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Western Dressage - Thoughts ?

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        02-17-2013, 01:23 PM
      #361
    Foal
    WDAA defines collection the same way it's defined by USEF, USDF, FEI etc. Bio-mechanically the horse has to do the same things to get there. The progression to train the horse is the same, given that within the dressage tradition there is more than one way to Rome. Otherwise there would be no long discussions on French vs German vs Iberian, etc.

    So the big sticking point is the curb and how it is used. In western work as in classical dressage the horse is taught collection in the snaffle. Only when he works off the seat does he move into the curb. Then the curb should be a signal bit, meaning that the horse reacts to any change in position of the bit long before it creates pressure on the bars by engaging the curb strap. So when I rode my FEI horse in a snaffle I had absolutely still hands and got bend from the leg, seat, and the very subtle changes in pressure that started by the changes in the horses body. The hands did nothing. This is the way the curb acts on a finished bridle horse. Change the flow of energy and the horse will feel it in the bit. Is bend difficult with only a curb - yes. I've seen one long ride one handed in the curb where the horse was properly bent throughout and the rider didn't adjust the reins occasionally. But it can be achieved, and the journey to get there will result in better understanding of seat, balance ---- and bits.
         
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        02-17-2013, 02:00 PM
      #362
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by deserthorsewoman    
    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.
    The FEI and dressage are concerned with collected GAITS. That is a high degree of sustained collection, and the rules of dressage discuss it.

    Most western riding uses collection to refer to a shift in weight toward the rear. How much and how long is variable. That is why western trainers will talk about collection and a 3 year old horse without embarrassment.

    My mare likes to go heavy on the front. Any time I get her to relax, engage her back and shift some of her weight to the rear, she is 'collecting', but it is nothing like a collected gait. Once in a while, she has BRIEFLY moved with what felt like a collected gait to me, for perhaps 4-5 strides, but she doesn't have the strength to sustain it. It feels cool, but she only has done it about a half dozen times.

    That is why collection is at the top of the pyramid in dressage. It takes a LOT of work before a horse can sustain a collected gait, and that is why hearing about a 3 year old horse being 'collected' sounds a bit odd to most dressage riders.

    NOTE: I'm not a dressage rider, nor do I compete in anything. The above is my attempt at understanding the difference between how some of my dressage books use 'collection', and how some of the western trainers I've hired or whose DVDs I've watched use the term. It confused the snot out of me for some time, and that is how I've reconciled the two in my mind.
         
        02-17-2013, 02:09 PM
      #363
    Trained
    Thanks bsms and longride....I am aware of the dressage way collection is achieved and explained. I am from dressage country, literally grew up with it.
    I wanted "core"'s definition of western collection, taking into consideration the different build of the western breeds, including Arabs, Morgans and some ponies(which, IMO,are easier to collect)
         
        02-17-2013, 02:12 PM
      #364
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bsms    
    The FEI and dressage are concerned with collected GAITS. That is a high degree of sustained collection, and the rules of dressage discuss it.

    Most western riding uses collection to refer to a shift in weight toward the rear. How much and how long is variable. That is why western trainers will talk about collection and a 3 year old horse without embarrassment.

    My mare likes to go heavy on the front. Any time I get her to relax, engage her back and shift some of her weight to the rear, she is 'collecting', but it is nothing like a collected gait. Once in a while, she has BRIEFLY moved with what felt like a collected gait to me, for perhaps 4-5 strides, but she doesn't have the strength to sustain it. It feels cool, but she only has done it about a half dozen times.

    That is why collection is at the top of the pyramid in dressage. It takes a LOT of work before a horse can sustain a collected gait, and that is why hearing about a 3 year old horse being 'collected' sounds a bit odd to most dressage riders.

    NOTE: I'm not a dressage rider, nor do I compete in anything. The above is my attempt at understanding the difference between how some of my dressage books use 'collection', and how some of the western trainers I've hired or whose DVDs I've watched use the term. It confused the snot out of me for some time, and that is how I've reconciled the two in my mind.

