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Western Dressage confusion! UPDATED!

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  • #21
    Originally posted by HappyTalk View Post
    No one is talking about teaching lateral flexion on a curb. Most western trainers start with a snaffle and work to the horse wearing a curb. There are plenty of curb type bits with rotating mouthpieces (the Myler type bits) that allow one side of the mouth to be affected.
    If you use two hands on a curb, we're talking about imparting differential pressure on those reins (unless both hands are working exactly together, and then why two hands?). Ergo, lateral flexion.

    Pulling on a leverage type bit differentially will act tend to lift the mouthpiece on one side rather then the other as a result of the leverage (just try it), and encourage counterflexion at the poll. The horse may eventually learn to ignore that action, but it's counterproductive and counter-intuitive.

    Curbs are not two-handed bits. People use them that way, sure, but people do lots of other odd things too (like ride curb bits on contact). Lots of good horseman talk about how people usually move from one bit to another after they flunk out of one bit, and I've seen it myself plenty of times.

    Whatever floats your boat though.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #22
      I took my first dressage lesson this weekend! It was much harder than expected, mainly because I have a lazy QH who doesn't want to use himself! Anyway, my eyes have been opened, and I'm still very excited about this! Now, if only I can convince someone to start Western Dressage classes at shows in AZ..........

      Comment


      • #23
        WD is slowly taking off in Texas and some parts of Texas have more classes and clinics than others; it's really a sport that is in its infancy stage. Best to take classical dressage lessons and just wait for it to evolve and grow.

        The rules on things like bits, use of flashes, & allowing a rider an ear piece with the trainer coaching during a test, use of microphones by callers, etc. have changed even in the last few months. Quite frustrating but it will have to play out.

        Its not worth too much time & effort till the basic competition rules become more firm - IMO.

        Comment


        • #24
          Let me offer some perspective on that two hands on the curb issue.

          When WDAA started, and the tests were first out, it was either snaffle (two hands allowed), or move to the curb, with one hand and you got bonus points.

          The curb is normally introduced in a regular dressage horse at a higher level. The compromise was made in WD as so many horses that were already wearing a curb came over, so they had to allow the curb at the lower levels. But then, people complained that some of us were getting extra points for going one handed - so they took it away.

          And then? Because judges asked, they made the decision to allow two hands on the reins because *that was what they were used to seeing.* While dressage principles are the same, a jog is not a trot. An extended jog is not an extended trot. Even in WD, I have had judges ask us to POST the jog and mark me down if I didn't.

          Back to the reins issue - so, they took away the extra points for riding one handed (boo) and allowed two hands on a curb. While a leverage bit, with only light contact, there is still a small amount of direct reining that occurs. And? The dang tests currently do not reward neck reining. At all.

          So, some of us, who have lovely Western horses, who go in the curb with one hand beautifully - yes, you will see us with two hands on the reins because it is what we get on our comment sheets as to what the judges want to see. Do I like it?

          Do we score in the 60's and 70's?

          Comment


          • #25
            It's a little hard for those of us on the outside to have too much regard for a discipline that requires incorrect riding and willful disregard for tradition given the mission statement of most of the organizations preaches the exact opposite (though it's very like modern dressage if that's the case).

            Or in other words, why on earth would you ride badly just for points? Why risk creating bad habits which will ruin your riding outside the ring?

            Comment


            • #26
              Originally posted by JumpQH View Post
              I took my first dressage lesson this weekend! It was much harder than expected, mainly because I have a lazy QH who doesn't want to use himself! Anyway, my eyes have been opened, and I'm still very excited about this! Now, if only I can convince someone to start Western Dressage classes at shows in AZ..........
              If I am not mistaken, there is at least one schooling show in the Tucson area that has Western Dressage Classes. If you are not near Tucson, why not call the contacts to your local shows and ask if you can ride intro in western attire and tack? Worst they can tell you is "no", and it might get you some showing and feedback.

              Sure wish there had been something like this when I was a kid. My mother had some aversion to English riding, WD would have solved half our fights!

              Comment


              • #27
                Originally posted by CA ASB View Post
                Let me offer some perspective on that two hands on the curb issue.

                When WDAA started, and the tests were first out, it was either snaffle (two hands allowed), or move to the curb, with one hand and you got bonus points.

