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Western dressage??? Really???

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  • #41
    Sannois: EXACTLY how I feel. I work way to hard to think otherwise.


    • #42
      Originally posted by Sannois View Post
      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.
      Sannois, I will be very, very cautious putting words in masters' mouths. If you ever read their books and biographies, you would know that they are far more tolerant than many profess here.


      • Original Poster

        @mystic Oak .... I have ridden with a "dressage master" and currently am riding with a trainer/judge and international competitor and the lower levels are most certainly dressage. They are the place where your basics are formed. Basics such as a back to front connection and acceptance of the SNAFFLE bridle. These basics are what makes your PSG horse.


        • #44
          sounds to me like if it was named anything other than Western Dressage everyone would be okay with it? Tried to think of something else it could be called, seems more like what could be considered Western Horsemanship or Western Riding but those two terms have already been taken and are a far cry from this though both are pattern type work.

          Guess it could be considered as offensive as someone comparing Team Penning to Cutting.....no comparison other than there are cattle involved.

          Its been interesting to view the various videos and read some of the background on it.

          BTW a number of western riders do know how to ride very well in a snaffle with two hands, its the first bit introduced to our young horses and many don't use a shanked bit until further into their careers when their training is more complete which can take years. There's also a complexity not known to many people about the length, shape, angle and weight of the shank and mouthpiece for specific purposes....ask a knowledgeable bit maker and they can educate one about it.

          Okay off to play with my minis now


          • #45
            I haven't read all the posts, but our local chapter has offered Western Dressage classes here for the last three years and it has always been well received. Each year the entries grow and the judges have been willing and open to judging it.

            Western Dressage has it's own guidelines and definitions of movements. I'd imagine as the sport grows, it will get even more specific. Good Western horses and good Dressage horses are, and will always be different, it's not really a very fair comparison.

            Frankly, I'd much prefer seeing a nice western horse than some of the "dressage" riders kicking and pulling on a horse trying to get it in a 'frame.' Around here anyway, I see more relaxation and rhythm in some of the western horses than in the lower level dressage horses.

            You're going to see bad Western riding, just like you see bad English riding. Try teaching instead of preaching and hopefully one day we can just see more good riding in general.


            • #46
              I'll fess up to showing western dressage on my older Arab several times.

              Do we have the impulsion? Sometimes. Generally at home when no one is watching. lol. The last show we did it was last month, and the last time schooling at home before it, he was giving me so much I regretted not doing a normal training level test. Got there, and barely had a horse *rolls eyes*.

              I realize that he is not athletic enough to make it up to certain levels, and that is fine. I go do the WD classes because he is my best buddy and I like to take him out and have fun with him.

              P.S...we show in a snaffle.
              Owned by a fabulous red boy and a chunky mare


              • #47
                Oh dude. Let's put up big signs saying "Western Tack not Welcome in this Holiest of Arenas". Also timid riders, riders who don't look perfect, riders who are seeking to "just have fun", horses with crappy gaits, horses with bad conformation, and horse/rider pairs who have never seen a training scale in their collective lives should be excluded.
                "Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht


                • #48
                  I had the exact same reaction the OP did when I first saw a WD video. Since then I've learned to be a lot more open minded. Sure I'm not a big fan of the bling but not everyone loves top hats either (not that I'm crazy about top hats myself). As long as it has proper rules and it doesn't turn into anything like WP, I' don't have much of a problem with it.

                  The only thing that bothers me is some riders riding in curb bits alone, when according to the dressage principles you have to ride into contact. That's not what a curb bit was designed for.
                  Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that to be a problem.

                  Originally posted by DottieHQ
                  You're just jealous because you lack my extensive koalafications.


                  • #49
                    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.
                    Thanks for the video link and I looooooveed the mule. I enjoyed watching the entire video. I think I'm intrigued enough to try it. The barn where I ride now is diverse and open and busy and there are eventers, barrel racers, cow sorters, the works, and alot of overlap. I'm going ask about it!

