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Western Dressage

This is a discussion on Western Dressage within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Free complete horse queing in the western style
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    05-31-2012, 05:05 PM
  #11
Ink
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by QHriderKE    
Here's a thread on it..
Western Dressage

LOL I remember that one... Some interesting opinions voiced there if anyone cares for some entertaining reading.


I stand by my original opinion. I think it's an interesting idea, but I don't quite get the point.
     
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    05-31-2012, 05:46 PM
  #12
Weanling
I am one of those people who likes to learn everything. I don't let the wall between disciplines stop me from knowing about the disciplines, and even practicing the disciplines. Western Dressage is one of those, I told you so, kind of things to me. Some western trainers in many areas had actually advanced into giving young students dressage lessons, because dressage is considered by many to teach you the core strength of riding and balance and being one with a horse. It doesn't matter that it is english or western. Dressage teaches you what you need to know to be successful in any area of riding.

Western Dressage is in no way haute ecole or any higher form of high school dressage and equitation. Consider dressage the gymkhana (such a broad term) sport of equitation though. It is learning intermediate-advanced skill, control and manipulation of yours and your horses body. Who cares if it is done in an english saddle or a western saddle? The skills you pick up, what you and your animal can accomplish with it, is amazing regardless.

It is dancing in one of its highest forms.
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    06-01-2012, 08:55 AM
  #13
Ink
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joidigm    
I am one of those people who likes to learn everything. I don't let the wall between disciplines stop me from knowing about the disciplines, and even practicing the disciplines. Western Dressage is one of those, I told you so, kind of things to me. Some western trainers in many areas had actually advanced into giving young students dressage lessons, because dressage is considered by many to teach you the core strength of riding and balance and being one with a horse. It doesn't matter that it is english or western. Dressage teaches you what you need to know to be successful in any area of riding.

Western Dressage is in no way haute ecole or any higher form of high school dressage and equitation. Consider dressage the gymkhana (such a broad term) sport of equitation though. It is learning intermediate-advanced skill, control and manipulation of yours and your horses body. Who cares if it is done in an english saddle or a western saddle? The skills you pick up, what you and your animal can accomplish with it, is amazing regardless.

It is dancing in one of its highest forms.

Fair enough, I don't deny the benefit of cross-discipline training. I myself am a true believe of don't knock it till you try it. I actually started taking dressage lessons about a year ago and I have no doubt it's helped me and my horse grow. So I'm not saying it can't be beneficial. I take issue with the fact that the competition itself hasn't changed enough to accommodate the western style of riding. From everything I've seen you're taking dressage slapping western tack on the horse and that's about the only difference. They completely disregard the roots of the western horse, who was originally intended to be ridden with a certain amount of freedom (hence the reason you don't ride a western horse with contact). I have yet to see a video of a western dressage test where the horse was not in a death-grip with his mouth gaping and looking irritated. See the last thread for detailed posts on why curb bits are not meant to be ridden with contact. I know on their website it says they encourage people to ride in snaffles, but still It seemed like the majority were ridden in curbs in the Morgan show video they have up.
     
    06-01-2012, 08:06 PM
  #14
Weanling
That I don't entirely agree with (meaning I don't like or enjoy that some times it is just english dressage in a western saddle). I also don't like the new "fashion" of dressage. Like with all sports, fashion changes the sport. It is most obvious in western pleasure, with horses moving so slow they're tripping over themselves. Or in english dressage, where the horses are rollkured so hard their tongues are turning blue. Many of the fashions even transition over in between disciplines because rollkur is becoming fashionable even in western pleasure.

I want to say be careful when comparing this new "fashionable" dressage to the true sport. USDF and FEI dressage are hardly "correct" any more in my opinion it has been taken over by fashion so badly. True dressage, which is often times called classical dressage, the basics before haute ecole, you can't find in lower level competition very often, even though time and time again, classical riding out performs.

