Dressage VS. Western Pleasure - Page 17

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Dressage VS. Western Pleasure

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    08-10-2012, 03:46 PM
Super Moderator
dressage v western

Since there are many sports out there where you aren't tested at any gait that would sort of imply that only sports where you are tested have a right to own that particular gait, regardless of how important it might be to you
The term 'sidepass' isn't one used in the UK but we still do it. A well grounded horse should be able to perform a leg yield regardless of whether its going to ever go in a dressage arena to be tested on it and a well trained Games pony will be able to change leads around every bending pole because if they can't they aren't going to be much good at it.
I have British Horse Society Prelim Dressage Test here that consists entirely of walk, halt, working trot. Changing rein at trot and working canter - not even a change of rein at the canter.
I do think that if all horses and riders went through at least the basics of low level dressage we would see some better results in all forms of horse sport, a willing, well balanced, responsive horse is so much more of a pleasure to ride whatever you are doing
When I was looking for a new horse over a year ago I rode some show horses that were 9 years old and over and all they could do was a perfect walk, trot, canter, halt around the rail and that was it. One of them couldn't even walk in a circle when I took it away from the rail and started to panic to get back to the rail where it felt 'safe'
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    08-10-2012, 03:51 PM
Originally Posted by bsms    
Level 1 dressage tests aren't exactly about dressage. They are about making sure the basics exist. But folks were doing leg yields in Roman days, and those cowboys in the 1800s did them as well, and did them without taking French lessons or studying anyone in Europe.

But a level 1 dressage test is about dressage. You can not move on to level 2 with out it, furthermore you can not get to GP without it. Anyone who tries will fall apart before they even hit FEI.

I don't doubt that the Romans and cowboys did all kinds of exercises with their horses (some of which perhaps no one does anymore). I certainly don't doubt that Europeans were doing all kinds of 'advanced movements' in battle way back when.

But when you have something like a shoulder-in which is not systematically trained and tested by any other currently active discipline and you want to explain where you got it from, why is it so wrong to describe it as a "dressage" movement? To me, It gets the point across that one can find value in cross-training and, at times, can even be an effort to extend respect for what another rider does.

Of course, I still completely agree that there are the people who will do "parrot dressage" or tricks that they try to pawn of as actual work too. That is at the other end of the spectrum I am thinking of.

I hope this made sense, as I have been writing intermittently.
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    08-10-2012, 04:12 PM
Originally Posted by Shasta1981    
But a level 1 dressage test is about dressage. You can not move on to level 2 with out it, furthermore you can not get to GP without it. Anyone who tries will fall apart before they even hit FEI...
"Training level dressage is quite simple, requiring only walk, free walk, trot and canter. If a horse and rider can perform all the gaits and steer reliably around the dressage court, they should be able to do Training Level Test One. Here is how to ride the test."
Read more: How to Ride the Training Level Test One Dressage Test | eHow.com

That isn't dressage. That is basic riding. If W/T/C without falling over is 'dressage', then all riding would be dressage.

Here is a thought: If most riders do it without reading a book on dressage, taking a dressage lesson, or even knowing what dressage is, then it isn't dressage. It is riding.

For laughs, this photo was taken about a minute into my first Level 1 dressage practice. Trooper & I were trying a canter, which neither of us had done before. Anky, eat your heart out!

Guess that is what happens when you try dressage without an instructor...

Y'all will be glad to know both of us perform much better now, although still without benefit of dressage training...
    08-10-2012, 04:29 PM
I would never laugh!!!

Not to be nit-picky, but that was a description of training level, which comes before level one. =)

"First Level is comprised of 3 tests. Rider's may also choose to perform a Musical Freestyle at this level. These tests include walk, trot and canter work. They also contain leg yielding, single loops, lead changes through trot and smaller circles demonstrate the horse's balance and responsiveness. These movements also illustrate the advancement of the horse's suppleness from the Training level. The horse and rider must demonstrate their ability to effectively perform these movements because they are the pre-cursor to the shoulder-in, travers, rein-back, shortening of stride and collection required at Second Level." - First Level Dressage

I can't find the USDF blurb. Maybe someone else has a link to it?

Sure it sounds so easy...but it hasn't been easy for me!