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


                    • #50
                      Entertaining in it's own rite...

                      Originally posted by KurPlexed View Post
                      Haven't read any replies.

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


                      Kill me now..............
                      However, I agree KurPlexed, Not Dressage.
                      I am in no way a Dressage Snob. I would never profess to be a Reiner or a cutting horse competitor because my horse can chase cows in a Dressage saddle, or do a sliding stop.
                      What really irked me several years ago I had a western person say to me, Gee that is no big deal, Walk trot and "Lope" in a pen, and get a head set on the horse, All my horses could do Dressage. Not worth trying to explain to someone who see it that way. Try to explain Dressage in it's simplest terms to someone like that, and they just laugh.
                      Someone I have known for many years and he is a good horseman in his field wanted to take my students warmblood to a Dressage show and do the Pattern. Sigh~


                      • #51
                        Sannois I agree with you

                        its the same thing for me when an english rider says about cutting "oh you just have to sit there and let the horse do its thing"

                        yeah really its that simple


                        • #52
                          "It's not dressage" always makes me smile. I imagine how removed from training war horses is from movements in a sand arena whilst wearing a top hat and rat catcher. I'm afraid, in my opinion, it is dressage, as much as doing a test in a sand arena is dressage, otherwise the moment we stopped using the art to train war horses it stopped being dressage.

                          IMO we don't get to close the door behind us.

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


                          • #53
                            Oh my.
                            Such clutching of pearls.

                            A competent western rider has at least as much command of the basics as the average "dressage" rider, and often more.

                            It is refreshing to see riders without a deathgrip on the animal's face.

                            Get over yourselves.

                            Go read some John Richard Young.
                            "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                            ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


                            • #54
                              ^ This. Hee hee!

                              Western Dressage fills a niche for many riders who are looking for something else to do besides speed events or WP, who want to use dressage principles to improve their riding and their horses. Many devotees of WD have ridden for years and years with little or no formal training.

                              The WD gaits are a definite improvement over the WP "Tralk" and "Trope". They may not show the kind of impulsion we like in traditional dressage, but it's a step in the right direction.

                              WD seeks to promote light & sympathetic riding. Many of the horses used in WD are former ropers, ranch horses or show horses getting a second (or third or fourth!) career.

                              As long as they're happy, and their riders are happy, where's the harm?

                              I've had a few Western friends ask me about WD. I'm happy to help them!


                              • #55
                                Originally posted by Benito21 View Post
                                @mystic Oak .... I have ridden with a "dressage master" and currently am riding with a trainer/judge and international competitor and the lower levels are most certainly dressage. They are the place where your basics are formed. Basics such as a back to front connection and acceptance of the SNAFFLE bridle. These basics are what makes your PSG horse.
                                Oh thank goodness you are here! Certainly no one else on the board has reached such heights.

                                We can relax now, gang. The real deal is here.


                                • #56
                                  Well, dressage, to me, is about throughness and connection, as a poster said on p. 1

                                  You can't have that riding in just a curb bit... the principle of a horse 'bouncing' off the bit as a way to keep recycling the energy; the amount of power that a truly through horse generates can't be properly managed by a horse backing away from a curb bit. In dressage, it's about a horse GOING to the bit, and being ON it. A curb doesn't allow that. (A double bridle has the snaffle to assist in this.)

                                  My horse, going properly on the bit and through, is very powerful, but manageable. A curb misses the point... entirely.

                                  So, as much as I adore the Western look, with their fabulous outfits and adorable horses, riding in a curb doesn't cut it. Just call it three gaits with a round neck, and dubious contact.

                                  Now, riding in a snaffle with 2 hands does cut it, regardless of saddle type. One of the videos had a Western dressage young person doing that.


                                  • #57
                                    Sorry but...