I believe classical dressage can be applied to western riding without changing the original principles, if you will, of ranch and work oriented riding. The outcome is still the same; you want a supple, well disciplined, round framed horse. You might teach different actions and maneuvers, but you want a strong animal with excellent self carriage and free, natural movement that queues off of the slightest, subtlest movements from the rider. That is the point, in basic need, of dressage. It teaches the horse how to use his body to the best of his natural ability and conformation, mimicking that which happens naturally in the natural world. A well rounded, self carrying animal. That is, or should be, desired no matter what discipline you ride in, no matter what work you do.
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    06-02-2012, 12:11 AM
  #15
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joidigm    

I believe classical dressage can be applied to western riding without changing the original principles, if you will, of ranch and work oriented riding. The outcome is still the same; you want a supple, well disciplined, round framed horse. You might teach different actions and maneuvers, but you want a strong animal with excellent self carriage and free, natural movement that queues off of the slightest, subtlest movements from the rider. That is the point, in basic need, of dressage. It teaches the horse how to use his body to the best of his natural ability and conformation, mimicking that which happens naturally in the natural world. A well rounded, self carrying animal. That is, or should be, desired no matter what discipline you ride in, no matter what work you do.

Here Here. Couldn't agree more. I have gone to many western discipline clinics because they use the classic dressage principles in training younger horses. Dressage in it's simplest form means training... I'm all for anything that improves myself or my horse.
     
    06-02-2012, 02:09 PM
  #16
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joidigm    
I believe classical dressage can be applied to western riding without changing the original principles, if you will, of ranch and work oriented riding. The outcome is still the same; you want a supple, well disciplined, round framed horse. You might teach different actions and maneuvers, but you want a strong animal with excellent self carriage and free, natural movement that queues off of the slightest, subtlest movements from the rider. That is the point, in basic need, of dressage. It teaches the horse how to use his body to the best of his natural ability and conformation, mimicking that which happens naturally in the natural world. A well rounded, self carrying animal. That is, or should be, desired no matter what discipline you ride in, no matter what work you do.
In a way, sure. However, the HEAVY emphasis in "dressage" is the horse, and his gaits/movement: HOW he MOVES. The emphasis in "western" is effect, more WHAT he can DO. As much as I love dressage, even in the lower levels, it does not seem to encourage thinking on the horse's part. We're forever being told not to let him "anticipate"-- but why not? Surely, especially when learning a new exercise, it's very encouraging and satisfying for a horse to boldly offer what he thinks is right! Personally, I don't mind it.

In Western riding, the little I've participated in, there's a lot of "leave him alone", and there are so many varied activities, like trails, and speed events, and that class where you simply SHOW the horse, and have to step around the judge in such-n-such a way...an odd class, but I've never yet seen a dressage show where on-the-ground handling was even a thought.

Certainly I believe the dressage princicples should be known by every serious rider; I also believe in the abilities of the horse, and I happen to really, really admire his speed (though I don't do it much!) and the matter-of-fact attitudes of so many Western horses: who think nothing of raincoats, mud, wind-blown flags, or bellowing cattle.

If we choose to mix up the disciplines, dressage-sport ought to learn from the Westeners as well. I'm not too happy with the blend being developed right now.
     
    06-02-2012, 07:59 PM
  #17
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beling    
In a way, sure. However, the HEAVY emphasis in "dressage" is the horse, and his gaits/movement: HOW he MOVES. The emphasis in "western" is effect, more WHAT he can DO. As much as I love dressage, even in the lower levels, it does not seem to encourage thinking on the horse's part. We're forever being told not to let him "anticipate"-- but why not? Surely, especially when learning a new exercise, it's very encouraging and satisfying for a horse to boldly offer what he thinks is right! Personally, I don't mind it.
When people say to not let a horse "anticipate" while riding dressage, it's not about the horse not thinking. It's about the horse trying too hard to please the rider and anticipates the next movement, and usually will offer it too early. That's fine at home, but when you are riding a dressage test and need to have movements at very specific points, you don't want the horse to guess what you want three strides away.
     
    06-02-2012, 08:04 PM
  #18
Weanling
The last horse I have ridden that was anticipatory? She's a beautiful, amazing animal. She's incredibly smart and one of the most incredible liberty horses I have ever seen. But anticipatory? She'll do three things before you get finished asking something of her, and none of it may have been what you asked.

