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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
  • Does my dressage horse want to be collected went rode
  • How do i ride my horse on the trail dressage or western

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    07-22-2013, 11:09 AM
  #81
Started
Oh, blast it all. I had responded to your comment, MuppetGirl, but my phone must have messed up in the process of posting.

Did you see where I posted that a rule change will be happening soon to disallow curbs in lower levels? It would appear that your concern is already being addressed. Once that is in effect, will you then be fine with WD as a discipline? You have to remember, not everyone rides/shows in a curb and not all of those using a curb are using it incorrectly. You're really only referring to a small percentage of riders. With WD being so new, these heavy-handed riders likely had this bad habit from the getgo that was established in some other discipline of riding and it carried over to WD. Using similar logic, there should be no showing in any Western discipline where curbs are used simply because there are people everywhere who use them incorrectly. Why cut off your nose to spite your face, though?

Again, moving beyond the parallel curbs (which can and do occur everywhere curbs are used), what do you dislike? Or is it like bsms stated and the thought of an "English" discipline in the "western" world just chaps your hiney?

I genuinely want to get to the root of all this disgust and disapproval - beyond curb bits, of course.
     
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    07-22-2013, 11:14 AM
  #82
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Myya    
Dressage is mostly "just good riding". It's about balance and lightness and rhythm. It's about making the horse more comfortable to ride and about teaching the rider to ride better. It's about teaching your horse to respond in a quick but relaxed manner to whatever you ask of him. It's about teaching him to stop without throwing himself on his forehand or jerking his head up in the air.

I disagree. Dressage may do those things, but it does so with a different goal and using a different style than traditional western riding. Dressage is NOT about "teaching your horse to respond in a quick but relaxed manner to whatever you ask of him". You can do that with a forward seat. You can do that with a chair seat. You can do that in the traditional western style of riding. You can also NOT do that in dressage, if you are a dressage buffoon - just as you can NOT do it using ANY approach to riding, if you are a buffoon.


I think all those things and more, apply to western riding as well as English Dressage. If you can manipulate your western horse easily through a gate, you're probably doing more dressage than you realize. Same with riding off your seat and neck reining - both are very, very much like dressage.

So if I do those in a forward seat, I'm doing dressage? I think not. There is a reason dressage teachers teach a style of riding. It is the style that works best for dressage. A dressage instructor won't show someone a picture of a top cutter and tell them to ride like that - unless they are being asked about cutting.



There are different styles meant to support different goals in riding. That makes sense. We do not all ride dressage.


As I see it, competing in Western Dressage is just another way to enjoy your horse and to improve your riding skills and your connection with your horse.

It is, but it uses dressage as it base, not traditional western riding.


I also think it should be mentioned that the Western horse (the Quarter horse) has it's roots in the Spanish Barbs brought to the Americas by the Spaniards. Guess what those horses were originally bred and trained to do? Bingo: Dressage. Okay, it probably wasn't called "Dressage" then, (actually it probably was, since "dressage" simply means "training"), and the saddles looked different, but the Spanish horse was (and still is today) built for collection and for use as a good riding horse for war, and working cattle, and just about every other purpose a horse might be used for.

Is collection foreign to Western horses? I don't think so. A western horse doing a sliding stop is collected. A western horse can not to a proper roll-back or spin without being collected.

TEMPORARY, SHORT DURATION
collection. The ultimate goal of dressage is sustained, collected gaits (per the FEI). You can teach momentary collection to a horse in one ride. It doesn't require years of training. Dressage, OTOH, rewards certain builds of horses and requires years of training - because its goals differ from traditional western riding.

Sustained collection is SLOW. The West is BIG. BIG & SLOW don't match well.


I'm sure any horse in any western show class would be penalized if he went along leaning on his forehand, or with a hollowed back and his nose up in the air. Why? Because western judges are looking for "collection" too.

No, they are looking for balance. Leaning on the forehand is not balanced. I was reminded of that last night, when I rode my mare in a snaffle for a change, and she kept trying her old trick of cantering with her nose at the ground. My back is throbbing right now from fighting her. She can do a relaxed & balanced canter when she wants, but she will never get the training required for a true collected canter gait.
And that is OK. Just as it is OK to want to teach sustained, collected gaits.

