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The purpose of western dressage?

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  • #21
    I get it. When I was a kid I did everything... hunter type shows, schooling events, and also some western. One of the things that attracted me to dressage was that it was organized. There was a standardized system in place, scores for each movement, a scoresheet with explanations. The western classes I rode in were not only boring but it wasn't always very clear why entries were pinned the way they were. The idea that you were competing against a standard and not just against the other people in your class was wonderful to me.

    Plus, western 'pleasure' has become so bastardized with the crippled peanut rollers, ugh. I can totally understand why western riders would be super interested in doing the dressage classes. It makes the focus about the harmony, training, working towards a standard, etc., and not about bling, politics or extreme kinds of riding.


    • #22
      Originally posted by VCT View Post
      Can I go enter Western Equitation/Pleasure/Whatever classes in my english tack and attire??? How about Reining? Don't need a horse for that.... No? Well then, I guess you do get the point the others are trying to make. If you want to participate in a discipline then do it. If you don't, then do Western Dressage. But seriously, to complain that the sport isn't going to completely change to accommodate your wishes.... is just silly.

      Those whose point is that WD exists because dressage won't let them ride in whatever tack and attire they wish have no point at all.


      • #23
        It isn't about attire. It's about method and longevity. The method works no matter what kind of tack is on the horse. It also results in horses who can continue to work hard well into their 20s. Like workouts in a gym help all athletes no matter what their specific skill set, good dressage provides control of balance that allows specific skill development. If the method can be used under western tack, the horse can be tested to see if the goals of the training have been accomplished under western tack. If the horse has another job that requires western tack, why should he be tested in other tack? Driving horses don't have to go under saddle for their dressage test.


        • #24
          Originally posted by longride1 View Post
          It isn't about attire. It's about method and longevity.
          One can physically do sorting, penning, WP, western trail, and just about anything that is done in a western saddle (except roping) in english tack provided the horse has been trained for the job.

          But none (almost none) of those events permit the use of english tack or english riding attire. So it is about the clothing and the "uniform".

          Originally posted by longride1 View Post
          The method works no matter what kind of tack is on the horse.
          So then throw on a cheap dressage saddle and let er rip.

          Originally posted by longride1 View Post
          Driving horses don't have to go under saddle for their dressage test.
          That's because they are not ridden.....non sequitur.

          So no, I don't see any reason for dressage to flex to the whims of people from outside the sport.


          • #25
            gaitedincali - Where is this series? Is it USEF rated? I'm in SoCal and can't find a thing for shows down here (clinics this year, yes) - last year, one rated show that was at Friesian Nationals.


            • #26
              Originally posted by mvp View Post
              Yes. But it looks faster and physically riskier than the usual Western Dressage riders I imagine would like.
              Does anyone know what "the usual Western Dressage riders would like" yet? Not in my area, anyway....

              I think the answer is simple - people want it. There are a lot of accomplished western riders out there who probably don't want to ride "traditional" dressage for many reasons -- breed type, attire, having to buy/change tack, not wanting to hang out with traditional dressage riders...

              I can appreciate all of that. I would love to see western dressage offered at local shows in addition to (or in place of) the trail courses that are often offered. I think it would be especially great for kids to focus on correct riding and getting a score when riding by themselves (rather than in the pleasure or equitation ring). It gives all riders another chance to find the type of competition that suits their skills and those of their horse - and measurable ways to improve their riding.

              I'd love to see 4H shows offer dressage (western and english) at 4H shows instead of trail courses. What a great learning experience for young riders.


              • #27
                Psst, you can rope from an English saddle, you just have to be very handy with the horse and rope so as not to let the calf hit the end of the rope hard.
                Work it like a fish on a line and try to drive it to a trailer, pickup bumper, tree or fence post.


                • #28
                  caballero, I don't understand your comments at all. First, "I like the goals and principles of dressage but I want to ride in a western saddle and wear western clothes" is a perfectly legitimate reason to choose to do western dressage.Why the h*ll else would anyone want to do western dressage?

                  Second, your comment that you "don't see any reason for dressage to flex to the whims of people from outside the sport" suggests that you are ignoring everything the vast majority of people have posted about doing western dressage. I've read all the discussions and I have seen no more than 2 or 3 people (and mostly just one person) say that they want to go to a regular dressage competition and compete head-to-head with the folks riding in dressage saddles wearing breeches, tall boots, and black coats. The overwhelming majority of people interested in western dressage have no interest in doing that. They are looking for an entirely separate activity that embraces the fundamental principles of dressage but is tailored to the western rider.
                  "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                  that's even remotely true."