So, in essence, what you are saying, is that dressage is not dressage until you are working at an FEI level? What about a pirouette? That is in a level 3 test. Collection is in a 3rd and even 2nd level test.
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    08-10-2012, 04:30 PM
Super Moderator
What is dressage

Ok my last word on this - sure you'll all be relieved to hear that

I googled definition of dressage and heres what came up

The art of training & riding horses taken from the french word 'dresser' which means 'to train' or prepare

The guiding of a horse through a series of complex maneuvers by slight movements of the rider's hands, legs, and weight.

(Individual Sports & Recreations / Horse Training, Riding & Manège) the method of training a horse to perform manoeuvres in response to the rider's body signals

Going from this I'd say we are all doing some form of dressage, just wrapped up in different coloured paper
The fact that you may be doing it really well or really badly is irrelevant as far as I can see as far as the meaning of the word goes.
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    08-10-2012, 04:40 PM
My two cents, for what it's worth...
I believe that the PRINCIPLES of dressage create the basis for all good riding. That the principle of a round horse that uses its hind end and accepts contact, etc ad nauseum, is a great baseline for almost any discipline/horse/rider. The balance, correct movement, posture, independent aids, bend.. etc etc.. are fantastic for almost any horse and rider to know.
I practice dressage (or the movements therein and thereof) with an ultimate goal of bettering myself and my horse for the jumper ring. I do plan on competing in dressage as well, but I don't think at this point it is my ultimate goal.
Anyways. As for human athlete examples... Some football players dabble in ballet to improve their football game....
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    08-10-2012, 04:49 PM
Dressage isn't dressage until you are doing something all riders don't do. If I W/T/C my horse, teach her various cues, etc, I'm simply riding her. When we trotted and cantered in circles today, we were not doing dressage. All riders sometimes circle their horses.

Now, if I'm doing a circle and someone is worried about HOW she does that circle with an eye toward building to a high state of collection, THAT would be dressage - because the training is to achieve a goal that is consistent with dressage and almost no one else. When Trooper or Mia & I do circles, my goal is a balanced, relaxed horse. A dressage rider considers that a transition stage, while I stop there.

I have no interest in the goals of dressage. I don't want to use a system of training that is designed to achieve the goals of dressage. It gets back to having terms that are meaningful. If this is dressage:

Then what word do we use when we want to describe this:

If I reject the goals and system of dressage - which I do for me, since it isn't relevant to the riding I want to do - then why is riding in a circle dressage? Why is moving my horse laterally while we also are moving forward 'dressage'? And what historical myth gives rise to the idea that dressage gets to define what was being done before dressage existed?

I can't stop someone from using dressage to mean 'all riding', but it robs us of a word to describe dressage. It also makes the user look stupid, since they are describing what existed long before there was dressage.
    08-10-2012, 04:50 PM

What's camp drafting?

And while level 1 Dressage isn't the Olympics and may in fact really just be good basic riding, isn't that the foundation of Dressage? Good basic riding? You can't get to the GP without it so how can it be excluded?
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    08-10-2012, 05:00 PM
Originally Posted by JustDressageIt    
My two cents, for what it's worth...
I believe that the PRINCIPLES of dressage create the basis for all good riding. That the principle of a round horse that uses its hind end and accepts contact, etc ad nauseum, is a great baseline for almost any discipline/horse/rider...
Don't tell the race horse folks. They don't want their horses collected. And a lot of us prefer to ride without having contact with the bit, if we even use a bit. And in the desert, a horse that picks where each foot goes will last a lot longer than a horse that prefers to round its back as it goes down the trail.

There are reasons why I often choose to adopt a chair seat - or at least to reject a shoulder / hip / heel straight line. A forward seat rejects the dressage seat, yet it works very well for some riding. The principles of dressage are meant to guide one toward success in dressage, not in all riding.

If the French want to continue using a word that means training, they are welcome to do so - they are French. I'm an American, and in America we have our own word for 'training': training. OK, we borrowed it from the English...

But if we lose the word dressage to mean dressage, then I have to substitute, "riding a big bouncy horse in a bouncy kind of way while the horse doesn't move very fast" - and that is a lot of words, and doesn't REALLY do justice to dressage...does it?
    08-10-2012, 05:03 PM
Originally Posted by DancingArabian    
...And while level 1 Dressage isn't the Olympics and may in fact really just be good basic riding, isn't that the foundation of Dressage? Good basic riding?
If someone wants to jump, then dressage is NOT good basic riding. It is contrary to good jump riding. It is also contrary to good reining, and even campdrafting. This is good riding, but it is not good dressage:


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