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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
  • Can you use a caveson in western dressage
  • Classical dressage riding with one handone hand

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    07-12-2013, 03:25 PM
  #61
Foal
I'm glad the "one hand vs two" issue was mentioned. Dressage has it's root in the working war horse, who was ridden with ONE hand. The top classical dressage riders/trainers of today still ultimately ride with only one hand, when not in the ring or using that second hand for training (just as it is used on western training when needed).

If you have a horse devoted exclusively to one narrow discipline (like barrel racing, for example), then you probably have little need for dressage. If you want more of a well rounded mount, dressage can be a tremendous help, or if you are having problems within your favorite discipline, dressage can often help with those situations as well (for example, an English jumper will often benefit from having basic dressage training).


There is a wonderful video of the ultimate classical dressage trainer of this century, Nuno Oliveira, riding with one hand on Youtube, btw.

IMHO, the more I am able to connect with my horse and willingly get him to obey, the better. The more I am able to willingly get my horse to do, that I enjoy doing, the better. I suppose I enjoy the "training" aspect of riding and would not be happy with a push-button horse who wins in the Western Pleasure class but can't do anything else, or is bomb-proof on the trial but won't canter when and where I ask. Classical Dressage (whether in an English saddle or a Western one) is simply about learning good riding skills and helping your horse to become more athletic, balanced, light, responsive, etc.
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    07-12-2013, 04:50 PM
  #62
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Myya    
...IMHO, the more I am able to connect with my horse and willingly get him to obey, the better. The more I am able to willingly get my horse to do, that I enjoy doing, the better. I suppose I enjoy the "training" aspect of riding and would not be happy with a push-button horse...
Amen. I got into riding by buying a horse and starting riding. She was sold as 'perfect for a beginner'. She wasn't even close - but it is that strong personality of hers, and her need to overcome her fears, that captured me. Had I bought a push-button horse, I would have been bored. She was both a horrible horse for a beginner like me, and perfect for me. I needed a horse who would challenge me, and she needed a rider who would not give up on her. We both got what we needed, although we still have issues to work on after 5 1/2 years...

I may not see a reason for Western Dressage, but if it helps some people work with their horses and build that give & take, then it is OK. I just wish they would change the name.
     
    07-12-2013, 06:29 PM
  #63
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by KigerQueen    
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.
What reining shows are you going to? At the smaller open or schooling shows is where you see the anticipation that you are mistaking for being broke down. It is anticipation about the center of the pen and it takes correct training and relaxation to either to keep it from happening or fix.

SEAmom, if you Google "Western Dressage" and go to the images there is quite a few pictures of horses being ridden two handed and the shanks pulled back on a curb bit. I realize that a photo is only a snippet in time but most of the images came from websites and magazines choosing to use that picture which would make me think that is acceptable to their standards.

Myya, I have no issue with dressage at all to make that clear, again it is the heavy hand on a curb that is my issue. I too believe that dressage can be beneficial for most riders. I took my first lesson with a dressage trainer this last spring, a wonderful lady I have known all my life, and loved it. I did take my lesson in my ranch saddle but I used a snaffle. I never hurt so bad and for so long after only an hour or so of riding! I enjoyed the torture and apply it to my western riding but if I was ever to switch to showing Dressage I would buy a Dressage saddle and bridle.
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    07-12-2013, 08:56 PM
  #64
Started
Now, CowChick, surely you're aware that I can do a google search on every major riding discipline and find equal pictures that are used in discipline-specific publications. Like I said, I'm neither for or against it. I just think it's interesting to see all the hub-bub over a new "discipline".

I'm sure very similar scoffing occured over many new breeds over the centuries, but now they're just accepted as their own breed rather than the "cocktail" they really are. How about the commotion that surely happened when horse shows first came about? Imagine people taking their horsemanship from the war zone to the Spanish Riding School. How about when ranchers took their prized stock from the cattle drive to the arena? The lightbulb didn't go off over the head of everyone who has working cow horses all at once to compete their horses for titles and recognition. A few people got together and formed a group. This group grew and...voila! Were there ranchers who scoffed and looked down their noses at the idea of showing off perfectly good working horses when those horses could be out working the cattle drive? Sure! What about when people went from fox hunting to competitive eventing, jumping, show jumping, hunters, etc. Or from the frontline to dressage? Of course, these things don't happen overnight. They can't. Surely there was controversy because people as a whole don't like change.

So what if there are groups of people who enjoy doing western dressage? If you don't like it, don't it. They aren't trying to start a "chase horses with battleaxes" group and make that into a sport. They're taking two interesting disciplines that are commonly thought of as polar opposites and combining them? Why is that so terrible?

Also, not all western is functional. It just isn't. That's like saying all my organs are functional (well, they're all in good working order I suppose, but that's not the functional we're talking about). My appendix serves no purpose, but it's still there. At one time was western riding almost solely functional? Sure it was! That's where western pleasure, trail classes, reining, team penning, etc come from. Western is a very broad term. So, in a sense western dressage is also functional. It has it's basis in a very real form of riding that has been around far longer than any of us have.

As for bits, again curbs are used in multiple disciplines. Why does it matter if they're used in western dressage? I can give many instances where I've watched with my own two eyes horse shows with western classes of all varieties where curbs are used roughly. I mean "wow" roughly. None of them being western dressage. Curbs are just as abused throughout the entire horse world. I've watched people at my barn who are pleasure riders yank around on their horses' mouths with high port curbs. I've watched people in contesting yank around on their horses' mouths with hefty curbs. I've also watched people in both instances use light movements and only gradually get more insistent when they need to, just like anyone with a non-shanked bit. Like I see often on this forum, it's not the bit that's cruel, it's the hands that control it. Here's an excerpt straight from the WDAA FAQ page regarding tack that I found interesting considering the whole "curb" discussion:

Quote:
What is the difference between Western Dressage and traditional Dressage?