                  Homer Simpson


                  • #29
                    I believe a good thread that answers the question as to why western dressage even exists is the one comparing engilsh and western methods of riding. Why get frustrated trying to ride *dressage* on a horse that won't be capable of "doing well" at *Dressage* and dealing with (I'm sorry, it's pretty blatant with a few people here) attitude, when one can have a well trained western horse doing Western Dressage, without the "attitude"? And have fun, and compete and have a niche. "You go Uruguay, I'll go mine" (Groucho Marx)


                    • #30
                      There's a WDAA competition at the IFSHA in Lexington VA October 2-6. I'm going to try to show. I can make the 6th schedule-wise. It's a matter of getting there. That's a goal this year.


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


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by CA ASB View Post
                        gaitedincali - Where is this series? Is it USEF rated? I'm in SoCal and can't find a thing for shows down here (clinics this year, yes) - last year, one rated show that was at Friesian Nationals.
                        It doesn't look like it's rated.

                        Info here- http://www.pepperglen.com/westerndressage.html


                        • #32
                          Driving horses don't compete against under saddle horses in dressage classes. They have their own classes/competitions.... so do the western riders now. Don't see a problem.
                          2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com


                          • #33
                            To clarify I think the Western Dressage thing is cool. I may even try it - I recently bought a western saddle! I also think gaited dressage is cool. Basically anything that is a fun activity that allows people to have a good time while practicing good training, riding and horsemanship is great. I don't think that the rules for "regular" dressage need to change.

                            For what it's worth I've had a number of people come to my barn to ride english because they said the western show world was extremely snobby. I was shocked to hear it, but to be honest, after looking at what the clothes and the tack costs, I'm not surprised. You can be on a budget in the english show world and still present pretty much the same picture as anyone else. Not so in the western world.

                            There are lots of perspectives, thats for sure. I don't think black boots, a dark coat, and plain tack is "frou frou" for example. To me it looks understated and classic - it's about showing off the horse. I think all the leather tooling and "bling" in the western world looks really gaudy and tacky. But obviously a few people on this thread feel the opposite. Well, now you have dressage classes where you can use the tack you like...

                            Western Dressage exists because there was a market for it - people who are more comfortable in western tack or enjoy the glitz of it or don't feel comfortable in english tack but who didn't want to compete in the available western sports. Nothing wrong with that. It's still no reason to change the sport of Dressage itself.
                            2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com


                            • #34
                              Having been in WD, the tack requirement there is FAR from WP. It is very understated. I am, by far, the dressiest person when I ride WD when my shirt and chaps match. And that is because that is who I am - I think it shows respect for the judge and the competition. That said, I've seen chinks, jeans with no chaps, and plain shirts. Work saddles, too.


                              • #35
                                Indeed. The rules say there's no bonus for bling. I'm not into riding bling much, heck even seriously deep conversations about turnout make me think I'm in the wrong line of play. I find the attire for WD appealing because it's pretty much every day stuff; jeans (or skirt depending on what you're riding), shirt, working saddle (CA ASB has that right), boots (thing with heel) and a helmet.

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


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by S1969 View Post
                                  I'd love to see 4H shows offer dressage (western and english) at 4H shows instead of trail courses. What a great learning experience for young riders.
                                  I grew up in IL and went through the 4-H program. It was, and still is, offered at the state show. The individual counties are responsible for the format and classes at their own shows. I can't speak for the counties in the Chicago and St. Louis areas (where hunters and dressage have a strong foothold), but it wasn't something popular in my very rural region. Also, it would have required hiring another judge who was qualified, and that unfortunately isn't in the budget for many county 4-H programs.


                                  • #37
                                    In the 80's when I was being taught it, it was to put a solid foundation on a western horse.


                                    • #38
                                      What I don't understand (as someone who started out western and switched over to dressage and hunters) is what is expected in terms of connection in WD.

                                      When I learned to train Western Pleasure, the goal was to get the horse to move from the seat, eventually with no bit contact whatsoever. How does that jibe with actual dressage where connection is something that is sought?
                                      co-author of
                                      Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing's Greatest Rivalry


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by SportArab View Post
                                        What I don't understand (as someone who started out western and switched over to dressage and hunters) is what is expected in terms of connection in WD.

                                        When I learned to train Western Pleasure, the goal was to get the horse to move from the seat, eventually with no bit contact whatsoever. How does that jibe with actual dressage where connection is something that is sought?
                                        Maybe western dressage is not based on western pleasure requirements?


                                        • #40
                                          It's not. There is connection/contact with WD, just as their is impulsion and forward gaits. WD is not WP. It is fundamentally similar to traditional dressage, with western horse gaits in mind. The connection may be lighter than in TD, but the contact is still there (or at least it should be!).