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Western Dressage - Thoughts ?

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    11-24-2012, 12:01 PM
  #71
Started
Hmmmm...I think I'll go buy a jackass and advocate Donkey Dressage.
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    11-24-2012, 12:13 PM
  #72
Foal
Core - where do you get the idea that WD tests aren't asking the same things of the horse as tests at the same level in regular dressage? Cowboy Dressage, please note, is a different animal, which makes a point of the differences by taking the focus from gymnastics and putting it on "smoothness". WD as put forward by WDAA is carefully aligned with the training pyramid. Those are the tests used by the Morgan division of the USEF and most frequently offered at dressage schooling shows. The requirements at Primary level are the same as those at Training Level. The wording isn't exactly the same but is so close I can't find the difference in meaning. Progressively higher levels will be added, starting with the equivalent of 1st and 2nd level tests next year. If different movements are in the tests, they will still be recognized exercises at the appropriate level and the tests will be changed and improved regularly, just as national tests are in every country. The people writing them have studied not just the tests of the US, but those of the UK, Germany and other countries. I particularly like those of the UK - lots of emphasis on suppleness and constantly changing balance at 1st and 2nd level. They fit well with the traditional size and work patterns of the western horse.

The judging guidelines can be ambiguous, with references to slower tempos and less suspension. They were based on the idea that the horses would be breeds that don't have natural suspension, but the breed shows for Arabians, Friesians and PRE have already adopted WD. They also counteract the perceived tendency in modern judging to reward tension, over tempo work and gait qualities that are simply a product of breeding vs qualities improved by training. The "bias" that has been mentioned even by those with WBs. Those who have been through the L program know that they too try to counter those judging mistakes during the training, but too often the eye is trained by what is seen in the ring. The most difficult part of putting "L" programs together is finding horses to demonstrate truly correct work at the lower levels.

We have two problems right now showing what WD is. Many of the competitors may have studied dressage, but they are showing horses who haven't, and many of the judges are "L" judges who rode Western Pleasure at some point in their lives and think they should throw out all their "L" training and judge WP horses. Then there is that two handed on the curb thing which I really wish would go away, but I think the Morgan folks would have a fit.
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    11-24-2012, 12:14 PM
  #73
Trained
"These WD people don't want to do european dressage, they want to walk, jog lope and ride western style and improve themselves and be the best they can at what they do - not at what you do."

Great! Just don't call it dressage. And preferably, don't call it western, or imply that western riders can improve their riding by learning your new game.

All sports are games. A game like gymnastics is very demanding, and someone playing that game will need to develop an excellent body to progress, but it remains a game. So let me use an analogy with a different set of games: T-ball and baseball.

T-ball is a 'sport' based on baseball. Baseball is too difficult for young kids, apparently, although I remember learning it at about 5. But it is tough to hit a ball thrown at you, and it gets frustrating to keep missing. As I learned in my teens, I have a lazy left eye and don't see in 3 dimensions without glasses, so baseball and basketball remained pretty frustrating for me for a long time.

So T-ball puts the ball on a post, and lets little kids hit that instead.



This is fine by me. It isn't called baseball, and it is meant as an introduction to the real game. Lots of T-ball games don't even keep score, and that is OK too.

But suppose t-ball called itself baseball, and encouraged adults to play t-ball as a substitute for baseball. Suppose they called it "New Baseball". And suppose they wanted major league baseball to open up their baseball games to "New Baseball". Suppose they then criticized anyone who rejected New Baseball as a Baseball snob who clings to pitching records and who worships Sandy Koufax and who is mean to the New Baseball crowd. Suppose they called New Baseball "Baseball when a T suits your style".

Would those who loved baseball get a bit upset? Probably. Would those of us who watch baseball sometimes but who have no talent for it still find it odd to see a grown up man hitting a ball off of a T? Probably.

Western Dressage strikes me as T-ball for horses and riders. It doesn't use a western approach to riding, although it seems willing to claim that western riders can improve their horses and their riding skills by participating. It isn't dressage, either, although it uses the prestige "European Dressage" has gained over the years to sell what it does. I think it is completely reasonable for western and dressage enthusiasts to respond with "WTF,O".

