Originally Posted by boots
I'm fairly certain that Sanders cares very much about how he looks, since that is what draws unsophisticated folks to his clinics.
I don't see anything functional about the examples of that riding (the dressage stuff in western gear). And western IS a functional discipline. Whether on the ranch or traveling across country on trails.
I wouldn't use a western curb like those folks do unless maybe my horse was locoed and I chose to stick with him rather than walk home packing my tack!
I guess you might not consider me very functional then, because I don't do trail or ranch work, nor do I train/ride my horses with that in mind. I like to train my horses with athleticism and obedience in mind, not ranch or trail functionality. Of course, that's just me.
Like I said a while back, if you believe that Western disciplines should be "functional" for ranch, cow, and trail work, then I'd go talk to some barrel racers or gymkana people too, because as far as I'm concerned barrel racing benefits ranch work no more than dressage does. I'd rather have a horse trained with dressage concepts and ideals in mind as opposed one trained to barrel race or what not.
I personally divide western into three catagories: Ranch, Rodeo, and Show. Ranch disciplines might be cutting and reining. Rodeo disciplines might be barrel racing and gymkana. Show might be Western Pleasure and Western dressage. That's just how I see it though. A ranch horse, in my opinion, definitely needs to be able to move out more than a western pleasure horse, thus I don't think it fair to lump them into the same catagories.