    Yes, collection takes a very very high degree of muscle development, carrying power and strength. Shifting weight to the haunch and arching the neck is not collection in dressage terms (and IMO in a sport where "dressage" is in the title, we are talking about in dressage terms). It is simply increasing balance, changing where the weight is carried and adjusting the contact.
    Bsms what you are describing with your mare is a half halt. Watch a GP test, every stride is being half halted. It becomes like breathing in dressage - and sustaining, improving and adjusting that gait is what eventually turns into your collected gaits.

    But I digress. The point is I agree with bsms and core. From the WD people I've talked to, WD is judged in the same fashion as dressage. Simply arching the neck or going like how the horse in bsms' post is going (ie out behind,on the forehand, but "in a frame") will get the horses docked marks.
    True WD is judged by dressage judges. *Puts on flame suit* But like anything in breed shows - there is a "breed show version" of the discipline. Breed show dressage and true dressage are like apples and oranges. I imagine it is the same with WD. I run competitions with "normal" or "open" WD and if someone shows up with a "framed" horse that is out behind with a long back - they will be penalized. A good, working frame with correct gaits and a good contact will conquer. Like in real dressage. Want to frame a horse by pulling them into collection? You're going to get a low score in "real" or "open" dressage, regardless of your tack.
    I have no idea how it is in breed land, but I can imagine based on what I've experienced in the past.
    Kayty likes this.
         
        02-17-2013, 02:36 PM
      #365
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Opal    
    @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?
    <snipped>
    There are no correctly trained WD horses who require a curb to be collected.
    That collection in a double bridle is different than collection in a curb.
    If you train the horse in a snaffle, then the concepts/theories should stay exactly the same. You said you train in a snaffle. Maybe I'm wrong, but it sounds like you're saying that you really only use the curb to allow for much finer and more subtle aids to the horse. Is that correct? But the training is done in a snaffle... not a curb. That's the same as regular dressage. I'm not sure why collection should be different if we are using the exact same bit to train our horses with (snaffle).

    Does your horse collect differently in a snaffle vs a curb? Maybe I'm not understand what you're saying?


    Quote:
    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."
    I'll ignore the photo then. And I didn't see your other posts, I'll look for them.

    I realize WD is still developing, but personally I think they need to define collection soon. Like now. They've had enough time at this point to realize that people are interested, and shows are willing to host classes. They know WD will be around for a while. Why is it that the highest level WD can define is a Training level dressage concept (balance)?
    (Balance is not collection.)

    Quote:
    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 :)
    Btw, I honestly admire the people who are the front runners of WD, like you.
         
        02-17-2013, 02:59 PM
      #366
    Foal
    @Core
    I am so thankful that this has evolved into a discussion rather than an argument XD That's how so many things always seem to end when discussing these types of situations, so seeing that we're both willing to be civilized and have a resonable discussion is such a relief.

    I totally agree with you. The WD assosciation really needs to get itself together, but it is SO new (It's been "officially" around since 2008) that it's just have trouble straightening itself out. I've found that WD has been far more successful in-breed (with Morgans) than it has is other breeds, so I am probably a little blind to the problems that arise in open/different breed classes. I do know that there really needs to be a LOT of straightening out though in the near future, and I really hope it successfully evolves into the good things that I'm finding in it already.

    There isn't really a lot of show opportunities higher than the basic things, mostly because there hasn't been enough time for people to become skilled enough to actually show at higher levels. It's hard to come up with a competition-ready set of horses which can perform high level movement like piaffe, passage, tempi, ect. At competition level within the time that WD shows have actually been around. Classical Dressage didn't evolve out of thin air, did it? XD

    Overall, I completely agree with your post this time around. It really does need time to develope, but they need to start developing faster, because as I've seen from other posts, WD has been given a terrible starting reputation and it breaks my heart a little to see people who think that there isn't any potential in it at all.

    Anyway, about the bits.

