Western vs Dressage

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Western vs Dressage

This is a discussion on Western vs Dressage within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Western dressage vs dressage
  • Cons of dressage

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    05-28-2012, 10:32 PM
Question Western vs Dressage

Hey guys!

So lately I've been riding kinda slowly. I've been jogging when I mean to be trotting and loping when I mean to be cantering. I know better an an do better, but after my recent fall, jogging and loping has been more in my comfort zone.

I am going to be switching to a cheaper barn soon, and I have a friend there who does western. So I thought it might be fun to try western, see how it is

So what are the pros and cons of western vs dressage?

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    05-28-2012, 10:43 PM
I don't think it's possible to give pro's and con's of these different styles of riding. What is a pro for one person, is a con for another. Nothing stopping you from giving it a go and working out your own pro's and con's. It is so subjective!
Corporal and bsms like this.
    05-28-2012, 10:50 PM
True. I just meant like what are some pros of western riding, and compared to the cons of dressage.
    05-28-2012, 10:54 PM
I never rode dressage I ride mainly western
    05-28-2012, 11:01 PM
Same thing ;) I love the strive towards impossible perfection in dressage, its a pro for me. But a western rider may see all of that hard work and 'flouncing around' as a con.
Its horses for courses mate. One of those things that you just need to try for yourself to form an opinion on.
    05-28-2012, 11:12 PM
I agree with Kayty. But , for a you, where you are in life, perhaps doing Western for a while will feel more comfortable and be more "fun". Dressage, if done correctly, can take a long time before you are doing the more obviously exciting manuevers (if any of it is exciting , to some people). I , too, like the attention to minute detail and the focus on the quality of the movement as it helps you build you way to the next movement. But, if you are young and you really just want to learn to have a decent seat, have some fun on a hrose, be with other folks who want to cut loose and have some fun with horses, then maybe Western is better.
    05-28-2012, 11:57 PM
Vanilla or Chocolate? Chevy or Ford?

Dressage would drive me nuts. So would golf. But every equine sport has things you can toss into your bag of tricks. With some exceptions, horses don't care at the lower levels. Any horse can learn to neck rein, and it is pretty convenient on a trail. Any horse can improve its flexibility thru basic dressage. My mare likes light contact with the reins. My geldings do not. The more you know, the more you can adapt to different situations and different horses.

And if you find something you LOVE, then you know how to spend most of your time from here on out.
Kayty and Speed Racer like this.
    05-29-2012, 12:31 PM
Pro's -
Builds gymnastic ability in horse.
Increases straightness (horse really is centered between both knee's and reins).
Builds better balance.
Increases collection to a higher degree than other disciplines (if goal is to train higher than first level),
Increases rider balance, timing, an feel of where each leg is on the horse at any point during moving.

Very hard to learn without weekly lessons from high quality trainer.
Lessons are more expensive than nearly any other discipline.
Requires a lot of core strength, and more flexibility than other disciplines.
Requires more body awareness and "correct" seat (correct for dressage).

Bigger saddle that helps rider stay balanced. Easier to stay on wild bucking spree's. More comfy for long rides.
Slower speeds with less precision in riding (still must have snappy transitions, but doesn't require it be performed at specific spot).
Cheaper lessons.
People seem nicer (overall).
Cool outfits.
No one laughs, or comments, when you go straight from the ring to the trail.

More subjective judging. More room for picking favorites or appearance over skill and training.
Show clothes and tack more expensive, and requires more outfits.
Possible con - less intricate/ less demanding (compared to high level dressage. Probably not too different compared to lower level dressage).

Do what you enjoy. :)
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    05-29-2012, 12:37 PM
Last thing... I think it's really important for riders to try all kinds of disciplines. Even if you find you get bored later, or you decide to go in a completely different direction later, just try something new for a while. As long as your new discipline doesn't have you reaming on, or yanking on, the horses mouth and still values a relaxed and responsive horse - then go for it. Heck, your horse will probably thank you for switching things up for a while.
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Corporal likes this.
    05-29-2012, 12:41 PM
Originally Posted by core    
Bigger saddle that helps rider stay balanced. Easier to stay on wild bucking spree's. More comfy for long rides.
Slower speeds with less precision in riding (still must have snappy transitions, but doesn't require it be performed at specific spot).
Cheaper lessons.
People seem nicer (overall).
Cool outfits.
No one laughs, or comments, when you go straight from the ring to the trail.
I have to say I disagree with all the points except the last one (and with the last one lots of english riding folks with some very fancy horses trail ride on regular basis around here, some right after the lesson or ring work). No offense taken, please, it may be different in your area! But I completely agree on doing what you like. If you try and like Western, then go for it. If not - just stick to what you like.
FaydesMom likes this.

cons, dressage, pros, western

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