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So I'm thinking of trying western dressage with my OTTB...

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  • So I'm thinking of trying western dressage with my OTTB...

    Been looking into it more and more. Here are my reasons:

    At 50 my back cannot take a sitting trot so well anymore. Well hot dang, I can post in western dressage tests!

    My Tb likes a looser rein at this point and is going well in a western saddle (I ride better in it, no doubt) I tend to cling less.

    Poor critter had his neck broken up higher by witless early handler. I guess this happens in the Tb world. He cannot flex well in that area and there is no way I will be able to "crank him down" into that position (vet said he'd probably pass out) Yet he likes his work and is supple otherwise.

    It just seems like more FUN and less STRESS. My trainer uses the basic dressage principles for lessons anyway, but we would Never be competitive in the Real dressage world.

    It just seems to suit where I am at this point of my horse journey.
    Anyone else care to chime in?

  • #2
    Go for it! And while you're at it, give barrels, poles, cow sorting, team penning, competitive trail riding, etc. a try. I'm all for doing lots of stuff.

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


    • #3
      Dressage is a very specific way of training horses.
      While it can help practically all horses move better if followed, there are exceptions, as not all horses move as dressage is aiming for.

      Now, the idea of training in a way a horse learns to use itself in the most efficient way, for that horse, can be said, by extension, to be dressage and some do call it that.

      The purist say, well, not quite, while being in general right, dressage is not just about training but, repeating, training a certain way.

      That doesn't discourage anyone, whole associations are forming and have clinics and shows to display their brand of dressage.
      In fact , they are riding the coattails of what dressage as a discipline is, right or wrong they may go about it.

      What you want to do with your horse is not dressage in the sense of what dressage the discipline is.
      You want the dressage basic principles modified to accept your horse's not quite accepted way of going and still have a place to show.

      There are many such places any more, gaited dressage, western dressage and why not?
      All we do with horse is just adding some rules to what we want to do with our horses, all kinds of rules.
      Finding one that suits your horse, as you think maybe western dressage may, is great, as it gives more people more to do with their horses.

      Now, dressage as a discipline, well, that we want basic rules in dressage altered or rescinded, then we have to ask, is it still really dressage?


      • #4
        I'm interested in trying also! And I've read all the "purists" thoughts on the dressage board and considered chiming in on some...but personally the fact that they are actually still going on and people getting so offended at the prospect of western dressage....makes me feel even stronger about trying Western Dressage than traditional dressage. Who cares if it's the same but using different words, or exactly the same as traditional dressage, or if the rules are truly "altered"? Honestly? It should not detract from traditional dressage, so if you don't want to compete in it...fine!

        I suspect WD will attract people like me - I think it would be fun; I have no interest in pursuing WP with my paint mare and this gives us another opportunity for improving flatwork in (what appears to be) a much lower-key setting. I don't have to buy fancy tack or wear white breeches (nor do I have to wear a slinky or cowboy hat). And, although I know that ANY breed can compete in traditional dressage and it "shouldn't matter" (especially at the lower levels and local shows), my stocky solid paint mare is suited to western tack and would probably be more competitive in a WD show than a traditional dressage show. (My opinion only, and I could be totally wrong.)

        I am hoping to find it offered around my area this year....now to figure out if I really would like those fringed black chaps or not.

        Here's my little mare, I think she'd look great in western tack.


        • #5
          She will look awesome in Western tack.

          If it hadn't been for all the pearl clutching I wouldn't have heard of it either. I think Fella does look awesome in my not-quite-Western-but-close tack http://www.flickr.com/photos/5296733...in/photostream

          Yes, and they are still going on about it.

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


          • #6
            While you may call "purist" those that insist dressage as a discipline is a very specific way of training and some of today's "dressage" offshoots are not true dressage, the reality is that they are right.

            Would we call it "English reining", if we decide to have a new discipline that trains a bit like reiners do, has similar patterns to their competition, but is judged with somewhat different rules, to fit what some think "English reining" should be?
            Would it have a good following if it was called "English patterns"?
            Why not use the already successful marketing that reining brings and call it "English reining"
            That is what gaited dressage, western dressage, high school dressage, all those do.

            Well, is it dressage or not, is it reining or not, does it matter?
            Do you need to be accepted by those that work thru dressage as a discipline, if they approve of it or not?
            Just do it and see what you think.


            • #7
              Oh look, here comes one now

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


              • #8
                I don't have a single, solitary problem with doing patterns in western classes/tack. My problem is the word *dressage*.

