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Why Western dressage?

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  • #81
    Originally posted by mbm View Post
    fwiw, i think it is awesome that folks want to learn to ride better etc.

    i have nothing against western tack etc.

    what i do feel a bit apprehensive about is those that are going to be teaching dressage badly and it will just muddy the waters.... already folks think it is teh same as dressage when it isnt, the amount of energy etc is different - and that is ok - as long as folks understand there is a difference.

    anyway, i still wish they would find a different name because i like clarity and the name creates confusion.

    and fwiw, when i was a kid i rode western then eventing then pure dressage
    But... There's a ton of really outstandingly poor instruction out there even in "pure" dressage if my spectating at the USDF shows in my area are any indication. I saw a LOT of stuff that I was unimpressed with and these were the
    "pure" dressage riders. Just like with"pure" dressage, there are probably going to be some truly amazing instructors in the WD discipline who will keep to dressage principles as it becomes a more established sport, and the rest will be fodder. If WD is allowed into the fold, with classes being held alongside "pure" dressage and judged by "pure" dressage judges, tests that are ridden with "pure" dressage principles will be rewarded, and so people will train with these principles in mind.
    Keep them out in the cold, you can guarantee that the division will end up continuing on its own and morphing into the thing that everyone is so fearful of


    • #82
      Dressage, as a "sport" and classical dressage "training" are not the necessarily same thing. Dressage has already morphed into the thing that traditionalists have feared all along. As a sport it has rules and regulations that are to be followed, as a lot of posters have tried to point out.

      Western riders have their art forms. I, for one, am in awe of a good reining or cutting horse. I don't need to see him poking around a dressage arena.

      Besides, how will the USEF or USDF come up with attire rules?They are so uptight about what is allowed now. Will it be only a black hat, white jeans and no silver or tooling of the saddle? LOL

      If one wants "western dressage" fine. But don't tell me it belongs in the USDF or FEI dressage divisions. But, sad to say, I wouldn't be surprised if the powers that be let it in. Aside from a few exceptions, competition dressage has been simply "horse showing" for years. Give everyone a ribbon.
      Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"


      • #83
        Well, polo IS "English reining", nobody seems too confused by that. Maybe you should just try a better make of Western saddle -- I've never felt restricted from cueing for dressage in mine. Although I do find myself gravitating to my English Stubbens for everyday riding, so probably, you are right.
        "To ride a horse is to borrow freedom."


        • #84

          WDAA already has attire and tack rules for WD. There is no bonus for bling, BTW.

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


          • #85
            Originally posted by CandyHaasch View Post
            Well, polo IS "English reining", nobody seems too confused by that. Maybe you should just try a better make of Western saddle -- I've never felt restricted from cueing for dressage in mine. Although I do find myself gravitating to my English Stubbens for everyday riding, so probably, you are right.
            JFYI, this thread is 5 months old.
            ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

            Originally posted by LauraKY
            I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
            HORSING mobile training app


            • #86
              That's okay with me.

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


              • #87
                Originally posted by Fillabeana View Post
                I don't have much to say about the whole western dressage thing, other than that if a person wants to ride the lower levels (intro, training, first) in western tack under a USDF judge, they should be able to do so, and be scored.
                Why ? Honestly I don't understand the the cross over. Saddles and tack are created and evolve as their disciplines require. There's a reason why western saddles/tack work better for western riding/cow work, etc., hunt seat saddles/tack work best for jumping, and why dressage tack has evolved for that sport.

                If you want to play football, why wear a tennis outfit ?



                • #88
                  Originally posted by katarine View Post
                  A real live trot, as seen at our Fall show:
                  What a stunning picture. Photoshop out western tack and replace it with Dressage or Hunter and that trot would please absolutely everybody!
                  The truth is always in the middle.


                  • #89
                    some answers first hand from WDAA

                    Anyone in the area intereted in learning more, two founders of WDAA, Cliff (Vermont) and Frances (MA) will be in New England this May. Frances is holding a Western Dressage Clinic in Pepperell, MA May 25-26. www.tenbroeckfarm.net
                    I'm sure you can google the VT event. Nevermind all the English/Western debate, there is a ton of debate within the Western Community as well. I think this will be a great way to better understand at least one perspective.