Not to mention that English dressage classes all include the "free walk" which is virtually identical to low headed, stretching down, Western walk.

That 'western walk' is a fad used in some sports (WP). It is not how most horses move on the open range. West. Range. Open spaces. Long distances. Barrel racing tests certain facets of movements used in a lot of traditional western riding - speed and quick turns. Dressage does not.
That does not make dressage wrong. It just isn't traditional western riding, rooted in the ranches of the west.

So, so many similarities. I'm surprised no one thought of this before.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SEAmom    
...I think it's a shame that so few people can see the similarities between Western and dressage. Dressage was never established for arenas either. It was to keep war horses conditioned and battle ready.

That is a myth, IMHO. It was used for parade grounds. The US Cavalry looked at dressage in the 1800s and concluded it had no value for cavalry horses. The moves that were supposedly good for war are actually moves that would make it easier for a foot soldier to kill the horse. And the US Cavalry concluded that dressage training for the typical horse would cause it to break down faster than one without.

It was only brought into an arena for riders to showcase the abilities of their mounts. Same thing happened with reining, cutting, trail, WP, etc. Those are all arena work now with a basis outside of the arena.

There are many similarities between the two. All that hind end propulsion, self-Carriage, lightness in the front end, etc. is the same that Dressage riders strive toward. Sure, you won't see a cutting horse doing a levade. Think about it - leg yields, piaffes, voltes just to name a few. All dressage terms, but you see them in western disciplines in different variations.

Not really. You can do a leg yield without doing dressage. A piaffe, again, has little use on a ranch. Per the FEI, dressage is interested in SUSTAINED collection, and the training scale exists to get to that goal without hurting the horse.

I think part of it is the division between Western and English. Why would you want to stop someone who wants to develop correct riding skills and build a better partnership with their horse?

I don't. I just object to the assumption that western riders do NOT, already, have correct riding skills and build partnerships with their horses. What is 'correct riding'? Dressage teaches heel - hip - shoulder - ear alignment, which truly IS right for dressage. If you want to give subtle cues to your horse with your heel, it needs to be in a location to do that. But like a lot of western riders thru history, I find my legs are more comfortably wrapped around my horse, my horse stays facing the front better and relaxes more, when I ride with my heels forward of my belt buckle.

If this guy hired a dressage instructor, the instructor would think, "I've got a source of income for YEAR ahead of me...":




I ride with my heels a bit further back, and my stirrups a bit shorter, but I have ridden in that position many times and it works fine. For western riding. So does this, which is actually my goal for riding. If this guy moved his shoulders forward, his weight would be carried on a forward seat and he'd be ready to haul butt:



I know my horse could do WD, but not any other western discipline or English Dressage.

I'm curious - why can your horse do nothing but WD?


Why would it be so bad for us to do that? Isn't a goal of riding to build a partnership with your horse? Wouldn't it be better to see riders want to do that through correct riding and subtle communication and for horses to work correctly and balanced in tune with their riders cues?

There is nothing wrong. However, both the name of WD and its stated goals claim western riders need to learn how to do that, and I find that offensive. Mia and I are partners. We have learned how to ride together. Since neither of us knew what we were doing at the beginning, it has been a give & take - I learn something and teach her, she learns something and teaches me. Most western riders learn on a broke horse, which would have been nice. However, the style or riding used in traditional western riding is not abusive, wrong, bad for the horse, domineering or unbalanced.


That type of riding is useful everywhere, even on the trail.
Posted via Mobile Device
My comments in bold. I guess my heartburn with WD is that it assumes western riders suck and that we need to imitate dressage to learn how to ride right. This isn't 'right' yet, because Mia & I are both in the learning stage. But it isn't 'wrong' either. I don't need to bring my heels back, and she doesn't need to tuck her head. I do need to learn riding with one hand, although it feels weird to me - but you can tell Mia isn't stressing over it, either. And I really need to relax my back:


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    07-22-2013, 11:34 AM
  #83
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by SEAmom    
Oh, blast it all. I had responded to your comment, MuppetGirl, but my phone must have messed up in the process of posting.

