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Western dressage??? Really???

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  • #21
    Originally posted by bluemooncowgirl View Post
    Mystic Oak, thanks for the warm welcome to those of us with different saddles. I'm seriously considering WD with my little grade QH pony that we were given. He really has no idea he isn't a WB.


    Watch for the mule.
    I'm digging the 'period' outfit worm by the chick riding astride in the skort, 'prairie-ish' blouse, and spiffy hat. The mule gets smiley points. I saw one really good looking bay ridden by a guy in a rather plain, daily work-ish, shirt. That was a sexy horsey!
    "Friend" me !



    • #22
      If someone shows and they lack something they will have it on their test scored by a judge and commented on. This is so they can go home and work on it and become better and understand the basics of dressage. If they keep showing and don't improve because they don't want to go forward or have impulsion then their scores will reflect it and they will eventually get tired of losing and scoring badly. Who cares really. These horses look so much happier than wp horses gnu around a ring and I wish more of those riders would come over to western dressage and learn from it through the dressage world. My new guy is a APHA horse. He is training and maybe in his first show in november. I believe he is going to make a nice lower level dressage horse and it doesn't matter what saddle i put on him he could do it either way. We have hopes of 3rd level for this guy, I will admit it maybe difficult at 3rd for him, but just because he is a true stock bred western horse does that mean he shouldn't be in the ring? The horses on that video are all capable of nice gaits and impulsion at these levels and the more feedback they get the more they will develop them correctly we hope. It's just in the starts, give it time before we bash everyone that wants to try it. The curb bit. Well, I've seen worse riding in a snaffle then any of those riders with the curb on. Quiet hands and not constantly hanging on the reins to put them in a frame. The horses carried themselves decently in the video for the most part. Do they need a little work, yes, but it's not the end of dressage as we know it. There will always be dressage in the grand scheme of things unless we constantly bash others that want to try it. Heck my old Morgan x appendix mutt that excelled in dressage at lower levels before I had to retire him actually did saddle club shows. True English pleasure by aqha standards. Did we win? No, not usually except in the jumping and eq but I never was put down or looked at funny because this horse shouldn't be there. We even did western pleasure and barrels for fun sometimes. It was bad lol but everyone talked to us and gave us pointers and knew we were dressage riders so he is not going to be like their horses but they embraced us and didn't turn their noses up at us because we looked different. Oh, and we barrel raced in a jumping saddle. No one called us out. They just said good job and way to hang on in that saddle lol
      Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


      • #23
        a western rider's perspective

        for many years I took dressage lessons in my western saddle on my working cowhorse mare then later on my semi-retired fjord gelding, no dressage instructor ever turned me away. I had no aspirations of ever wanting to show or even moving up through the levels. I simply wanted my horses to move more correctly and for me to develop more fully as a rider. I had grown up riding finished bridle horses in working cowhorse events. I hate when folks compare our horses to yours. Like apples and oranges. I love to watch GOOD dressage as much as I love to watch GOOD cowhorses, can truly appreciate the attributes of each but they are totally different and should be judged as such.

        I think Western Dressage is a nice concept and if I were still riding it would probably be where I would fit in best. My preference would be that they stay within their own shows though I can see the relevance of offering it at the local schooling show level. These types of shows offered by local clubs are struggling in a tough economy and fill a much needed gap for entry level folks to gain knowledge and experience and to test the waters to see if dressage is something they might like to pursue. Honestly I don't think the WD riders have any intention of making over dressage in the ways that some folks have blasted them for. I think the folks who started it may have found a viable option for riders who don't quite fit in any other discipline but I've not read the background on it either.

        Over the years I have sought out very experienced and supportive horse folk of various disciplines and have learned something (good or bad) from all of them, above all they have the best interest of the horse in common. I appreciate and have tried to take on that same attitude as I now find myself entering the world of driving with two seasoned miniature show geldings who I'm interested in learning *gasp* driven dressage with.....I can only imagine the disdain and eye rolling I might get from folks with narrow minded visions of their chosen sport when we show up next year at some event


        • #24
          On facebook is a page devoted to Western Dressage.