                The curb is normally introduced in a regular dressage horse at a higher level. The compromise was made in WD as so many horses that were already wearing a curb came over, so they had to allow the curb at the lower levels. But then, people complained that some of us were getting extra points for going one handed - so they took it away.

                And then? Because judges asked, they made the decision to allow two hands on the reins because *that was what they were used to seeing.* While dressage principles are the same, a jog is not a trot. An extended jog is not an extended trot. Even in WD, I have had judges ask us to POST the jog and mark me down if I didn't.

                Back to the reins issue - so, they took away the extra points for riding one handed (boo) and allowed two hands on a curb. While a leverage bit, with only light contact, there is still a small amount of direct reining that occurs. And? The dang tests currently do not reward neck reining. At all.

                So, some of us, who have lovely Western horses, who go in the curb with one hand beautifully - yes, you will see us with two hands on the reins because it is what we get on our comment sheets as to what the judges want to see. Do I like it?

                Do we score in the 60's and 70's?
                That just shows you that some don't know what they are requesting when they want to make an English discipline look acceptable to western riders.

                When you are at a point to "introduce a curb bit" in dressage, you don't just do that, you ADD a curb to a snaffle.
                You then learn to ride with TWO reins, not one handed.

                Doesn't really seem that the ones wanting to get western dressage to progress have all their eggs in their technical basket quite yet, requiring riding with two hands on western bits just because dressage at one point start adding a curb.

                Comment


                • #28
                  Point is - it is a different discipline. Not just English dressage with Western tack.

                  That is what the promoters want. It is currently a bit hamstringed by the fact that the judging pool that is available judges a *similar,* yet different discipline and the most common reaction that they have when first asked to judge it is, "WTF?" They then do so, and usually react with pleasant surprise as to how nicely and quietly many of us ride.

                  It is not the folks advancing WD that are asking for the two hands. It was driven by the judging pool (as I'm told, and as supported anecdotally by my score sheets when I was riding single handed).

                  I believe the new, higher level tests require a single hand on the reins with a curb.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by CA ASB View Post
                    Point is - it is a different discipline. Not just English dressage with Western tack.

                    That is what the promoters want. It is currently a bit hamstringed by the fact that the judging pool that is available judges a *similar,* yet different discipline and the most common reaction that they have when first asked to judge it is, "WTF?" They then do so, and usually react with pleasant surprise as to how nicely and quietly many of us ride.

                    It is not the folks advancing WD that are asking for the two hands. It was driven by the judging pool (as I'm told, and as supported anecdotally by my score sheets when I was riding single handed).

                    I believe the new, higher level tests require a single hand on the reins with a curb.
                    A different discipline won't make the mechanics of bits change.

                    I know that western dressage is new and trying to find it's way.
                    That is good, but don't forget to listen to what already works and why.

                    I would say that any training, western or English or whatever we want to call it can be accomplished very well with direct rein on a snaffle, so do use that for the lower levels, as it is in standard western and dressage riding.

                    When a curb is introduced, if western, do require what that western curb demands, minimal to no direct contact and one hand.

                    If western dressage wants to ask for real contact with a curb, then demand the double bridle of standard dressage for those levels.

                    What any well trained horse at the higher levels is asked for in many disciplines is self carriage.

                    While not exactly classical, riding in such self carriage that you don't need even a bridle, the other aids suffice, in the higher levels of dressage has always been found in the circus, or in some western events, like in reining and cutting, or in the more rare doma vaquera.
                    Meaning, training so a horse can perform whatever is asked of in the most efficient way for it's structure and carrying a rider, that is what dressage is, can be adapted to most any kind of basic training, under any name.

                    The differences will be the ultimate goal of dressage as a discipline is not the same of most western disciplines.
                    In a way, I think that western dressage as a name is misleading those pushing for it by wanting then to base it on dressage as a discipline, not have formed it's own training scale for a western horse.

                    Then, no one said western dressage had to be about what makes sense.
                    It seems to be one more way to use our horses, to get others to participate, so what, as with other goofy stuff we do with our horses, why not?

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      The issue currently for many of our horses is that some have been working at the higher (curb) level, and the tests are at lower levels - snaffles are only used with 3-4 year olds in the Western world (hmm, maybe some 5 year olds), and some of us at breed shows can only show the first year in a snaffle.

                      Personally, we either work in a bosal/hackamore, or the curb. My mare doesn't seem to like any sort of snaffle, never has.

