Western Dressage - Thoughts ? - Page 5 - The Horse Forum
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post #41 of 502 Old 11-22-2012, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Captain Evil View Post
I agree with you, Longride. "Dressage" translates roughly as "Training" so in a sense you can't really even say "I ride dressage," any more than you can say "I ride training."...
Pet peeve time:

Dressage, as an ENGLISH word, refers to a specific style of riding. The style uses a deep seat, long legs, rider-cued to train the horse in what I consider to be pretty spectacular and impressive movements.

If we start using "dressage" to mean "any training", then what word do we use when we want to describe "dressage"? My avatar is a picture taken while I was working on Mia's training as a trail horse. If that is dressage, then what word do we use to describe this:

Because that is a different approach to riding from this:

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
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post #42 of 502 Old 11-22-2012, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Kayty View Post
AMEN, Tigo!!!!

I could not agree more with that statement.
In my very honest opinion, "Western Dressage" is great for those in the community, who don't do well in standard western events, but are equally as incapable at riding true Dressage.
Isnt this exactly one of the reasons its going to become so popular - because it is aimed at western riders who either dont want to become involved in other western events for whatever reason (not essentially because they dont do well in them) but dont want do ride what we see as 'true dressage' - again not essentially because they are incapable in actual ability but because they want to ride western style because they always have and they dont want to have to buy dressage saddles and black jackets and the required headgear and breeches and boots - they want to ride in their cowboy hats and jeans and shirts and compete on their quarter horses or whatever other breed they happen to own that would struggle to hold its own against a warmblood - we went to watch a low level dressage event recently and 90% of the horses were 16.2 plus warmbloods

I think this is the highlights difference between the type of horse that does dressage and the type of horse thats being seen in the western dressage - two very different styles but not such different techniques to get the results but the two horses could not compete against each other
This is an old clip of Holiday Compadre in his world champion freestyle reining that inspired the owner to evolve it into what we are calling western or cowboy dressage

Even the dressage we recognise today is different to the original Haute Ecole classical dressage style (1600's) that it evolved from and that still exists.
Maybe the fact that I dont ride western and my 'english riding' is more focused on (UK) Working hunter classes with a lot of actual hunting, some cross country and a bit of one day eventing makes me less inclined to get my knickers in a twist about it
Perhaps they should have thought of an alternative name as bsms suggested and then not offended anyones sensitivities.
I can honestly say that in my lifetime I have seen some pretty awful things that warranted the hands thrown up in horror reaction - WD/CD does not even come close!!!
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post #43 of 502 Old 11-22-2012, 12:20 PM
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If the western pleasure classes are going to be nothing but moving so slow that the horse looks lame, it really leave the ordinary people out of something to do in the western world if they don't work cows or barrel race. This is most likely a response to the extremes that western pleasure has gone. I watched several of the videos and they looked like normal horses. I don't quite get the whole reason that the WD riders that I watched hold the reins out so far wide that the horse can see their hands.

I agree with several people that they could use a new name for the sport. I would suggest "the way people used to ride".
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Carpe Diem!
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post #44 of 502 Old 11-22-2012, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by bsms View Post
Actually, since we aren't French, it is incorrect. Or if not incorrect, at least confusing. If we want to convey the idea of "training", we have a word for that - training.

I have no objection to folks doing these sorts of things. It is the name that grates on me, because what they are doing isn't really western OR dressage. When my horse starts prancing down a wash with her nose against her chest, I don't look at my saddle and claim I'm doing "Australian Dressage"...

Hahaha LMAO ! I love it, gonna have to add that to my list of ready to use smart a#$ answers . Woulda been perfect at Miss Emma's first endurance race, she decided bouncing sideways down the trail was a cool thing to do. Sometimes on all fours and sometimes on just ther back feet,
"So ummm are you ok ?"
"Yep I'm just doing my Aussi Dressage"
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post #45 of 502 Old 11-22-2012, 01:03 PM
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^^^ Joe4D & bsms - I have been doing it (aussie Dressage UK style) for years and on many different horses so I am something of an expert
You keep cool, maintain your composure, smile, nod and say
"Actually I asked him/her to do that"
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post #46 of 502 Old 11-23-2012, 07:19 AM Thread Starter
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I am not a Dressage Rider, but have been around it, but is Dressage not a form of Artistic Expression with a Horse?

Does a Saddle make it possible or not possible for a Horse to perform? Being a novice, I can look at a close contact English Saddle and a Dressage Saddle and wonder if the differences make it impossible for the Horse to perform it's moves?
In that perspective if you have a close contact type of Western Saddle, can the Horse not receive the same or similar Aids to perform Dressage movements?

I know there are many levels to Dressage, but does not combining Western and Dressage allow more people to be involved in a beautiful artistic expression of Horsemanship at certain levels?

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post #47 of 502 Old 11-23-2012, 08:56 AM
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There are many contradictions in the arguments against WD.

The back can't be free in a western saddle but Buck and Richard Caldwell's horses move with free swinging backs. There's a lovely video of Richard doing an extended trot working cattle and I can find lots of ranch horses in a long trot that is free and swinging.

The saddle doesn't allow fine cues with the seat - but reiners and bridle horses work entirely off the seat.

A horse worked above 2nd level collection can't handle extensions and rough terrain - but one of the top endurance horses was known to be working 3rd level. He was top year after year and his rider attributed it to the gymnastic work done in dressage.

A dressage horse is rider dependent - but see above,and my own experience is that my upper level dressage horses were also the most confident and wonderful at picking up new games, be it cross country, trail or playing with cows. Good balance makes horses confident.