                    • #90
                      FWIW, my KWPN gelding (hunter) will do Dressage or go in a curb bit and my big ol' 1980 western equitation saddle. I need to give him a little tune up when I change the bit, but otherwise it's all the same to him. I will say that correct dressage training helped this horse: Never in the history of his world has he been allowed to drop his shoulders, so he doesn't ask to, even in being ridden western or in a curb bit. Then again, good western trainers do the same: The horse is *always* supposed to lift his shoulders and push from behind. Those guys ride in snaffles at home lots of the time, no matter what they show in.

                      Also, I have taken dressage lessons in the western equitation bucket without a problem. No problem with the instructor who saw what I did: The saddle put me in balance, and the horse could hear my seat just fine. The "hearing" you seat is a training issue for both horse and rider. If the bugger didn't hear my seat, I have leg-spur-whip to turn up the volume until he did hear that first quiet aid.

                      I love the videos of the Western and Dressage pros riding pas de deux and switching horses. I'd also like to see an archetypal WB ridden in western tack. I know it can be done.

                      Perhaps, OT, but I think a lot of ammies would be helped by reminding judges that you can see a correct, rewardable test from a horse with less extravagant movement that the purpose-bred WBs we see now. If that takes some legitimate competitors with flatter-moving stock breeds, that's fine with me. It will save me a whole lot of money to not have to buy the uber-mover that everyone else wants, too.
                      The armchair saddler
                      Politically Pro-Cat


                      • #91
                        The perspective I have gained from the Arabian show ring and also from some of the quarter horse people is that while they enjoy riding and showing western pleasure, most do not support the current trends of how these western pleasure horses are presented in the show ring. The Arabian folks dont like the hock-hobbled, going nowhere gaits and the quarter horse folks dont like the peanut rollers with their noses on the ground. Some of the Arabian riders I know want a horse that's more forward, but not speedy and a more freer moving horse.


                        • #92
                          Originally posted by Sandy M View Post
                          The story I heard - probably apocryphal - is that some trainer with an exceptionally good futurity horse overworked it, and it went in with that loooooow head carriage, but won anyway, so everyone assumed that's what the judges wanted and carried it to extremes. Presumably the exaggerately slow, cripped gaits developed because of that loooooooooow head carriage (can't go too fast, too long strided - might kick itself in the jaw. LOL! ) I dunno. Just what I heard. Though I started primarily hunt seat, I did my share of western, but did it in the era when western pleasure horses were expect to have a clear two-beat jog, three beat lope, a FAST walk, and be UP in the bridle, but on a slack rein - the era of braided reins and romels and horses with ARCHED necks.
                          Oh Sandy, I do long for a return to that way of going. And the proper training that went with it!

                          I have another 'explanation' for the peanut-rolling (which, to my eye and despite AQHA's claims, has NOT improved all that much). We were situated next to the warm-up at OKC, and watching performance horses warm up as the WP was about ready to go into the coliseum. My colleague exclaimed all of a sudden "I've GOT IT! I know why that 'look' came about!" Her 'light bulb' theory was that a bunch of trainers got together to figure out how they could attract more amateurs and they came up with this look because to achieve it, one had to resort to methods that no amateur would or could do to her own horse, so they'd HAVE to have professional training. Wellll, there might be something to that. Considering some of the 'training' methods involved. But we won't go there.....
                          Equine Photography in the Northeast


                          • #93
                            I see the WD movement as a rebellion against the WP and "Hunter Pleasure" seen at the breed shows. Good for them!

                            It's also a way for dressage trainers to expand their client base as Western riders seek advice as to how it's done. Also good. As long as the dressage trainers don't get all pearl-clutchy about big gaits and such...


                            • #94
                              A big part of WD is "giving the (paying) people what they want." If that's a saddle with a horn, flatter-moving horses they can sit (and afford), the thoroughly American vibe of dressage as a reaction to perceived EuroSnottiness.....

                              Then make room for them and their money! After all, if you show them the door, they will exit the sport and spend it elsewhere. Maybe they could have learned to ride and train more correctly. Maybe they'll do cheesy, bastardized dressage and never know what they were missing. It will be a missed opportunity.
                              The armchair saddler
                              Politically Pro-Cat


                              • #95
                                I'll say it again - I REALLY hope western dressage returns to the roots of a lot of cowboy riding which was essentially dressage on a horse who had to go work on a ranch and had to be responsive and balanced on terrain, working cattle, etc. I learned my dressage basics from an old cowboy and they still help me today while I ride with a de Kunffy trained instructor. We were working on controlling my horse's rib cage at the canter to be able to adjust him toward the idea of working on changes and after the lesson my mom (who had been totally confused by most of my lessons) was very excited, because she recognized it as the same work she had been doing in her snaffle riding with that cowboy in the 1980s.