                      And the reason they are calling it western dressage is that it is supposed to be it's own training scale. It is NOT dressage (as in the judged discipline). If anything, it is closer to classical dressage or what the bridle horses were.

                      I would love it if the progression eventually had it so you could show in a bosal.

                      As for us, (and many of us starting in this), we haven't been working in a snaffle for, hmm, over 10 years now. We were asked by a clinician to use a snaffle in a clinic. My mare fussed and fussed over the bit. Was tense and exhibited zero softness. Changed her to a curb - soft, no fussing. Changed again to no bit, same result. Getting that beautiful self carriage.

                      I agree that when the curb is used in Western it should be one handed. But that is not what the *pool of available judges* stated, so, for the moment, two hands are allowed, and one hand is not rewarded (at least give us that!)

                      And, really, Bluey, why are you trying to pick a fight here? I'm just trying to explain why things are the way they ARE. I flipping agree that if there's a curb it should be one-handed. BUT IT ISN'T.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by CA ASB View Post
                        The issue currently for many of our horses is that some have been working at the higher (curb) level, and the tests are at lower levels - snaffles are only used with 3-4 year olds in the Western world (hmm, maybe some 5 year olds), and some of us at breed shows can only show the first year in a snaffle.

                        Personally, we either work in a bosal/hackamore, or the curb. My mare doesn't seem to like any sort of snaffle, never has.

                        And the reason they are calling it western dressage is that it is supposed to be it's own training scale. It is NOT dressage (as in the judged discipline). If anything, it is closer to classical dressage or what the bridle horses were.

                        I would love it if the progression eventually had it so you could show in a bosal.

                        As for us, (and many of us starting in this), we haven't been working in a snaffle for, hmm, over 10 years now. We were asked by a clinician to use a snaffle in a clinic. My mare fussed and fussed over the bit. Was tense and exhibited zero softness. Changed her to a curb - soft, no fussing. Changed again to no bit, same result. Getting that beautiful self carriage.

                        I agree that when the curb is used in Western it should be one handed. But that is not what the *pool of available judges* stated, so, for the moment, two hands are allowed, and one hand is not rewarded (at least give us that!)

                        And, really, Bluey, why are you trying to pick a fight here? I'm just trying to explain why things are the way they ARE. I flipping agree that if there's a curb it should be one-handed. BUT IT ISN'T.
                        And, really, why do you think "I am trying to pick a fight?"

                        I thought we were talking about disciplines and how this new thing called western dressage may work and thoughts on why and why not and what matters here, if at all.
                        Why so touchy?

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          So many times on this forum I see people complain that their horse doesn't like such and such a bit, or goes better in another, so they switch. I'm sorry, but baring fit that's a cop out. There's really no justification for going to a curb because someone can't ride a snaffle, assuming any real respect for the path of building a traditional western bridle horse (which these western dressage people seem to at least strongly hint at).

                          So your horse doesn't go as well in a snaffle...ride him more in it! My horse goes as well in a side pull, snaffle, 5/8 bosal, and 3/8 bosalita BECAUSE the time was taken with all of them. Yes, I plan to eventually ride in just a spade, but that doesn't mean he can't (or won't) go in a snaffle anymore once we're through the two rein and into the bridle.

                          I've no idea why you're claiming WD has to have curbs since people will somehow have forgotten how to ride snaffles. All that says to me is that they never really finished the horse in the snaffle before moving on. Wide, gaping training holes aren't the right justification for rule changes, much like removing the halt at Grand Prix didn't fly just because Anky claimed her "advanced" horses somehow didn't need to remember their basics anymore.

                          No disrespect intended, but the whole discipline rationalizes building rules around the most common denominator, rather than correctness or tradition. Makes for big classes, but that's a pretty sad goal.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            I got sucked in to WD by a pearl-clutching thread in the Dressage forum (everybody's not clutching pearls of course). I followed the video link, went to the WDAA and read the rules and am hooked! BTW you can ride in a snaffle so this whole curb bit thing doesn't even have to come into play, especially IMO if you're an affiliate of classical training and self-carriage.

                            What I need to know is where can I compete? I live in PA and ride in Union Bridge, MD.

                            I currently ride a treeless endurance type saddle http://ezfittreelesssaddles.com/ and can easily switch out the English stirrup leathers for Western fenders.