And if that makes me a "Warmblood Dressage Snob', then I want an alert posted on the Dressage sub-forum that bsms, who self-banned himself from the Dressage sub-forum, has become a WDS. Might be a tough sell, though...my spotted warmblood is 14.2, weighs 850 and wonders why he sometimes has to carry someone with no fashion sense:

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    11-24-2012, 04:00 PM
  #74
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaydee    
Core - You have the most illogical way of thinking.
I feel sorry for people like Kayty and anyone else who's worked hard to get their horses and then get tarnished by the same brush as you because you create that idea of a warmblood riding dressage queen that thinks they have the god given right to dictate what other people can do under the 'umbrella' of dressage that deserves the label that's getting stuck on you right now.
My USA given right (the ones I fought for) allows me the freedom to express that I don't agree with an organization adopting the label dressage while ignoring the basics of dressage. If WDA's goal is to NOT be dressage, then no, they should not call it dressage.

Quote:
These WD people don't want to do european dressage, they want to walk, jog lope and ride western style and improve themselves and be the best they can at what they do - not at what you do.
I understand what you're saying. Even the WDA states that the goal of WD is NOT to do dressage. WDA say's "It is not the goal of Western Dressage to create western horses that compete in open dressage but to create better western horses and riders through the use and principles of dressage."

What I'm saying is that it makes no sense:
  • It's called Western Dressage.
  • They hold competitions at Dressage shows.
  • In Dressage arenas.
  • With licensed Dressage judges.
  • And score sheets that mimic Dressage score sheets,
  • With movements copied from Dressage tests.



Quote:
There is no way WD can be compared to european dressage so why try to do that.
Quote:

No argument here.
Regardless of what you and others feel it is going to grow and have a place in western riding because it fills an empty gap.
I also grew up in a country (UK) where basic dressage is taught as normal in riding schools, pony club etc because it is the foundation of all our showing classes - which is where Charlotte Dujardin began her career with horses. It isnt a big deal over there and 'shock horror gasp' people still compete in lower level dressage classes in tweed jackets and general purpose saddles
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZzs7bLyMh8
Look at his and see how dressage has evolved
I've read up on classical dressage for a couple of years now. I know it's history. Interesting video though. Thanks.


Quote:
I think everyone would do well to encourage this to evolve and stop behaving like spoilt brats throwing a temper tantrum over something new
I haven't called you a spoiled brat, or closed minded prick, or any of the other words some of the people on this forum have called me. I've tried to explain myself, and my issues with WD in as civilized a manner as possible. The only time I even mentioned the word prick was in regards to how I interpreted WD felt about dressage people. I have never called you, nor WD, pricks, or any other derogatory term. And although you have a talent for name calling, I'm still finding it hard to see your point of view on this matter. Maybe you could try explaining it to me without the derogatory terms?

Btw, I own a paint mutt pony. No warmbloods.
     
    11-24-2012, 04:33 PM
  #75
Super Moderator
Strange thing is, I don't see straight western folks complain nearly as much as dressage folks do about WD....I wonder why......
Repeating my earlier statement, dressage is the base for whatever direction a rider chooses to go later on. Saying that, I don't see why anybody should have the right to ban WD from dressage arenas, judging system, judges and movements. It is seen as a standard. And its proven to improve horse and rider, if any discipline, where im from TB's in race training are ridden dressage during off season. And it does them a heap of good.

So why is it such a big problem having WD at a dressage show, in an extra, separate class, but with the same judges?
Again, repeating myself......an open mind is key factor.

By refusing to let them be a part of a dressage show, where they don't even compete against you all, you make yourself out as snobby and stuck up. Sorry.

Maybe the name Western Dressage is a bit threatening or misleading, but until somebody comes up with a better one, without belittling, it'll stick.
     
    11-24-2012, 04:39 PM
  #76
Trained
"Even the WDA states that the goal of WD is NOT to do dressage. WDA say's "It is not the goal of Western Dressage to create western horses that compete in open dressage but to create better western horses and riders through the use and principles of dressage."