                                If you take the size of gaits/suspension out of your scoring but reward the larger gaits and increased suspension and uphill movement which come from correct training, I can see many classical dressage enthusiasts who would still like to show switching to western equitation saddles and getitng out there to show western dressage.

                                Will it happen? I have no idea. But learning about impulsion, balance, bend and lateral work to help a horse is something which can help every discipline.
                                If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


                                • #96
                                  Originally posted by cjgatesman View Post
                                  The perspective I have gained from the Arabian show ring and also from some of the quarter horse people is that while they enjoy riding and showing western pleasure, most do not support the current trends of how these western pleasure horses are presented in the show ring. The Arabian folks dont like the hock-hobbled, going nowhere gaits and the quarter horse folks dont like the peanut rollers with their noses on the ground. Some of the Arabian riders I know want a horse that's more forward, but not speedy and a more freer moving horse.
                                  The Morgan people feel the same way. Most Morgans are pretty forward, and trying to restrain their exuberance to get the slooooow WP movement makes them mad! Forget the WP ideal "draped rein" with a Morgan, and in fact the breed show standards say that obvious contact with the bit must be maintained. But the judges are rewarding slowwww anyway. Not too different from Arabs, really.
                                  You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                                  1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                                  • #97
                                    Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                                    I attended a western dressage clinic at Equine Affaire. The audience was packed. The clinician (who I thought was not very good) had a difficult time explaining basic concepts to the enthusiastic audience.

                                    What struck me was how involved the audience was in what a dressage person would consider basic. Contact, self carriage, through, all of these basic things were new and complicated to them. Yet they were excited to have the secrets of doing dressage revealed, it wasn't boring or snobby, it was fascinating. As I watched I realized that these people came to realize that riding figures in a sand ring with a little white fence wasn't JUST pattern riding. I think it's something that they thought was out of their reach before, and a sport that didn't really welcome them.

                                    Given the opinion of many people on this BB I think that they are right, it's not fair to bash western dressage and tell people that all they have to do is change their tack and get an expensive dressage trainer. I think we should be welcoming people to dressage any way they want to get here.

                                    I think that western dressage has the possibility of attracting a whole new group of people to the sport, and that maybe some of those people, still hungry after their introduction to western dressage, might want to buy that dressage saddle and come on over a bit more.

                                    I didn't read the whole thread yet, but I was taken by your response, ETR - though I am not western at all, to me the kind of interest and enthusiasm you describe would be a great motive for folks outside of dressage to want to learn about it - I just felt bad for the crowd that they didn't have a great clinician - hope they all will get the chance to hear a great one soon. meanwhile, the improvement of our horse's way of going, and understanding other ways to see your horse's movment, power and training is the reason to learn about dressage.
                                    My warmbloods have actually drunk mulled wine in the past. Not today though. A drunk warmblood is a surly warmblood. - WildandWickedWarmbloods


                                    • #98
                                      I attended a WD demo on Friday evening. Jackie Ross presented and was very thorough. Although her name is practically synonymous with Morgans these days, she has a strong background in dressage and eventing.

                                      Based on discussions here on COTH, I was very interested to hear that WD is NOT supposed to be identical to regular/classical dressage - it's supposed to show the softness, flexibility, suppleness, obedience of a horse that would have been doing WESTERN work. This requires moving out, stretching, striding up, being relaxed in an active sort of way, having the engine in the back and using the hindquarters. Just (in some ways) DIFFERENTLY than an English dressage horse.

                                      She also talked about bits. While the expectation is that snaffles will be required in the near future (next year, perhaps), the western horse is trained to be light in a curb. Again, the use of a curb on a western horse is DIFFERENT than using a curb bit on an English horse. The contact is VERY different.

                                      She also mentioned that WDAA, which is under the auspices of USEF (or whatever the correct phraseology is) is only two years old. It's maturing. It's learning. It hasn't yet reached its goals.

                                      Jackie, I hope I interpreted what you said correctly. Or that my 'take' on what you said is in line. If I didn't, I will delete this immediately!

                                      Thanks for a SUPERB lesson in western dressage.
                                      Equine Photography in the Northeast