    Horses do collect quite a bit differently in a curb. A very, very slight raise of the hand is all you need to encourage them to flex their poll and engage their hind-end. Because Curb's are so harsh, you can't really have the same contact with the reins as you can in a snaffle or double, plus you ride with rommel reins, which you use one handed. Of course, if you're collecting properly, you still use leg to encourage the engagement of the hind end as well. Like it was said in the quote above, WD riders are expected to have SLIGHTLY more contact with the bridle, unlike in WP where the horse is ridden with almost complete slack and obvious drape in the reins. With English dressage, there (should) be a straight line of contact from the horses mouth, up the rein and to the lower forearm before the bend at the elbow, which doesn't apply to riding with a curb.

    Now, what really bothers me is that the WDAA is allowing people to ride a curb with two hands. THAT irks me, and definitely makes me want to tell the WDAA to get it's crap together. It'd be so much more appealing if it was just a little more organized, put together, and thought through XD
    bsms and QHriderKE like this.
         
        02-17-2013, 03:15 PM
      #367
    Super Moderator
    If someone wants to do something with their horse that's promoting the industry in general, giving pleasure without abuse of the horse then I don't see what the argument is about - in fact the most of the dislike seems to be that they actually dare to call it dressage
    I have never heard anything so petty and childish in all my life
    How about a bit of tolerance & support for what other people want to do?
    Are WD riders ripping the guts out of showjumping, conventional dressage, eventing,barrel racing, reining? I don't see that.
    Some live and let live would be nice
         
        02-17-2013, 09:59 PM
      #368
    Foal
    I think one of the problems is that there are such extremes out there. You never see the draped reins used in AQHA western pleasure being used on working cow horses except when absolutely nothing is being asked of them. OTOH you don't seen them riding two handed with a curb except for brief periods of correction. If the people writing the original rules felt that draped reins were what they needed to totally avoid, you can see the reasoning behind the wording. I think the two hands on the curb will disappear very soon and we will hopefully be left with the ideal of enough feel in the reins that change in tension in the body, hand and arm can be felt by the horse without overt movement.
         
        02-17-2013, 10:46 PM
      #369
    Foal
    BTW - from the German Federation Advanced Tecniques of Riding. "True collection produces "schwung" and cadence, not just [italics mine] shorter strides.[so shorter strides are a component of collection.] If both hind legs step further forward under the horse's center of gravity, the bent haunches carry more weight and then propel the body powerfully forward and upwards. Because the center of gravity is shifted backwards and the quarters carry more weight, the forehand is lightened and elevated, the horse's neck is arched - according to its conformation - and it shows proud and cadenced steps and strides." So while the wording of the WDAA rules may be at this stage very bare bones, leaving too much assumed, they embody the elements of the German and classical definitions - weight shift to the hindquarters, resulting in a raised and arched neck. There is also wording about the action of the hind legs straight from the USEF rules. What isn't there is the word "schwung" or an equivalent, and I agree the concept needs to be spelled out. Far more than just gaits, however, collection is about protecting and freeing the horse's back, restoring it's ability to support the heavy load of internal organs + rider the way nature intended while allowing full freedom of motion. "Schwung" happens when that's been achieved and so will certainly be a component of WD since a primary goal of WD is about riding for the welfare of the horse.
         
        02-17-2013, 11:05 PM
      #370
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by deserthorsewoman    
    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.
    I wasn't specifically addressing the western idea of collection. I was only referring to the photo of the Morgan and collection as defined in dressage. In that picture, the horse is on its forehand, and in a false frame. You can tell because of how far back the front legs have traveled, how far behind the horse the hind legs are, and how the neck is arched. The horse may be showing balance to a degree, but that's not the same as what a dressage person means when they use the word collection (shouldn't be at least).

    Opal said it was a bad pic, so it's not really relevant to the discussion. I know sometimes its hard to find good free photo's that really show the concepts of what we try to explain on here.

    I'm not knocking western. It was strictly about WD and dressage, which I feel should have very similiar concepts and theories if it contains the name dressage. If they want to adjust tests to better test the training of the horse without giving extra points for gaits, then go for it! Just don't call that pic dressage collection or dressage students will spend hours explaining why its not. :)
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