                                    Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
                                    Oh my.
                                    Such clutching of pearls.

                                    A competent western rider has at least as much command of the basics as the average "dressage" rider, and often more.

                                    It is refreshing to see riders without a deathgrip on the animal's face.

                                    Get over yourselves.

                                    Go read some John Richard Young.
                                    Proper Dressage does not have a "Death Grip" on the horses mouth.
                                    Western Pleasure horses are made to go as slow as possible, Watching a WP class with horses that look lame they are Jogging so slow. Artificial? Yes.
                                    No one says they cannot do there own thing in Western Shows, But do not lump it into the same catagory.
                                    Yes there is bad Dressage, I have nothing against people who ride Western. I resent them over simplifying it to make it sound like it is just some patterns.


                                    • #58
                                      Originally posted by Bethe Mounce View Post
                                      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? .



                                      This is a new discipline(s) - so I am hoping they do combine the two groups. At this point, yes, there are two different sets of tests. I've judged both and researched both (since I didn't want to go in judging "cold"). There are some basic differences or emphasis. Both groups have some "traditional" dressage trainers involved in development of the disciplines.

                                      Cowboy dressage is the "brain child" of Eitan Beth-Halchemy (not sure I spelled that right) who has been an exhibition rider using the term Cowboy Dressage for at least 20 years now.

                                      As far as I can tell, Western dressage was actually born of the same movement - but with more people involved, and currently, more emphasis on those riders just starting out in the discipline.

                                      Both do emphasize a more forward, softer way of riding in western tack, both want purity of gaits, both have some roots in reining and in traditional western riding (which is NOTHING like what we see in the Western Pleasure classes).

                                      I am no expert, but have done some reading and research, have talked to a few people involved in the "start up" levels, have judged several schooling shows involving one or the other, and do think it is a positive movement.

                                      BTW, there is some discussion of moving to snaffle bits at the lower levels, there is quite a move toward education - clinics, etc - and there is recognition that they still have a lot of work to do to make this a recognized discipline.

                                      As for the comment on doing this at a Western show (Beth, I know that didn't come from you) - they WANT feedback from dressage judges, they WANT to improve gaits, impulsion, connection, etc - and they won't get that from a western judge. And many people involved in the creation of the discipline(s) are traditional dressage trainers - so they understand the need for good feedback. Meanwhile we (traditional dressage riders) want our shows to continue - and these riders can help fill a show (and their horses seem pretty well behaved, so it isn't like they are disrupting the warm up arenas!), so it seems a win-win to everyone.


                                      • #59
                                        Originally posted by Benito21 View Post
                                        @mystic Oak .... I have ridden with a "dressage master" and currently am riding with a trainer/judge and international competitor and the lower levels are most certainly dressage. They are the place where your basics are formed. Basics such as a back to front connection and acceptance of the SNAFFLE bridle. These basics are what makes your PSG horse.
                                        Well, thank you for educating poor me. Realize I am not a dressage idiot, I also ride with FEI trainers, have cliniced with international competitors, have been through the L Program (and graduated with distinction).

                                        My point is that "we" don't have ownership of the term dressage - there is plenty of discussion of whether lower levels qualify, and many who want to boot Western Dressage out of our sandbox are the same ones who are riding the lower levels. Why not accept that there is plenty of room for this new group, just as there is room for Hunter riders who want to give it a try in our Opportunity classes? We need to expand and support our base - this is just one way to do so. And a chance for some western riders who are looking for feedback to improve training to actually get that feedback!

                                        These riders aren't training toward PSG - I assume they will have higher level tests as they further develop the discipline, but their tests will be different. And as I pointed out, there is discussion on snaffle bits - the discipline is still in development.
                                        Last edited by MysticOakRanch; Oct. 24, 2012, 12:59 PM.


                                        • #60
                                          Standing ovation for MOR!

                                          Off to attend the second day of the WDAA's Training the Trainers symposium....