In addition to that quote, there is this:

"
The Western Dressage Association® of America (WDAA) was organized to provide western riders and horses with an educational program which incorporates the principles of lightness into a whole new way of thinking about riding western. Western Dressage helps a rider to improve the horse’s balance, cadence and carriage."

FAQ

If Western Dressage wants folks to stop taking offense, then maybe they ought to stop giving offense. Maybe they should call it a way to play with your horses, rather than tell western riders it is a way to "improve" their horse, while using the prestige of 'European dressage' to give them credibility. There are a LOT of western disciplines that take a balanced, agile, fast horse very seriously. And most western disciplines are already very open to 'European dressage' as a way of cross training, and a way of working on specific problems.
     
    11-24-2012, 04:46 PM
  #77
Super Moderator
Dressage is not supposed to be prestige.....it is the sound base for horse friendly riding.
Prestige comes with the attitude of some (note: I said "some") people who think having the exotic warmblood and a dressage outfit makes them elite.
Every horse will benefit from basic dressage training, from the TB racer, through gaited horses, all the way down to the trailhorse.
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    11-24-2012, 05:19 PM
  #78
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by longride    
Core - where do you get the idea that WD tests aren't asking the same things of the horse as tests at the same level in regular dressage? Cowboy Dressage, please note, is a different animal, which makes a point of the differences by taking the focus from gymnastics and putting it on "smoothness".
Quote:

When the tests allow the horse to go at a much slower pace (jog/lope), it decreases the difficulty of the test. A 20m circle at a jog allows the horse to go slow enough that it can balance itself and the rider fairly easily. Once you start asking the horse to move forward, ask it to step under and track up, then it becomes far more difficult for the horse to stay balanced with a rider on it's back. The difficulty also increase with the transitions. A transition from a jog to a canter is easier to maintain balance, than a working trot where the horse has to not only shift it's weight to it's hind end, but also continue to move with energy and impulsion into a canter.


Also, any loss of balance at the working gait is far more visible to a judge then a momentary loss of balance at a jog.


The working gaits also test the rider. Even though Dressage is mostly about developing the horse, they still incorporate the score of the rider into your overall score. It is a heck of a lot harder to stay in balance with your horse when you've got a big, ground covering trot, then it is to sit on a short strided, small, jog trot. The WDA specifically says to use the jog in order to "maintain rideability". It is easier to ride the jog then a working trot.
WD as put forward by WDAA is carefully aligned with the training pyramid. Those are the tests used by the Morgan division of the USEF and most frequently offered at dressage schooling shows. The requirements at Primary level are the same as those at Training Level. The wording isn't exactly the same but is so close I can't find the difference in meaning.
I agree. The tests are pretty comparable as far as what is asked for. It would be clearer if the WD tests also included the "purpose" section like dressage tests do.

[quote]
Progressively higher levels will be added, starting with the equivalent of 1st and 2nd level tests next year. If different movements are in the tests, they will still be recognized exercises at the appropriate level and the tests will be changed and improved regularly, just as national tests are in every country. The people writing them have studied not just the tests of the US, but those of the UK, Germany and other countries. I particularly like those of the UK - lots of emphasis on suppleness and constantly changing balance at 1st and 2nd level. They fit well with the traditional size and work patterns of the western horse.
[quote]

Second level is where collection begins to be tested. If up until this point, the horse has really never been asked to step under itself (jog trot has smalle steps that don't reach the hoof print of the front hoof) how can the horse develop collection? Without workign the horse in away that would encourage it to step up and under, then you don't build the muscles required to create collection. How will WD get any farther than First level with the jog/lope gaits? I'm not bashing them.. I just don't understand how it's possible. Lateral exercises help, but you also have to have forward with some get up and go to make those exercises effective at building the horse to carry itself correctly.

