Western Dressage - Page 3

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Western Dressage

This is a discussion on Western Dressage within the Western Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Western dressage trainers
  • Does a 19 dressage saddle exist

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    02-17-2012, 12:41 PM
Originally Posted by mildot    
Look, you don't have to like this new discipline. I don't care one way or the other.

But there is no way you can tell what a death grip looks like from the photos in this thread.

I have no idea what your riding background is or how long you've ridden horses with rein contact. But your statement is the kind I often see made by people who have never ridden in anything other than some shank bit with draped reins and have no idea how to ride with contact with a soft hand. All they see is a direct line from elbow to bit and freak out.

Death grip....yeah whatever.

As to why this exists....maybe some people simply want to ride a dressage test without having to buy yet another saddle. I don't know and I don't care why someone came up with this.

I say death grip b/c I have seen too many videos on Western Dressage to call it anything but that. All my horses are trained with contact. If not they could not do what they do on a drapped rein. That is how you get that suppleness and response.

So I will repeat. There is way too much contact for the bits they are usinig. They are not desinged to be used with any contact at all.
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    02-17-2012, 12:46 PM
Coming from a Dressage rider, its a death grip. If you cut the reins on the horse/rider posted in this thread, the rider would go tumbling off backwards.

Look at that neck!! If that's not a pulled on, ewe neck, then I don't know what is...
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smrobs, nrhareiner, Tasia and 2 others like this.
    02-17-2012, 01:19 PM
I am new to dressage of any sort but you can see the rein pushing into the horses neck in the first picture, there is a dip where it is, plus her hands are in what appears to be tight fists. The horse looks hollow and forced. But that is besides the point. I think that if a western (or dressage) rider whats to try a different discipline in other tack (just like dressage in a close contact saddle but no one calls it jumping dressage) that is great opens your world to a whole bunch of possibilities. Nothing screams "western" to me, it is a money grab.
GotaDunQH likes this.
    02-24-2012, 09:56 AM
Interesting comments from both dressage and western riders here. I currently compete in reined cow horse and am about to add western dressage to that. The tests they currently have, in my opinion, complement the work I currently do with my horse. True, we do not show in the trot/jog, but we school A LOT in it and this gives us a chance to get scored on the quality of the work we do. I also believe that "dressage" is just training. Simple as that. I have ridden with dressage trainers and reining/cow horse trainers and they say a lot of the same things. In fact, my reining trainer often does demos with a dressage trainer where they do a pattern and switch horses and ride bridleless. My goal is to be a good rider and have a well trained horse that I can show off every now and than. And I do have to do real ranch work with my horse and he darn sure better have some "dressage" in him when we are running through thick woods and have to side pass around a tree! Lol!
    02-24-2012, 10:39 AM
Super Moderator
Why can't western dressage allow the horse to go in the "western way"? Why do they have to try to duplicate the English frame? Yes, it may look a bit like reining, but it would incorporate much more than a reining pattern. Reiners don't do canter pirouettes, half pass etc. Yes, it may be different without the high collected english "frame", but no less interesting. A lope has a place in a western dressage test, as does a jog. The tests just needs to be written with the western horse in mind, IMO.

We have almost all seen this video. To me, it shows a great high level western dressage horse.

Cranking that western horse into a "classic dressage frame" is just wrong on too many levels, IMO.
smrobs, COWCHICK77, bsms and 3 others like this.
    02-24-2012, 11:43 AM
I don't really see any roadblocks to riding all the movements of a 2nd level test on a loose rein and curb on a well trained horse.

Can some of you reiners take a look at the test and see if I'm crazy?

    02-24-2012, 12:17 PM
Reading through the test a well trained reiner could do all of it on a loose rein.

The idea of reining is not actually use the reins very much. All the maneuvers and changes in a reining patter are done with very little rein movement and all on a loose rein. The horses are trained to work off seat and leg.
QHriderKE likes this.
    02-24-2012, 12:34 PM
Green Broke
When I started hearing about "Western Dressage" I didn't see the point. Why not have the Dressage saddle and actually do Dressage how it was meant to be?

I've always said that Reining was the Western version of Dressage. It makes sense to me. Western horses are collected, but on loose rein, as Western riding is 'supposed' to be. And English horses are collected, but on contact, as English riding is 'supposed' to be. So why try and mash up the two and get a distorted result? Now that doesn't make sense.

Next thing you know, the 'Western Dressage' riders will be wearing straw top hats and jingle bob spurs.
    02-24-2012, 04:37 PM
Originally Posted by QHriderKE    
When I started hearing about "Western Dressage" I didn't see the point. Why not have the Dressage saddle and actually do Dressage how it was meant to be?

I've always said that Reining was the Western version of Dressage. It makes sense to me. Western horses are collected, but on loose rein, as Western riding is 'supposed' to be. And English horses are collected, but on contact, as English riding is 'supposed' to be. So why try and mash up the two and get a distorted result? Now that doesn't make sense.

Yep. To me the purpose of both reigning and dressage was to get specific movements out of the horse with as subtle a cue as possible so in that way they are the same to me.

I have always thought of reining as "real working horse dressage" because although the goal of each is to communicate with the horse as effectively as possible, the moves of reigning are best utilized with a horse working on a ranch.
    03-22-2012, 11:35 AM
I am totally late to the party here, but I thought I help clear some things up. :) I'm new here and I'm training to compete in western dressage.

The idea behind western dressage is basically "hey, we are using dressage for training in our western tack anyway. Why not show off our skills like English riders do?"

Aside from the idea behind it, the appeal of western dressage is--for me--you couldn't find a discipline more suited for me and my horse if I'd written the rules myself. I'll be honest, I want to show my horse in event where we can be competitive. I want to piaffe and passage. I think my mare makes a cute little dressage horse, but all the training in the world won't turn my 14.3 compact half-Morgan, half-QH into a 17+ warmblood. While classical dressage can be used on every horse, the higher levels of competitive dressage require a very specific type of horse to be competitive as does western pleasure. Unfortunately, this isn't either:

While western riding originated with ranch work, it's used on many other disciplines that don't reflect working a cow. Barrel racing and western pleasure don't reflect anything involving a cow. Dressage was designed for calvary, but dressage horses today aren't going into battle.

At least at shows around here, competitive western horsemanship horses all move like pleasure horses. And I don't want to teach my horse to more that way because it doesn't directly benefit the other disciplines I compete in the way western dressage does.

Western dressage also does not require me to relearn to ride or my horse to be totally retrained. I'm a good western rider and competent trainer, but I suuuuccck at english because I have so little experience. I take English lessons to learn, but it still requires I use different muscles and cues than western. Western dressage is a more direct way to enhance our skills as a team for riding in other western events. Classical dressage would be helpful for my horse, but western dressage is more helpful.

For reining vs. western dressage, reining is a very specific discipline training for very specific skills. I love to watch reined cow horse because if you watch horses in fence work, you can see them move almost identically while working a cow as they do on a reining pattern. For example:

I already do reining with my horse, but mastering reining won't teach her every response I'd like her to have. But reining + dressage can give her more types of lateral movement to make her easier to handle in gaming events and on the trail. I want my mare to be the does-it-all type.

As for reins, western dressage calls for a little slack in the rein without losing contact. This is closer to traditional western riding than western pleasure's super long and baggy reins. The picture posted earlier in this thread had too much contact IMO, however the horse was also riding in a snaffle. You can't ride in a curb with that much contact because the bit is not designed to work the same way. It looked like a English horse in western tack, as opposed to a western horse using dressage principles.

Finally, I like the idea of combining western and english. I've seen too much hostility between riders and I think it's beneficial to have more in common. :)

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