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

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by aktill View Post
                              It's a little hard for those of us on the outside to have too much regard for a discipline that requires incorrect riding and willful disregard for tradition given the mission statement of most of the organizations preaches the exact opposite (though it's very like modern dressage if that's the case).

                              Or in other words, why on earth would you ride badly just for points? Why risk creating bad habits which will ruin your riding outside the ring?
                              Good points.

                              If one sees western dressage (or any dressage) as just another competition discipline, another opportunity to rack up more ribbons, points, place in comparison to other riders, that's one thing. If, however, one sees western dressage as an art, which dressage is, then ask yourself what aktill asks in this thread.
                              Founder of the People Who Prefer COTH Over FB Clique
                              People Who Hate to Rush to Kill Wildlife Clique!
                              "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Popping in momentarily from the English side, whenever anyone mentions western dressage I'm immediately reminded of those segments from the Buck video with him riding in the pasture. No matter what the tack is, now THAT'S dressage!

                                If you can emulate that, then you've got yourself a nice progressive sport.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  This is "interesting"--

                                  http://chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=372307
                                  Founder of the People Who Prefer COTH Over FB Clique
                                  People Who Hate to Rush to Kill Wildlife Clique!
                                  "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Being deeply involved in the evolution of WD, I know for sure that correct work is at the heart of the discipline. If judges are asking for two hands on a curb, we have some serious training to do. I've worked with "L" judges and the first thing I tell them is don't throw your training away. Do give all three of the basic principles their proper place, which means keeping relaxation as important as forward and straight. Correct dressage work helps the horse and so correct work is required by the WDAA's commitment to the welfare of the horse.

                                    All of us recognize that there were some built in conflicts between the way Bridle horses, most western horses and dressage horses are started and the initial rules for WD. Personally I'll continue working to move the introduction of the curb up to the level it belongs. WDAA now does allow bosals for those who like the Bridle horse progression.

                                    Saying that having a horse that only goes in a curb is a sign of incomplete training may be true, but it misses an important point. We want to teach a different way, but you can't scare people into wanting to change, and for many going suddenly to a snaffle is scary. People are very open to learning more about feel and working with their horses, but they are very averse to being told they've been idiots and bad trainers until they stepped into the dressage arena. WDAA has chosen to try and make the transition easier in the hopes that excitement about a new approach will lead the new dressage riders to get the training and education that give them a correct foundation. I was around when the dressage was the new discipline and it was hunter riders we were trying to attract. A lot of the new riders were a long way from doing correct dressage then too.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      I love the idea of western dressage and I think lots of good western trainers are already doing western dressage, but they just call it good horsemanship. For example, the guy who trained my current riding mule is a reining guy, but he did everything a good dressage trainer would have done with the same ultimate goal in mind - an equine that is light, flexible, capable of extending and collecting himself as required, and responsive.

                                      Also, I am old. :-) I showed western pleasure back in the '60's. My mare was light, balanced, and worked off her hindquarters - "back-to-front" you might say if you were a dressage type. I switched to H/J and dabbled in dressage after that, so I never experienced the "peanut roller" phenomenon that so many people now associate with the WP horse. Thus, I don't see the concepts of western dressage as being new and radical so much as they represent a tentative return to an earlier era.

                                      But, I don't love the idea of simply holding western dressage classes alongside regular dressage classes at regular dressage competitions. I don't believe western dressage ought to be just regular dressage with a western saddle. I think in order for it to be a viable discipline over the long term, it has to retain a sense of being unique and distinct from regular dressage.

                                      I confess, though, that I don't have an good alternative suggestion to holding western dressage classes at regular dressage competitions, especially since western dressage is still in it's infancy and cannot yet sustain itself as a stand-alone entity.
                                      "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                                      that's even remotely true."

                                      Homer Simpson

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        >>>>> if only I can convince someone to start Western Dressage classes at shows in AZ..........

                                        if you line up sponsors ($$$) and guarantee entries, coordinate with show management and it should happen!!!
                                        Appy Trails,
                                        Kathy, Cadet & CCS Silinde
                                        member VADANoVA www.vadanova.org

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Why do people insist on getting into the show ring before they have the training (or confidence) to show? What happened to shows being a test of training?

                                          Again, I struggle with needing to abuse rules simply to accommodate those who aren't yet qualified to show?

                                          Likewise, why even have shows before people know what's being evaluated?

                                          Makes so little sense.

                                          Comment

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