The goals of Western Dressage and Dressage are similar. They both wish to create a better horse and rider with the use of structure and levels. The Western Dressage horse is encouraged to work and school on lighter contact than the typical dressage horses. While both want to see balance, cadence and carriage, the Western Dressage horse will be evaluated with the conformation and movement of today’s western horses in mind. The Western Dressage horse will have a shorter stride than a Dressage horse and the Western Dressage horse will be asked to walk, jog and lope as opposed to walk, trot and canter. In keeping with the tradition of the Western horse and rider they will be shown in Western tack and clothing. These are just a few examples of the differences.
It is not the goal of Western Dressage to create western horses that compete in open dressage but to create better western horses and riders through the use and principles of dressage.

Do I need special tack, equipment, or clothing to show in Western Dressage?

No! The current USEF rule book permits riders to perform the tests in either a standard western snaffle bit, which is defined in the rule book, or in a standard western bit which is also defined there. You may use your western saddle and your western headstall and reins.
The WDAA will request a change in the USEF rules regarding bits. The WDAA will request changes which will require, at the lowest test levels, the use of a snaffle bit only, along with a caveson which is loose enough to permit two fingers comfortably between the caveson and the horse’s nose. Please review the Western Dressage rules for details.
Please note the paragraph that specifically calls out that there will be a rule change request to change lower levels to snaffle bit ONLY. After the rule change, what will be the argument then?

As with all disciplines, new or well-established, there will be those who disagree. How many threads have we seen where western riders gang up on dressage riders? How many threads have we seen where trail riders are belittle because they're "just trail riding"? We don't all have to agree, and I completely support that idea. I just like to see discussions where participants can use logical reasoning and thought out ideas to express themselves. It's tough when we look at threads full of comments like, "I hate ___ because it's cruel!" Why is it cruel? "Because, because...well, because I said so!" When really this comes more from a place of ignorance (no insults intended) or a lack of solid understanding.

As I stated before, I'm neither for nor against Western Dressage. I just want to know more of the why beyond "Well, I saw pictures!" Is it that people don't like seeing something like dressage being infused with western? Are these primarily dressage riders who aren't fans of western or vice versa? I'm not trying to make any assumptions. I would just like for all of us to get a better understanding.
     
    07-13-2013, 12:33 AM
  #65
Foal
Quote:
The WDAA will request a change in the USEF rules regarding bits. The WDAA will request changes which will require, at the lowest test levels, the use of a snaffle bit only, along with a caveson which is loose enough to permit two fingers comfortably between the caveson and the horse’s nose. Please review the Western Dressage rules for details.
I am curious as to why the WDAA would request that a caveson be "required"? I recently removed the nose band/caveson completely from my horse's dressage bridle. There should be no need for it, since a comfortable horse will naturally keep his mouth closed (except for acceptable mouthing of the bit and softening of the jaw).
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    07-13-2013, 12:34 AM
  #66
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Myya    

There is a wonderful video of the ultimate classical dressage trainer of this century, Nuno Oliveira, riding with one hand on Youtube, btw.

Just watched a couple of those videos. Wow. Beautiful rides.
     
    07-13-2013, 12:43 AM
  #67
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by SEAmom    
I just want to know more of the why beyond "Well, I saw pictures!" Is it that people don't like seeing something like dressage being infused with western? Are these primarily dressage riders who aren't fans of western or vice versa? I'm not trying to make any assumptions. I would just like for all of us to get a better understanding.
I could care less if it's reining, dressage, jumping, pole bending, fox hunting, HUS or any other under saddle event - if I see a shank bit parallel to the ground, I'm going to have a problem with it. It just happens that every video I watch of this, that's what happens. It's not how a shank is supposed to be used, and that's for a good reason. IMO. :)
     
    07-21-2013, 08:58 AM
  #68
Foal
While I'm not a fan of curb bits at the lower levels, I'm not seeing curbs shanks parallel to the ground. What I do see are horses that are on light contact going behind the vertical when the rider has to use the curb in momentary loses of balance that are natural for horses at the lower levels. This isn't good dressage, but it isn't abuse either. I've also seen a noticeable increase in the quality of rides as more people seek good instructors. One woman who gets excellent scores shows WD in a curb, but also shows upper level dressage english and rides with top dressage instructors. Her horse actually looks better - more open and free moving, shown western in the curb than english in a snaffle.
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    07-21-2013, 09:16 AM
  #69
Foal
BTW, the cavesson isn't required. The rule change referred to is that when used, it must be loose enough to allow two fingers - no crank nosebands allowed. The western cavesson is really a practical feature meant to provide a way to tie a horse, not a training device.
     
    07-21-2013, 09:17 AM
  #70
Started
The reining horse was an arab I used to ride at school by the name of Cobask. If you even acted like you where going to do a pattern he would chomp at the bit and start freaking out. Not the 'I want to run' freak out more of the 'oh god no' freak out. And My friend had an ex reining horse that was so arthritic that he was going to be put down. I don't think WD should be ridden with 2 hands ether. Western with a curb is a one handed discipline. There is no need to pull that much on a well trained horses mouth. A cutting trainer I know could just lift the reins of the withers and the horse would collect. The horse would do EVERYTHING with just his seat. I would like this sport to take off as English saddles and me don't mix.
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