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Western Dressage - Arabian Horse Assoc

This is a discussion on Western Dressage - Arabian Horse Assoc within the Western Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Arabian western dressage
  • Picture of kimberwick snaffle bit

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    07-07-2013, 07:30 PM
The sport is new and they are trying to get people into it, So bits and stricter rules will come later IMO. I would consider tying it. My mare HATES English saddles. I had mine fitted and everything but she still acts stupid in one. BOTH times that horse had hurt me was with one, so I stopped using it as she is fine in a western. And when I ride western I don't have a chair seat. I like the idea of western Dressage. I have seen the things people can get horses to do and western saddles and dressage is not the most amazing. If anything it will get the 'Anti-English' people involved in a sport where the horse is not half dead, or getting arthritic from what they are doing. IT could finally be the sport TBs can really do that's western as well.
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    07-07-2013, 07:45 PM
Advertisement and Mis-Management before the welfare of the horse? Seems poorly managed.

Not that I'm "Anti-English" but I know a ton of lame horses in their prime from english based sports. I know of a reiner who is 23, been shown his whole life, and is STILL shown reining. Therein comes your trainer.
    07-07-2013, 08:43 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by WSArabians    
I think people should do whatever they want, but I have a real issue with seeing shank bits that are parallel to the ground. Good horsemanship? I think not.
^^^This is my biggest issue with western dressage.
And if you look back at the post from bsms- quoted from the (WDAA)-
" 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."
Not sure if the WDAA allows curb bits, but if so I would not say they are encouraging lightness with most pictures I have seen shown just as WS described above.

I think I am confused by thinking that most shows, breed, local and schooling shows offer a Dressage class with the usual paraphernalia. So my question is, is it the change of tack that makes WD appealing?
waresbear and boots like this.
    07-08-2013, 12:43 AM
Please don't rely on "pictures" to make judgments about what Western dressage or any dressage is supposed to be like. Photographers are looking for the most dramatic pose, not the most common or accepted one. Read the rules and find out from them what the goals and standards really are. I have only been to one Western Dressage show and since I knew very little about the difference between Western Dressage and (English) Dressage, I was looking for differences. The tack was obviously different, so as I observed it, I was surprised to see that all the participants rode with snaffle bits and with two hands - similar to (English) Dressage only with apparently a bit lighter contact than is usually seen in most dressage rings. (Some of the most respected Classical Dressage experts recommend a very light rein, btw.) Again, I saw NO curb bits, which surprised me (since one usually equates the curb bit with all Western riding), but made sense since dressage promotes lightness and not force (and I myself rode my Western horse in a snaffle so I do know that not all western horses are ridden exclusively in curbs). Again, in Classical/English Dressage competition the curb bit is only allowed at the most advanced levels, and it is correctly used only to indicate specific high level dressage moves like the piaffe.
existentialpony likes this.
    07-08-2013, 01:49 AM
I can't ride my mare in an English saddle and I know a few people who HATE English (idk what their issue is but w/e) and have horses that would excel in the sport. My friend has a horse that you can ride bareback and in a western saddle, but if you put him in an English saddle he loses it (This is normally a dead broke horse). My mare thinks she is a race horse the moment you put an English saddle on her (NOT fun and has set to me almost to the hospital) If this sport takes off more people will learn to train the 'right way' as forced collection only takes you so far. Hopefully it will teach lightness. I used to ride a cutting horse where all I had to do to collect him was lift the reins off his nick slightly. Everything else was in my legs. If they teach people to collect the horses like that they could ride in shank bits and hardly touch the reins.

As for the bit issue with it being "parelell to the ground" there are sports that do that ALOT worst.


I have seen more damage done by english bits. A common bit is the twisted snaffle and Kimberwick (both that make my normally hard mouthed arab flip over). And I have seen Excessive force used on 'softer' english bits. In englsh, people use a cavison so the horse can't gape like a western one can.

    07-08-2013, 11:10 AM
Green Broke
Kiger, the difference is no team roping or barrel racing association is specifically promoting "lightness".

Myya, that's great if you attended a show and everyone was using a snaffle with light contact. That is the way it should be done, in my opinion. Like I said, it is the heavy hand on a curb that I have an issue with.
    07-08-2013, 12:15 PM
Agreed. Its a new sport, if they come steamrolling in with all these tight rules they might scare people off. I HOPE they will Require light hands, as should be, otherwise its not dressage.
    07-08-2013, 07:30 PM
KigerQueen - Surely you didn't intend to justify the poor horsemanship in the WD videos by showing other examples of poor horsemanship, did you? Kind of "A lot of people ride in a less than good manner?"
COWCHICK77 likes this.
    07-08-2013, 11:46 PM
It will be interesting to see where Western Dressage is in 5 years.

Personally, I hope it succeeds, but it sure can cause a fluffup.
bsms likes this.
    07-10-2013, 02:52 PM
Thats better horsemanship than I see at most horse shows. I have seen reining horses so broke down they start freaking out at the start of a pattern, or so arthritic they can't move. I have see the lovely ways they work the horses at the arabian horse shows. Running them with the bit to their ears regardless of the sport. And don't forget what happens in dressage. Pinning the horses head to its chest dose not sound like softness to me.


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