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
That little kid IS demonstrating the basic concepts of dressage. Plus she rode the test well. She deserved a 65%. She's starting to get the very basics of dressage. The horse is accepting contact with the bit even though it's nose is above vertical. It doesn't resist contact, or avoid it. In the free walk it reaches for the contact. The pony is well balanced and very capable of doing all the movements asked in a fairly well balanced way. It has good clear gaits, is moving forward with energy, and is active off the riders legs. It hind legs step into the print of its front hoof (tracks up). And that little kid is in balance with her horse, uses her aids effectively, and looks like a very competent rider for the level she is at.
That kid is demonstrating dressage....
A WD example:
I expect a heck of a lot more from a full grown adult that's claiming to specialize in WD. (I'm not finding examples of kids doing WD. I wanted to compare apples to apples, but am not finding video's very well today.)
Horse's hind feet are far short of where the front hoof left the ground. It never tracks up. Closed throat latch, falls in quite a lot the canter in both directions, rider has inconsistent contact with horses mouth (bumbing the horses mouth), rider using excessive rein aids to get downward transition (not seat), rider has romel spurs on. Rider is not using seat aids effectively. Horse looks relaxed and attentive though. It wasn't a terrible ride, but I would've placed the kid a lot higher than the WD guy. And the guy's website say's he's a western dressage TRAINER.
I've seem plenty of high placed dressage horse that looked painfully stiff and restrained so I can't 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
Why would you compare the worst of our sport to the best of your sport? Is that what WD is aiming for? Again, why is WD attempting to copy the worst of our sport? The biggest complaints I hear about dressage are the excessive rein contact. So then WD goes and allows two hands on a curb bit with TIGHT REINS. Way to pick the worst of what we've got and really
make it their own.
I can't ignore WD, or "just stay away from it". The WD associations are pushing hard to allow WD at all dressage shows. If we don't let them show at dressage shows, we're closed minded, snobby, pricks.