          I have no idea who wrote the western dressage tests. The lower level tests are straight lines and 20 meter circles...as are our lower level tests...the difference is not only the saddle used (which in my humblest of opinions should not matter), it's the bits. Why someone needs a curb chain in a test equivalent to Intro tests is beyond me. If they use a curb, they ride one handed, or they should. There are some videos out there on you tube from the Dallas Dressage Clubs latest schooling show of western dressage. I think the western folk are trying to develop something new for the western world. Something new and different is not always a bad thing! ;-) However, when it seems to be about the headset ALL the time...well....am not so sure. ;-)
          Bethe Mounce
          Head Trainer, AmeriCan Romance Equestrian
          Brentwood CA


          • #25
            Interesting and shows the test with judges scored. Horse got an 80.9

            Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


            • #26
              Yes Rabicon. I saw the video and then there's a "document" with Randy's comments etc. From my humblest of perspectives and experience, the test he rode that he garnered the 80%, well....it didn't ask alot of the horse or the rider. Then again, this whole concept of western dressage is new; when something is new, everyone has their own idea of how the new wheel should spin. ;-) I applaud their efforts, but as I mentioned before, it still seems to be about the headset and not enough about the engine... ;-)
              Bethe Mounce
              Head Trainer, AmeriCan Romance Equestrian
              Brentwood CA


              • Original Poster

                Wow. I guess I haven't made any friends here. Lol... A few things and then I will shut up and go back to my "non open minded views". First... If the western people would like to ride in legal bits that would be a fantastic start.... or wait.... maybe we should be "open minded" and all be allowed to ride in a curb at training and first level. Secondly... Where exactly is the working trot? Are we changing the requirements for each level as well? I am all for the quarter horse, paint and hunter rider trying dressage (in an approved bit while demonstrating the requirements of the level). They don't have to move like a warmblood. I have many students that have average horses BUT they go into the arena with the proper bit, demonstrating the REQUIRED movements. I have NO problem welcoming the western folks into our world IF the work displayed was dressage, HOWEVER, I will never be receptive if all I see is a western pleasure class. I feel it completely goes against the training scale which most of us try so very hard to adhere to. I understand the money issues that EVERYONE is having at the moment, but I personally can't put a price on tainting the values this sport is suppose to teach horse and rider. Wear the correct bit, go forward in a working trot to develop a connection between leg, seat and hand and I don't give a hoot if you ride in a western saddle or ride a paint or a mule. Sorry if no one agrees and I find it very sad that more don't agree. I will still not allow wd at my dressage shows until the rules are changed to mirror our own.


                • #28
                  Oh wow...

                  Why is it that other disciplines feel the need to call what they do Dressage.
                  In no way no how is what is done in so called Western Dressage comparable to True Dressage.
                  So I will never feel otherwise. The sound you hear is the masters spinning in their graves.


                  • #29
                    Well, my now Grand Prix dressage horse started out his career as USEF Zone Champion Working Western. While he was competing Training level and First leve (got a Zone award for dressage too).

                    Now that he has an injury he recovering from, I am certainly considering riding him in a western dressage class or two just to get him out and around. Might even show him in trail. It takes a long time to get those muscles back and a western saddle is quite comfortable for him.


                    • Original Poster

                      Well said Sannois. Someone on my side at last!


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by Bethe Mounce View Post
                        Why someone needs a curb chain in a test equivalent to Intro tests is beyond me.
                        No, they don't need a curb, and we know it's not necessary; but for folks who have ridden western style their whole life, it is bit terrifying and bewildering to suddenly ride in a snaffle. Imagine what you will feel like if you are all the sudden asked to ride bridleless.

                        The solution is simple really: start to demand and reward true flexion and correct bends and those riders will all the sudden realize it is heck lot easier to achieve that with a snaffle bridle and two hands. That is one reason why some of them start to ride two-handed lol: much easier if you get two hands to navigate through patterns. If they are being judged as a dressage should be judged, they will have no choice but to venture into snaffle bridle.


                        • #32
                          If we are more close minded then the top tier of WP/cow/barrel racing then please by all means go ahead and try to take a horse there without training/tack/full commitment. See how inclusive they are when you not only dont get a score but no ribbon just the gate.

                          I mentioned above the cow horse of the year? Ask how many dollars and cents have been put into her tack/care/training?

                          EASILY they paid 3k a month training to put her on cows and get in the money and EASILY her 4 saddles cost more than my car.

                          Her special shoes, special bits, the chaps, work wraps/boots, and entry fees are a dent for sure to rival nationally ranked dressage horses.

                          Cant change an expensive horses spots no matter the breed, but she cant do a piaffe so they dont offer that as a job.

                          But when you put 10-20k into a yearling and another 50k in training isnt that only for elite wbs?

                          The answer? A resounding nope!

                          Only other sports can have money involved because they say howdy? I dont buy it. The biggest snob in town here is sitting in oh about 20k worth of western tack when you meet her. She will spit on an arab rather than look at them (ask me how i know lol) and thinks all Tb's are crazy. I dont even think she knows what a WB is!

                          Some people think that other disciplines let you wander in off the trail without lessons or gear>?