Did you see where I posted that a rule change will be happening soon to disallow curbs in lower levels? It would appear that your concern is already being addressed. Once that is in effect, will you then be fine with WD as a discipline? You have to remember, not everyone rides/shows in a curb and not all of those using a curb are using it incorrectly. You're really only referring to a small percentage of riders. With WD being so new, these heavy-handed riders likely had this bad habit from the getgo that was established in some other discipline of riding and it carried over to WD. Using similar logic, there should be no showing in any Western discipline where curbs are used simply because there are people everywhere who use them incorrectly. Why cut off your nose to spite your face, though?

Again, moving beyond the parallel curbs (which can and do occur everywhere curbs are used), what do you dislike? Or is it like bsms stated and the thought of an "English" discipline in the "western" world just chaps your hiney?

I genuinely want to get to the root of all this disgust and disapproval - beyond curb bits, of course.
I have no disgust or disapproval BEYOND the improper use of the curb. I posted a while back a WD demo video held at a show introducing WD - the curb was parallel the whole time and I was not impressed by the way it was put forward to the crowd. I'm glad they've made a change to the rules and it will certainly sort the goats from the sheep, achieving what they're doing now in curbs with a snaffle will offer the challenge that's required IMO. No more short cuts.
     
    07-22-2013, 11:47 AM
  #84
Started
It's easy to read anything and become offended. "I enjoy seeing rainbows!" ....... "Rainbows mean rain! There could be a flood somewhere. You're glad people just lost their homes?!" I don't honestly think WDAA is implying that all other western riding is inferior. Though, if you're genuinely owned by that statement, do something about it. Contact the board, email the webmaster. Bring it to their attention so they know.

Dressage as it was established "back in the day" wasn't meant to mimic actual war maneuvers. It was to keep the horses challenged, mentally and physically, and in battle-ready condition. Sure, the horses were paraded around before and after battles, but that was not for the horses. It was for the soldiers to be seen and the "commoners" to see them. Did they do tricks with the horses? Probably. Why not? It boosts the moral of the people and shows the superiority and capability of the riders. How much faith would you have had in a mounted army who couldn't control their mounts? Compare that to the confidence you would have if an army who could make their horses jump in the air on command.

My point with the movement names was that they do exist in a similar form in western disciplines. Leg yielding isn't inherently Dressage-only. It's used in Dressage the same as it's used in reining patterns. It's still a leg yield and accomplishes the same task. A two-point in jumping is the same as a two-point in racing and accomplishes the same task - getting the rider of the horse's back. The racer isn't jumping, though, nor is the jumper racing. A volte in Dressage is the same method used on many barrel racers to help them balance themselves in those tight turns. Not knowing how to train for reining, I can only speculate that reiners start with circles that get smaller and smaller (volte). A pirouette in Dressage is the same basic maneuver as the spin in reining or even the turn in showmanship (whatever that's called) just with a slightly different application and slight variation. The hind end power in cutting horses is amazing to keep a horse light enough in front to follow a cow. Compare that to the power in the hind end required for a levade (granted I don't think is really seen outside of the Spanish riding school).

You have to look beyond the obvious differences in appearance at the deeper meaning of the moves. It's almost like you're looking at granny smooth apples and red delicious apples and saying they aren't both apples because one is green and the other is red. The seat in all disciplines best promotes that discipline. I agree completely with this statement. That doesn't mean you aren't accomplishing essentially the exact same goal.
     
    07-22-2013, 11:55 AM
  #85
Started
Oh, I forgot to clarify one thing. I didn't say he couldn't do anything other than WD. I said other western disciplines and English Dressage. He doesn't have the motion desired for English Dressage, the cow instinct for any working cow events, the conformation for things like reining, the motion desired for WP, etc. He can do trail probably one he can focus longer than a couple of minutes at a time. He could probably do some contesting if he can keep his legs under himself (clumsy horse). He has no hope of doing any of the above listed events with any kind of solid skill. Now, Arabian hunt seat he can do in ammy classes. Maybe even show hack. I'm just pointing out that it gives us something in western that we could both do. I have no interest in contesting, personally. He could probably jump, too, but I have no interest in intentionally leaping off the ground on my horse.
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    07-22-2013, 01:18 PM
  #86
Foal
I do have the credentials. I talk with the members of the Rules and Tests committees regularly and these are topics that come up repeatedly. I also work with judges. If it were solely up to me the rule allowing curb bits in the lower levels would never have been there, but the people who wrote the original rules and the people who will modify them over time are not the same. I think change will come, but in the meantime education of both competitors and judges is key. What I've seen of top reiners using two hands is not draped reins in the sense I see it in Western Horsemanship. What I'd like to see under the rulse we have now is the rein soft, not draped the way they are in Western Horsemanship. There are examples of this two handed in this clip Cutting, Sorting, Ranch Horse For Sale - YouTube
     