                Having said that, I think anything you feel comfortable doing with your horse and your horse is comfortable doing with you is what you SHOULD be doing. Regardless of what it's called.
                Ride like you mean it.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by paulaedwina View Post
                  Oh look, here comes one now

                  If I am right assuming what you mean there, I will have to say that you are so wrong.
                  I probably didn't explain myself properly.


                  • #10
                    Paula, could you stop with the *pearl clutching* phrase? I find that to be disrespectful of honest opinions and degrading to women in general.
                    Ride like you mean it.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                      While you may call "purist" those that insist dressage as a discipline is a very specific way of training and some of today's "dressage" offshoots are not true dressage, the reality is that they are right.
                      Well, my argument to this is that traditional dressage has probably evolved since its inception (whenever that was) just like most equestrian sports have done. So I'm not sure that there really is "true dressage" nor are hunters really "fox hunters" and western pleasure isn't really like riding on a ranch. "Today's dressage" is probably the better term for what people want to call "traditional dressage"....and it might continue to change over time, just as all things tend to do.

                      But the short answer really is - who cares? Why does it even matter what it is called? Does using the word "dressage" actually affect those people who ride traditional dressage? Maybe they see themselves at a party and someone like me says "yeah, I ride dressage too" and that would be offensive to them? "Ha! You call THAT dressage?" I don't know.

                      I just think it would be a great way to encourage proper riding and partnership with your horse, in a way that doesn't seem quite as formal or elitist (sorry) to those not already involved in the discipline.


                      • #12
                        What I find really disrespectful is;

                        1. Wherever a WD discussion begins some certain individuals have to show up to pooh pooh the concept.

                        2. Some other certain individuals will come along and derail the thread with side discussions.

                        Here is a discussion that began (in the Western forum no less), "I would really like to try WD with my TB", and what happened?

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


                        • #13
                          fwiw you can post the trot in the first 3 levels of dressage intro/T/and 1st.

                          also, in schooling you can post the trot anytime you want


                          • #14
                            Well, I think being disrespectful because you think someone else was is childish, if that is the reason you are giving for making the remark.

                            This is an open forum. I posted in the hunter section, the dressage section...all over. There's nothing wrong with lots of viewpoints and even heated exchanges. I find they ALWAYS help me to better form and refine my opinion.

                            Lighten up...it's Christmas!
                            Ride like you mean it.


                            • #15
                              I don't think anyone is being childish and I do not believe I have posted any sentiment to that effect. I think some people are being disrespectful.

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


                              • Original Poster

                                Ah well, I appreciate ALL the input. It's not an either/or thing for me, we may actually try a dressage saddle someday ;-)(but not formal training or a show) I've done some "formal" training and it quite frankly sucked due to the harsh instructors. At this point in life my goal is to Have Fun.

                                I was just curious about a *gasp* Tb doing western Anything, if anyone else maybe tried it with their non-stock horse.

                                And I do really like the fact of being able to post through all the "tests". Maybe even there's a part of me that likes it being called "dressage" just a teeny bit. Seems to lend a measure of importance but more to the point, dressage basics are dressage basics and can be ridden in any saddle. Why not have a venue that is a bit more accepting of "we who have no where to go"?
                                Merry Christmas!


                                • Original Poster

                                  PS, I would NEVER EVER post Anything in the dressage forum....way too over the top uptight for me and I just plain don't need the attitude there. Maybe that's why this seems a better fit?


                                  • #18
                                    Thoroughbreds can do Western anything. And as for Western tack; I've heard that some horses prefer it though I have no background to evaluate that sentiment. BTW what do pony horses (thoroughbreds often) on the race track go in -Western tack.

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


                                    • #19
                                      Wylde Sage - if you have experienced harsh trainers - first i am sorry for that - second - that has nothing to do with the discipline and everything to do with the person... there are dressage trainers who are for the horse and who are easy to ride with and kind.


                                      • #20
                                        Wylde, best of luck with it and enjoy. My GMO offers both gaited and western dressage classes and while the participation is low (1-3 riders in the classes) everyone seems to be ok with it. My biggest suggestion would be that you do it in a snaffle- because although shanked bits are allowed in western dressage, I can't imagine judges are going to be pleased to see them used in the existing low level tests. I have no proof or evidence, but that's one of the biggest "WTH's out there about western dressage- the bits allowed.

                                        As for the COTH Dressage forum: asking there about a Dressage instructor who would consider working with me and my gaited horse (Horrors!!) yielded a suggestion, a name and a number that led me to my own amazing little dressage journey with a fantastic instructor: that one thread led to a new way of riding and changed my life with horses. Don't be afraid of some people gnashing on their pixels

                                        Enjoy, have fun, and see where it takes you.