The problems come when riders become too focused on their own particular specialty. The trainer who plans for all his horses to be good all around mounts gets that even when the horse becomes a specialist. Pure dressage work can only be done for about 45 minutes at a time and is not necessary every day - that leaves many many hours when the horse can be doing other types of work that keep it versatile and sane. It's like time in the gym. Yes, it can be overdone and become an obsession. That's a trainer problem.
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post #48 of 502 Old 11-23-2012, 09:09 AM
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Here are my issues with WD. Bad dressage training is rewarded in WD. If you want to train your western horse in dressage, with a western saddle. Go for it. I would be glad to support you 100% in your efforts. As long as you are honestly attempting to embrace the core concepts of dressage, and to create a happier, more supple horse that uses it's body more effectively, then I say go for it.

But that's not what is occurring. What's happening is that people who don't understand the concepts in dressage are attempting to emulate it. However, the very basics of real dressage are not being shown, or taught. So instead of broadening interest in the real benefits of dressage, you guys are ending up with ponies that have every bad habit that a piss poor dressage rider would instill in their horse. If you're going to emulate us, could you at least pick our good points? Its kind of silly to set about copying dressage and then ending up duplicating everything you hated about us in the first place.

Lets compare WD and real dressage:
This is an 80+% score in western dressage:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBY2_E9BiIY
It say's on the video description, "This video is meant to be an educational and inspirational video to show what the judges are looking for in a Western Dressage horse."

The test sheet for USEF Western Dressage Primary Level Test 2 - http://www.flatheadeventing.org/docu...maryLevel2.pdf

The Primary Level 2 is closest to our Training Level Test 2.
Training Level Test 2 sheet: http://www.bakersfielddressage.com/u...leveltest2.pdf

So here's a kid riding a Training Level Test 2 in 2010. She only got a 71%: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuW0u4pHBwI
I had a hard time finding anything in real dressage that was greater than a high 60% so I could accurately compare a great dressage ride to a "great" WD ride. We'll just have to use a good dressage test ridden by a kid and compare it to an professional adult rider instead.

On the WD video, at 4:54, they pick up the left lead canter. What happened there would've earned me a 5, tops. He got an 8. How can we possibly take WD seriously when judges think even piss poor execution is so awesome it deserves an 8? Horse isn't tracking up. It's tight through it's back. It has a curb bit and tight reins. It's forced into a high headset. The leg's are coming higher, but not reaching out. The horse is tight, stiff, and doesn't have a natural swing to it's back. It's back is hollow. It's closed through the throat latch and braced in the neck. Did I mention it's braced in the neck... That thing is going to have some massive muscles in the underside of it's neck if they keep training it like that. How can that be an 80+%???? (side note: my goodness that guy cannot sit a trot. I felt sorry for that horse).

Now watch the kid in the dressage video. The horse is swinging nicely through it's back. It's reaching out toward the contact of the bit, and has a nice open throat latch. It has a nice regular tempo and rhythm, with ground covering strides that reach forward and under the body. The rider isn't very consistent in the contact, but you can see her drop the inside rein at times to give the horse room to use it's neck. You can tell the kid has some problems with contact, but she's much kinder on the horse than the WD rider with his shanked bit and absolutely no release from pressure.

Out of those two tests, which was the better ridden test? Which horse seemed happier, more relaxed, more responsive? Which horse looked like it was using it's whole body?

In my eye's there's no comparison. The dressage horse was being trained in a way that allows the horse to develop it's whole body, and with that you can start on collection. The WD horse will never achieve collection while being ridden the way it is. It cannot use it's body effectively, and the best that horse will ever accomplish is exactly where it's at right now (a very basic pattern class). If that's all you ever want.. go for it, but you're going to miss out on something really amazing.
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Last edited by core; 11-23-2012 at 09:16 AM.
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post #49 of 502 Old 11-23-2012, 09:34 AM
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And the odd thing is the same judge is giving those 8s that was judging the regular dressage classes at that show, so if the scores are inflated, the problem isn't WD, it's the judging. The interesting thing would be to see what kind of scores the INTRO and Training level horses were getting there. I asked a show manager who had had WD dressage classes at all her shows this year if she saw a difference in the scoring. She said not really - the scores were about the same. Intro and Training level horses tended to get very high scores as well. After all, the requirements are so low, especially for Intro.

Cowboy Dressage is a bit different, but both the WDAA and NAWD do require the same levels of accomplishment for the lower levels shown in regular dressage. I think the curb will disappear from the lower levels as riders find that getting bend in a lower level horse in a curb usually results in the horse going hollow, but there's a lot of education to be done.

BTW, the vast majority of instructors that have started teaching western dressage in the last year are dressage instructors who already have strong dressage programs. This was certainly true at the Train the Trainers symposium held by the WDAA. It will take more than 2 years to have educated competitors.
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post #50 of 502 Old 11-23-2012, 10:31 AM
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I do think that people need to stop comparing it to european dressage and see it as a 'stand alone' sport.
The tests I looked at on the Cowboy Dressage site asked for walk,jog & lope - how could you really compare the judging of those paces to the collected paces in conventional dressage - you cant.
It also definitely needs its own judges
You wouldnt compare the style of riding/handling for scurry speed jumping to the way you ride a horse in a puissance competition.
This child scored 65% in her pony club dressage test (please no comments) and her performance no way resembles someone working at FEI levels - but still called dressage and still giving someone pleasure and encouraging them to do something with their horses
A lot of supporters of Classical dressage think that 'modern dressage' is an abomination
I've seem plenty of high placed dressage horse that looked painfully stiff and restrained so I cant see that as a good comparision for critique
If Cowboy dressage or western dressage really offends you so much then maybe just keep away from it - as long as cruelty isnt involved and people are enjoying doing it then why worry? You enjoy what you do so allow these people the same priviledge.
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