Take haunches-in for example. In the dressage test, I have to show a haunches-in at a good working trot, no loss of balance, no decrease in tempo. If I decrease the tempo, or slow the gait, then I've made the movement easier and am penalized for it. Keeping the good working trot encourages the horse to step further under itself to maintain it's balance, and will strengthen the horses abdomen and inside hind.


Quote:
The judging guidelines can be ambiguous, with references to slower tempos and less suspension. They were based on the idea that the horses would be breeds that don't have natural suspension,
I interpreted that differently. I've read through the WDA's rules and definitions, and what they were talking about was the rideability of the horse. That the slower gaits would allow the western rider to sit the trot easier. Not that the breed of horses being competed couldn't be improved upon so that they could show better impulsion and suspension. That was the whole point of dressage... the improvement of the horses natural gaits. It seems to me that all this does (specifing the shorter stride and allowing the horse to work without tracking up) is create a false sense of accomplishment (not working toward developing the purity of the gaits).

Quote:
but the breed shows for Arabians, Friesians and PRE have already adopted WD. They also counteract the perceived tendency in modern judging to reward tension, over tempo work and gait qualities that are simply a product of breeding vs qualities improved by training. The "bias" that has been mentioned even by those with WBs. Those who have been through the L program know that they too try to counter those judging mistakes during the training, but too often the eye is trained by what is seen in the ring. The most difficult part of putting "L" programs together is finding horses to demonstrate truly correct work at the lower levels.

We have two problems right now showing what WD is. Many of the competitors may have studied dressage, but they are showing horses who haven't, and many of the judges are "L" judges who rode Western Pleasure at some point in their lives and think they should throw out all their "L" training and judge WP horses. Then there is that two handed on the curb thing which I really wish would go away, but I think the Morgan folks would have a fit.
With the slower tempos and less suspension, how can you capture the energy of the hind end to create collection? And how can you evaluate whether the training level horse is correctly developing toward collection if you don't ask to see it on the tests? This is what's really hanging me up with WD. Imo, it sets them up for failure, and I don't think that's fair to do to anyone.

You make excellent points. Very well laid out. I do agree with you on what you're saying. And I do feel that WD could be an awesome off shoot that would encourage a broader range of people to enjoy a sport I love.. I'm just concerned that good intentions are going to cause a lot of people to end up with the false impression that dressage can be trained by slowing the gaits down. Unless it's possible to develop the athletic ability of the horse in a way that I'm not aware of (quite possible), then I'm not sure I agree with how WD is going about this.
     
    11-24-2012, 06:23 PM
  #79
Showing
It's the high minded judges who began placing western horses with rolkhur. Then it takes off.
     
    11-24-2012, 06:27 PM
  #80
Super Moderator
[QUOTE=core;1770479]What I'm saying is that it makes no sense:
  • It's called Western Dressage.
  • They hold competitions at Dressage shows.
  • In Dressage arenas.
  • With licensed Dressage judges.
  • And score sheets that mimic Dressage score sheets,
  • With movements copied from Dressage tests.
I think the main reason that they are being welcomed into Dressage arenas and Shows by conventional dressage organisers is that its a way of increasing much needed revenue. If the US Dressage scene is anything like the UK one its struggling to balance the books as entry numbers reduce. There have been lots of throwing around of ideas - for eg something that is judged on the riders style or having riders do tests on strange horses in order to create more classes and encourage people to come into the sport and not feel intimidated by it.
If the WD can get money from entry fees, bums on seats, people spending cash with food vendors and trade stands this will all benefit the arenas and in some cases keep them open so will be a boost for the sport in general
If anyone finds the term dressage so offensive then maybe rather than expressing it here to just a handful of people - if they feel so strongly about it they could write or email the governing body and complain and make suggestions for a new name.
I actually see this sport as something that has the potential to increase the sales of good quality quarter horses and Morgan horses - your countries own unique breeds - to people who are keen to do something that isnt reining or WP or any of the other current options out there but can be challenging and require skills that can be built on.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSLp...ature=g-user-c
This is video clip I've put up before. People flock to Bucks clinics - and others like him. These are the very people who will want somewhere to showcase what they learn - WD is the perfect place for that to happen
     

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