                          how silly is that?
                          ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post
                            I'm digging the 'period' outfit worm by the chick riding astride in the skort, 'prairie-ish' blouse, and spiffy hat. The mule gets smiley points. I saw one really good looking bay ridden by a guy in a rather plain, daily work-ish, shirt. That was a sexy horsey!
                            OK, just to muddy the waters - this video is COWBOY Dressage, which is different then Western Dressage. I am hoping the two organizations get together and become one organization with ONE set of tests. Cowboy Dressage has a series of tests that progress further then the current Western Dressage tests. They also have slightly different guidelines with more emphasis on "soft feel".

                            Western Dressage currently only has lower level tests - equivalent of Intro and Training Level. I think they are working on more advanced tests, but are putting out the tests slowly.

                            Cowboy Dressage has tests that get progressively more complicated, with 10 meter circles and TOH/TOF (they do allow pivots), Reinback, and other more advanced training requirements.

                            There is at least one Warmblood in that video

                            To those who feel only "dressage riders" can claim the work dressage - you do know the masters would never recognize a Training or First level test? That many feel it isn't dressage until it is PSG? Really, can't we all work together to advance good horse training?


                            • #34
                              The one I posted is western dressage at an actual dressage show. You can see the riders in the other rings.
                              Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                              • #35
                                I recall competing my 15HH Arabian in cones & poles ... him in a dressage saddle & english bridle; me in breeches, helmet & dress boots.

                                Some of the westurn people were LIVID - Especially when I knocked some of them out 6th place (last placing for money out of 45 - 55 entries).
                                Mind you, he never got out of that extended trot, but he could weave those poles like a Boarder Collie. He purely loved it!
                                He never ran-out or reared. Nor did I have beat the sh!t out him.
                                And guess what? My helmet STAYED ON!

                                But then, he was trained "actual" dressage, not the local 4-H people's version of Western Pleasure horse in English Hunter Costume Class, or Western Pleasure horse in English DRESSAGE Costume Class.

                                Hey, why not just have the so-called WD at the regular western shows?

                                If I want to look at those ridiculous fake tails, black shoe polish on light hooves, and crazed-pimp-on-acid western bling, I would go to one. I know there are at least 1 or 2 people that agree.

                                It's like WHY I don't listen to C&W music: I DETEST it.
                                If I pay to go to a concert expecting Dvořák or VNV Nation, and get some yahoo band playing twang-drivel, you bet I'm going to be p!ssed off.
                                I would expect the reverse to be true as well.

                                Like others; just my personal preference. Carry on.


                                • #36
                                  Haven't read any replies.

                                  I only give you this. From the WDAA web site under "Education Center"


                                  Kill me now..............


                                  • #37
                                    I did not know there was such a thing as Cowboy Dressage. So, there are two different organizations--Cowboy Dressage and Western Dressage. I assume each group has a different set of tests with differing requirements? I think all the disciplines, regardless of tack, bring something to the table. Whether USDF will be open to some of the thought process from the Western contingent, remains to be seen. So far, I believe the Western dressage classes have been offered at schooling shows, nothing sanctioned.

                                    Yes, I can imagine if a rider is accustomed to riding their horse in a curb (meaning a bit with a port and shank, no joint, and a curb chain) and then having to go to a snaffle..that could be a bit daunting. But.....most horses are started in a plain ordinary D ring or O ring snaffle, with one or two joints. The western folk tend to go to a curb after they feel their horse is "trained" in a snaffle.

                                    It's like the dressage folk who go from a snaffle to the full bridle. The concept is refinement of the aids; however a correctly trained Grand Prix horse should be able to perform the Grand Prix movements in a snaffle and/or the full bridle.

                                    I guess what I am trying to say, it comes down to training. Regardless of tack; if horse is correctly connected from behind and not ridden with a mere headset, well.....it will be rewarded by an astute judge. I see too many "headsets" in both "normal" dressage and western dressage. Perhaps with all disciplines on board, the concept of connection can be further clarified and easier to achieve. I don't know. An open mind is best, yet when I see it done incorrectly, well....I hate to see a new trend go downhill before it has even really gotten started.
                                    Bethe Mounce
                                    Head Trainer, AmeriCan Romance Equestrian
                                    Brentwood CA


                                    • #38
                                      Oh one more thing. There is a guy on FB who is basically bashing dressage riders while promoting his WD. To some up, he's scoring in the high 70's which is much higher than the traditional dressage riders so therefore he thinks and is basically saying.....They (traditional riders) must be doing it wrong bc he out scores them every time at every show. I believe I also read a thread where he bet a traditional rider $10,000 that he would win, on the average of three tests ridden, at 3rd or 4th level..... I'm not sure what that was all about but I sure wish I was riding that level. I'd take him up on it.


                                      • #39
                                        No. That Cowboy dressage was on the Western Dressage Assoc of America's site under Education Center. The guy riding is one of the founding members of the WDAA


                                        • #40
                                          Get off your high horse (pun intended).... Dressage means training which means that any discipline can do it. No wonder they make fun of dressage on late night tv...