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Corporal 08-24-2012 02:28 PM

One more Western Dressage thread
Threads about Western Dressage and Western vs Dressage keep recurring on our Forum. I didn't want to get into the rants that seem to infer one is better than the other, or they are so different that the term "Western + Dressage" seems to be an oxymoron.
For anybody reading these threads I thought I'd point out that at least 2 well known and well respected trainers believe that Western Dressage can be a very good way to train your horse and/or to show him/her, too.
Here are the links:
Lynn Palm | Western Dressage Association® of America
Julie Goodnight | Western Dressage Association® of America
I think these YouTube videos have been posted before, but it's worth a 2nd look.
IMHO, correct equitation principles go beyond the tack or the breed or the contact with the bit. It is reminsicent of music. All music has a beat and some lyricism. Only those who have studied it can identify when and often WHO wrote a piece. If you listen to "Afternoon at the Met" experts during the intermission sometimes identify a piece with just the first chord. Still we musicians appreciate and draw inspiration from all forms, even if we specialize in only one of them.
I believe that the intricacies of a form of riding belong in the show ring and with the judges. I have and continue to learn principles that help me train my horses better from EVERY discipline and I believe that they are all interrelated. The more varied your training, the more well-trained, socialized and pleasant your horse's behavior will become.

oh vair oh 08-24-2012 02:31 PM

I think western dressage is a great idea. Since my western ponies wouldn't stand a chance in a dressage ring with TBs and WBs, letting them do their thing with other horses of their stature is a real blessing.

boots 08-25-2012 10:36 AM

I don't see why they bother to use a western saddle. Western saddles are functional. They are made as a tool for ranch work. Whether for working cattle or to ride while making repairs. Otherwise they are unnecessary.

Riding with one hand on a loose rein and getting the same, and better, movements with the horse like shown on the videos is also functional. Riding the western horse and working you need one hand free. The horse is a partner, doing it's part, and with little input from the rider at times, so the rider can do what s/he needs to.

So I won't say one is better, but perhaps one is unnecessary.

Allison Finch 08-25-2012 10:50 AM

You know what I find sad about the western dressage idea? That they are simply reinventing dressage and slapping a western saddle/clothes on it. I see English dressage riders throwing a western saddle on their warmbloods and cleaning up.

I like western horses who go on a loose rein, who move in a normal western frame and are not energized to a level not wanted in a true western horse. What's so WRONG with that?

Why can't western dressage have a horse moving through the pattern and movements on a loose rein and western appropriate frame. Hard to do passage on a loose rein? Try it. Anyway, when was passage EVER what makes a good western horse? Instead, put in sidepasses and other movements that are traditionally western.

The idea of cranked up western horses on contact is just plain disturbing to me. It is a western sellout, IMHO.


Not western, IMO


Pretty strong contact on just a curb!

bsms 08-25-2012 11:04 AM

Western dressage strikes me as neither. But folks can do what they want...just wish they would change the name.

nrhareiner 08-25-2012 02:58 PM

My vet has been trying to talk me into doing a WD class at the Dressage show end of next month. Keep going back and forth as to if I really want to do it. The cost for a schooling show is what is really giving me pause.

As to the actual class. I agree that is it just reinventing the wheel. Not sure I even agree with it. I think that is my other things that keeps coming up with me actually doing at this show. They are taking wester tack and trying to make you ride like you would in english tack which is not correct and I am not sure I want to do that with my horses.

COWCHICK77 08-25-2012 04:03 PM

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I have been somewhat following these threads but I just don't know enough about dressage to really chime in. But I can't stand it..haha

I agree with boots, bsms and Allison...
Especially the picture with that much contact on a curb...really? That goes against the whole idea behind the curb bit. The curb bit was designed for very subtle pre cues and cues on a loose one handed rein not for that much contact.

Wallaby 08-25-2012 04:29 PM

IMO, you can "collect" anything in a curb if said horse has been trained to give to pressure. That doesn't make it dressage.

Personally, I think WD is just perverting the true nature of collection even further than it already has been by the current obsession with where a horse's head is=collection.
I can't see much good coming of it.

nrhareiner 08-25-2012 04:32 PM

WD started with the Morgen breed shows. Has gone on from there. I have some thaughts on that but will keep them to myself.

tasunke 08-26-2012 10:02 PM

I don't see an issue with WD. I have a QH who has done up to 1st level dressage but since he's a QH, wouldn't stand at chance in dressage shows (other than WB or TB get laughed upon).

We'll be attending WD clinics in VA to try it out.

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