title, I think it's to provide an outlet for people who want to ride Western but aren't interested in the traditional Western activities like WP. I think it appeals especially to people like me who grew up riding English but, as they get older find themselves riding more often in a Western saddle. The "dressage" part is comfortably familiar and the "Western" part is informal and secure.
    Yup. Or just riders of any age who like pattern riding and want to be judged on sound principles of training, not the artificial movement you see at breed shows.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DancingArabian View Post
    Wouldn't Working Equitation be a good option?
    Yes. But it looks faster and physically riskier than the usual Western Dressage riders I imagine would like.

    Sadly, we usually like to put more pressure on our horses than ourselves to become highly-trained experts and athletes. Still, it's cool if a discipline encourages people to ride their horses correctly... where ever they want to start.
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  14. #14
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    I think that it's too bad that USEF won't change its rules to allow for a western saddle in REGULAR dressage competition, not just for a judged score but for a ribbon.

    If you get to the point where you would be competing in international competition, you ought to be able to put a dressage saddle on and do just fine. (Prix St. Georges, Intermediare I and II, and Grand Prix).

    But I think 'organized' dressage is doing itself no favors by not allowing properly fitted western attire (saddle, boots, snaffle bridle and helmet) at all non-FEI levels
    You can't really claim that dressage is at its center, its true purpose, is all about the training of a true foundation for any discipline... and then say you can't get an 'official' score in a 'real' competition unless you are wearing the right saddle and the right pants.

    The lower levels of dressage should, in my opinion, be about developing a proper foundation for any horse. Too bad Western Dressage has to be 'on its own' or 'ridden according to the real dressage, only in a western saddle'. Event riders strive toward 'real' dressage. I think, for example, that if reining and working cowhorse shows offered intro and training level tests for just-getting-into-showing folks who weren't quite ready to gallop, they would increase participation at the same time as developing 'almost ready' riders as well as horses toward competence.

    And Working Equitation is awesome, but I don't know that they have organization at the lower levels in this country.


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  15. #15
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    Fillabeana, I would never want to see the lines so blurred between USEF dressage and western dressage. A western horse IS NOT a "dressage" horse even tho sounding training is good training.

    I see no need to bastardize USEF competitions with western dressage. The two are not interchangeable...one does not lead to the other.


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  16. #16
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    mp, exactly my point, that's why Western Dressage exists (partly)..because you won't let us play without fru fru clothing
    "As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use."- William James
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  17. #17
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    Bling beats fru fru every day of the week! I ride western for the show clothes!

    Quote Originally Posted by Melelio View Post
    mp, exactly my point, that's why Western Dressage exists (partly)..because you won't let us play without fru fru clothing


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  18. #18
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    Can I go enter Western Equitation/Pleasure/Whatever classes in my english tack and attire??? How about Reining? Don't need a horn for that.... No? Well then, I guess you do get the point the others are trying to make. If you want to participate in a discipline then do it. If you don't, then do Western Dressage. But seriously, to complain that the sport isn't going to completely change to accommodate your wishes.... is just silly.
    Last edited by VCT; Feb. 12, 2013 at 12:29 PM. Reason: typo thanks to auto-correct ;)
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  19. #19
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    BayRoan- Jack is no longer associated with WD. He is working with Cowboy Dressage ... the CD folks feel that WD is more of attempting to do "regular" English saddle based dressage, only with a Western saddle. CD, OTOH, has a different sized court and emphasizes the movements of a Western horse.

    I'm kinda just sitting back with my popcorn and watching the two factions/groups. (WD is affiliated with USEF, CD is not)



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by CA ASB View Post
    I'm kinda just sitting back with my popcorn and watching the two factions/groups. (WD is affiliated with USEF, CD is not)
    Me too. My money's on WDA though - they come across as more professional.

    There's going to be a 2013 WD show series at a facility a mile from my house. I can literally ride the horse over faster than if I hooked up the trailer and loaded everything. I think I'm going to try it with the NSH.
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