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Western Dressage - Thoughts ?

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    12-11-2012, 09:38 AM
  #351
Super Moderator
Eitan Beth-halachmy has now split from Western Dressage due to his feelings that it hasnt gone in the direction he envisaged - he always saw it as about the Western horse and rider and not about dressage in western tack
He is concentrating on his own Cowboy Dressage tests which will have different lettering and format to conventional dressage.
There is more info on his website and youtube channel
     
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    02-17-2013, 03:14 AM
  #352
Foal
Well, it seems like everyone here who has replied has never done or shown western dressage, so I thought it might be nice to add the opinion of someone whose main discipline is western dressage.

First of all, I think it's very different from other western disciplines, which I saw I lot of people saying that it wasn't. I've riding in almost all different western disciplines, and I can surely say western dressage is very different.

Also, my trainer was one of the co-founders of the discipline, so I guess I have more help and exposure to how western dressage SHOULD be done, than how some people are choosing to do it.

I don't know where all of this stuff about over-doing contact and what not came from, but I've never seen that at shows I've been to. Of course, I show western dressage at Breed A shows, so there might be a lot more experienced people there who know what they're doing. I school my horse in a snaffle, and even warm him up in one before the show. You collect them just the same as you do in a western pleasure class (Morgan, not QH-- their head carriage should look like this, not peanut-pushing. There should be some contact because it's dressage, and that's how dressage is. It's not western pleasure, but you do have to be careful with a curb bit, just like english dressage riders have to be careful with a double bridle.

I feel as though Western Dressage, at the least, provides a very good foundation to other western disciplines, just like english dressage is a great suppliment to other english disciplines. It teaches great horsemanship, and really help you and your horse become balanced and in-tune. I read one of the replies that said that the western dressage tests were easy, but JJ's doing pirouettes at the canter and starting piaffes, so I would say to hold your tongue on that one :) Also, it's a very new and developing discipline! Give it some time to build up a foundation and standards. As it grows in popularity, more difficult tests will be made, and people will start to become more involved. So far, I think that western dressage has done wonders for my horse and I that any other western discipline could have NEVER done, and really, is no less supplimental or beneficial than english dressage is to english riders. It really does teach the grace and standards of english dressage except it has been adapted to western riders, which shouldn't be under appreciated.
     
    02-17-2013, 08:25 AM
  #353
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Opal    
You collect them just the same as you do in a western pleasure class (Morgan, not QH-- their head carriage should look like this, not peanut-pushing.

<snipped>
No less supplimental or beneficial than english dressage is to english riders.
Your quote above is why WD isn't like real dressage. It misses the theory of dressage, the most important concept of real dressage.

I hope that WD evolves, but the fact that a student of WD, who is training with the founder of WD, can't identify a horse that's truly working over it's back... it shows that there is a fundamental gap missing from WD training.
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    02-17-2013, 10:41 AM
  #354
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Opal    
...I don't know where all of this stuff about over-doing contact and what not came from, but I've never seen that at shows I've been to...You collect them just the same as you do in a western pleasure class (Morgan, not QH-- their head carriage should look like this, not peanut-pushing. There should be some contact because it's dressage, and that's how dressage is. It's not western pleasure, but you do have to be careful with a curb bit, just like english dressage riders have to be careful with a double bridle...
THIS refers to this:



Don't know if that is a picture of WD or WP, but it sure isn't how I would want to ride a horse! When a leveraged bit has a lot of tension on the reins, the horse ought to be stopping. IMHO. Using a leveraged bit to set a head frame and calling it collection doesn't strike me as good riding for any discipline...but I'm speaking as someone who doesn't show or compete in anything, so maybe I'm missing some finer nuances.

If so, I'd be glad to hear what they are!
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    02-17-2013, 11:04 AM
  #355
Weanling
Opal, I really appreciate your first hand input, so thank you! However, I'm still having a problem with this-
Quote:
Originally Posted by Opal    
There should be some contact because it's dressage, and that's how dressage is.
There should be no contact because its a curb. Are you allowed to show in a snaffle? Like english dressage? IMO, if we're going to ride with contact, the bit should be a snaffle, if we're riding with loose reins, a curb is fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Opal    
JJ's doing pirouettes at the canter and starting piaffes.
This is awesome!
     
    02-17-2013, 11:08 AM
  #356
Foal
(Whoops)
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    02-17-2013, 11:10 AM
  #357
Foal
@Core
I think that people are frustrated because they want it embody either English OR Western, when it's trying to bring them together. There are going to be concepts about it which look more at the english aspect, and concepts that look more at the western aspect. The collection is different. You don't ride a western horse in a double bridle, so obviously the collection is going to have to be different. Collection is still collection regardless of horse or discipline. It's about what the correct way to collect your horse for what it's doing is, not simply "THE correct way to collect your horse."