    07-22-2013, 05:23 PM
  #87
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by SEAmom    
It's easy to read anything and become offended. "I enjoy seeing rainbows!" ....... "Rainbows mean rain! There could be a flood somewhere. You're glad people just lost their homes?!" I don't honestly think WDAA is implying that all other western riding is inferior...
Suppose WD said something like
"Dressage riders! We're here to help you. Ditch your dressage saddle, buy some western tack, and learn from us how to ride with lightness! In WESTERN dressage, we will teach you to ride your horse with balance and lightness and rhythm. It's about making the horse more comfortable to ride and about teaching the rider to ride better. It's about teaching your horse to respond in a quick but relaxed manner to whatever you ask of him. It's about teaching him to stop without squeezing his face into his chest, and moving naturally instead of riding with your back braced against the horse's pull. We'll teach you correct riding, and subtle communication and for your horses to work correctly and balanced, in tune with their riders cues.

Come learn WESTERN Dressage, and learn to move and ride as one with your horse!"
Do you think the average dressage rider would find that offensive? I do. I would, if I had studied dressage and tried to ride dressage well.

The things the WD fans have written on this thread in the last few days are offensive. The underlying assumption is that western riders need to use dressage, because dressage is superior and western riders are inferior and by learning dressage, even if it is on the cheap, western riders will learn how to ride properly. Properly meaning "like a dressage rider". Because western riders don't ride with balance and lightness and rhythm.
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    07-22-2013, 07:38 PM
  #88
Foal
Quote:
Suppose WD said something like
"Dressage riders! We're here to help you. Ditch your dressage saddle, buy some western tack, and learn from us how to ride with lightness! In WESTERN dressage, we will teach you to ride your horse with balance and lightness and rhythm. It's about making the horse more comfortable to ride and about teaching the rider to ride better. It's about teaching your horse to respond in a quick but relaxed manner to whatever you ask of him. It's about teaching him to stop without squeezing his face into his chest, and moving naturally instead of riding with your back braced against the horse's pull. We'll teach you correct riding, and subtle communication and for your horses to work correctly and balanced, in tune with their riders cues.

Come learn WESTERN Dressage, and learn to move and ride as one with your horse!"


You probably won't believe me but YES! YES! YES! This is what I imagined that Western Dressage was offering me and THAT is exactly why it appealed to me immediately! I am an English Dressage rider who was immediately converted over to the idea of Western Dressage because I so much appreciate my Western riding roots and was hopeful that WD would be a move away from Modern Competitive Dressage and toward a more classical focus on lightness and balance. After all, those Western reining riders sure know their balance, rhythm, timing, etc!
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    07-22-2013, 07:55 PM
  #89
Foal
Bsms, I'm sorry if I've offended you in anything I've said. I rode Western in my youth, then English equitation, then Jumping, then took a 20 year break to have my family, then began riding again. I could have gone back to Western riding or Jumping, but didn't only because I felt I was too old to do reining and didn't want to just walk, trot, canter around a ring all day in Western Pleasure. Neither did I want to start jumping again and risk falling off at my age. So I decided to aim at English Dressage, but because I couldn't find an instructor (because I didn't own a trained dressage horse), I ended up in English equitation again (which I found just as dull to me as Western Pleasure). I finally found a good Dressage instructor and have been riding contentedly ever since, but when I heard about WD I was thrilled. Finally I could go back to Western without being stuck with Western Pleasure (and I apologize to everyone who loves Western Pleasure) or with risking my life in Reining. Meanwhile my wonderful Dressage instructor is thinking the same thing and is seriously considering switching to Western Dressage.
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    07-23-2013, 04:42 PM
  #90
Started
Just saw this today posted by someone I know who also competes in English Dressage as well. She really enjoys the WD classes she's done this year. She, too, was skeptical as a successful traditional Dressage competitor for many years.
WDAA Selected as USEF Recognized Affiliate for Western Dressage
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