See, you're getting caught up in the showy aspect of dressage. Like dressage horses are prissy, clean, stalled animals that can't be out in the rain and mud, working with sheep, cattle, and dogs on a range. That is the pristine English image you are getting caught up with, which is also reflected in Western disciplines by the way. They are still working animals though that are just as capable of ranch work as Quarter Horses. You may not know, or just not remember, that the many of the favored dressage breeds, PARTICULARLY the high school/haute ecole breeds, are bull fighting horses. The skills they learn to perform in a dressage arena are used in arenas against bulls. Not a working cow horse, huh?

Dressage is not a submissive, listen to the command of your rider, type sport. It is all about the abilities of the animal and the rider as a team, what the animal is capable of, what the rider is capable of. That the sport of Western Dressage is not meshing to your liking is not the fault of Dressage as a discipline, but the fault of those parading and performing it. They create the fashions and the fads, and there fore the sport as they see fit.

It shouldn't stop you from learning it. My dream horse is capable of pirouettes and flat spins. Of tempi changes and roll backs. Of extended and collected movement. Of sliding stops and levades. I want my horse to capriole and ballotade in the arena and pasture of his own will because he is capable of it and knows it, enjoys it, and performs it with out my guidance. He can work a cow, run a barrel, and piaffe his content down a trail.

My instructor had an Andalusian stud, just 5 years old, a little bit more than green broke, never taught anything of the aires above ground. We'd take him out in the round pen, and the first thing he'd do is roll in the sand. As soon as he was done, he'd get to his feet and jump straight in the air and perform a capriole. He was never taught to capriole, it is an advanced maneuver where they leap into the air, kick out their heels, and land squarely on all four feet. It wasn't perfect by any standard, but that he was capable of it without training... He had such strength and joy in him. He'd run freely, leaping into caprioles and such. I have never seen a Quarter Horse as fleet of foot as this stud is. He'd stop and turn so hard, I swear he could out turn any working ranch Quarter Horse that came through the barn. He was so much fun to just play with. To chase and try to out maneuver him. He was a joy to be around, and I hope the horse I one day buy for my own is just as capable and joyful of an animal.

To me, dressage brings out the best in the animals capability. I hope to bring out the best in my horses capability, to work with me. Not for me, but with me, in what ever we choose to do.
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    06-03-2012, 02:04 PM
  #19
Weanling
I think this topic is geting confused.

I should have been clearer, that I'm not addressing the ideals but merely the current trend in day-to-day activities. I understood, Western Dressage is still being developed, as a US effort to introduce classic principles of dressage to Western-style riders. I'd like to see some Western-style principles put to dressage as well, that's all. For example a "Westage" class might include no-contact curb bits and neck-reining; and some speed as well as lengthenings.

(The anticipation I mention is only an example, to me, of a thinking horse, not the absolute submission that, especially in youth competitions, is so admired. It's really not so hard to adjust the anticipation; but it's not so easy to get a horse eager and wanting to please, if he's dull.)
     
    06-03-2012, 02:36 PM
  #20
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ink    
Fair enough, I don't deny the benefit of cross-discipline training. I myself am a true believe of don't knock it till you try it. I actually started taking dressage lessons about a year ago and I have no doubt it's helped me and my horse grow. So I'm not saying it can't be beneficial. I take issue with the fact that the competition itself hasn't changed enough to accommodate the western style of riding. From everything I've seen you're taking dressage slapping western tack on the horse and that's about the only difference. They completely disregard the roots of the western horse, who was originally intended to be ridden with a certain amount of freedom (hence the reason you don't ride a western horse with contact). I have yet to see a video of a western dressage test where the horse was not in a death-grip with his mouth gaping and looking irritated. See the last thread for detailed posts on why curb bits are not meant to be ridden with contact. I know on their website it says they encourage people to ride in snaffles, but still It seemed like the majority were ridden in curbs in the Morgan show video they have up.
I actually like this western dressage demo pretty well. The gaits look relatively western without so much emphasis on huge mega-movement while also being very free and rhythmic. The horse has an upright carriage on perhaps a slightly shorter rein than traditionally western, but she does not appear agitated or as though her head is being yanked in.

I suggest skipping the first minute and a half of the video. The announcer is just rambling on and the mare appears (understandably) impatient and fidgety... which may lead to the rider being "in her mouth" a little more than otherwise necessary.
     

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