Also, he's not THE founder of western dressage. I'll link you to him.
Cliff Swanson | Western Dressage Association® of America

I'd really appreciate you not down-talking me though. I see that this thread has a tense past, but please don't bring that into this discussion. Let's all try to remain civil here. I really want to hear other peoples opinions about it without the passive aggressive words, and I AM nervous talking about it since the vast majority of you seem to despise the discipline and thus seem to naturally despise me before having heard me out completely.

(On a slightly off-hand subject, your horse is absolutely beautiful! Oh my goodness!)

@Bsms (And Tessa too since you asked about contact! :)
Ack! I linked the wrong picture. Lemme go find it and re-link...
Edit: Well, I can't find the photo, but here's an except to give you an idea of what's expected. I'll link the whole article too.

"A Western Dressage horse moving correctly on the bit should demonstrate that he stretches into the rider’s contact. He should not be shown with a draped rein. Instead, there should be LIGHT rein tone evident between horse and rider. It should appear that the horse is seeking a feel of the rider’s hands. While doing this, it should appear that his neck is arching and stretching forward from his body or that he “looks through” the bridle. Riding strong visible rein cues, constantly bumping the bit, or causing a horse to gape his mouth are considered serious faults. Special emphasis is given to a quiet mouth with head carriage that reflects the degree of collection and an appropriate balance for each individual horse. Head and neck carriage are the result of the Western Dressage horse learning to carry the rest of his body in balance. Riders must not take short-cuts to create a head set prior to the horse learning to use his body properly. Riding either one or two-handed is permitted, as is using snaffle or curb. Riders choose the best option for themselves and their mounts."

Link to the rest of the article - http://westerndressageassociation.or...rnDressage.pdf

@Tessa (only XD)
I school JJ in a regular snaffle, so I suppose that's what I mainly mean when I say contact is important (as it's important not only to address the showing style of WD, but the schooling techniques too!) but I probably needed to specify. Also, refer to the quoted bit from the article above because I feel that it explains WD expected contact levels well.

And thank you for the complement! He's getting so good <3
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    02-17-2013, 12:39 PM
  #358
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Opal    
The collection is different. You don't ride a western horse in a double bridle, so obviously the collection is going to have to be different. Collection is still collection regardless of horse or discipline. It's about what the correct way to collect your horse for what it's doing is, not simply "THE correct way to collect your horse."
We don't obtain collection from a double bridle. We obtain it with a snaffle. There are no correctly trained dressage horses that require a double to be collected. Collection should NEVER be different between WD and real dressage, not if you're going to call it dressage. If collection is not collection as defined by USDF, then it's not dressage because it is not demonstrating the theories or concepts of dressage.

Quote:
I'd really appreciate you not down-talking me though.
I'm not 'down-talking' to you. I'm explaining why what you're showing as "collection" is not collection defined in dressage. That's the western idea of what collection is, and it's nowhere near what it means in dressage.

I sincerely wish you numerous years of having a blast doing WD! I'm glad you found something you enjoy and that helps you. I am making one suggestion... that you look into why that picture of the Morgan horse was not correct. I think you could learn a great deal, and improve your enjoyment of WD.
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    02-17-2013, 12:56 PM
  #359
Foal
@Core
It isn't collection as defined by classical dressage, because it's not classical dressage. You're trying to merge two suprisignly different things. I am curious why you say that "Collection should NEVER be different in WD and real dressage."
If you're using different tack, and a different bit, and have different expectation, why shouldn't collection be different too? You don't think that a horse is collected differently in a curb bit than in a double bridle?

Also, I school JJ in a snaffle, not a curb, so I am equally as proficent at obtaining correct collection in a snaffle as you are. Thus, there are no correctly trained WD horses who require a curb to be collected. I never said that you needed a double bridle to collect, only that collection in a double bridle is different than collection in a curb. We both collect the same way in a snaffle though.

I don't think you read the other stuff I posted, and perhaps I should have suggested it after I ended what I wrote to you. The picture was a wrong link, and was a terrible example to top. I quoted what kind of collection is looked for in WD too.

"A Western Dressage horse moving correctly on the bit should demonstrate that he stretches into the rider’s contact. He should not be shown with a draped rein. Instead, there should be LIGHT rein tone evident between horse and rider. It should appear that the horse is seeking a feel of the rider’s hands. While doing this, it should appear that his neck is arching and stretching forward from his body or that he “looks through” the bridle. Riding strong visible rein cues, constantly bumping the bit, or causing a horse to gape his mouth are considered serious faults. Special emphasis is given to a quiet mouth with head carriage that reflects the degree of collection and an appropriate balance for each individual horse. Head and neck carriage are the result of the Western Dressage horse learning to carry the rest of his body in balance. Riders must not take short-cuts to create a head set prior to the horse learning to use his body properly. Riding either one or two-handed is permitted, as is using snaffle or curb. Riders choose the best option for themselves and their mounts."

And thank you! I felt like we've really come a long way through use of dressage movements and principles, and I really admire classical dressage riders :)
     
    02-17-2013, 12:57 PM
  #360
Trained
Can't help it....sorry....but what do you define as the Western idea of collection, core?
Im not talking showring, im talking every day work/training.
     

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