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.
Last edited by Myya; 07-08-2013 at 12:45 AM.