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Old 03-12-2011, 04:43 PM  
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Western Dressage

A friend told me about this and I was wondering what the fine folks of HT thought of it.... http://www.westerndressageassociation.com/index.html While I'm a western rider, I've often thought that a couple of my horses would do really well at dressage. Anyone tried this before?
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Old 03-12-2011, 05:46 PM  
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I like to term the concept as simply body control
There seems to be the idea that only dressage focus on getting a horse truly solid in all basics,while in fact, any good western training program focus on complete body control, but at the same time works towards that eventual self carriage and collection of of seat and legs alone, so there are variations in working towards that final goal, be it a western pl horse or a reiner that differs from classic dressage
At one time there might have been merit with the idea that all horses could benifit from some dressage, but with the refinement in training today at upper end of western disciplines, this is no longer so
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Old 03-12-2011, 07:55 PM  
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What smilie says.

The term "Dressage" as applied to horses and originally intended by definition in French simply means 'Schooling' and not a particular discipline.

If you school a horse for cavalry work it's properly Dressage Militaire and if you school a horse for jumping or field hunting it would be Dressage Sportif. Of course those terms are not used much anymore. But essentially Dressage = Schooling (for a particular purpose, hopefully).

It's sort of like the term 'Circus Riding' having not much to do with riding in a circus with clowns and tigers, but riding in a ring, hence Menege riding (largely concerned with etiquette when riding with groups of riders in a ring).
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Old 03-13-2011, 04:58 PM  
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Gilmore, the history of words is great, but often has little to with its modern meaning. The word dressage comes from the french word for training, but has evolved to have a more specialized and refined meaning.

A modern deffinition would be:
Quote:
Dressage: a method of teaching horses the most efficient and comfortable way to carry riders.
M. Schaffer

This is the trait that is unique to dressage as it is not about putting all horses into one "ideal" framework, or about making it necisarily easier for the rider...it is about teaching the horse to use itself optimally for its own conformation so that it can progress to progressively more difficult movements.

And I think that is what western dressage is trying to do as well; to focus on the systematic training and development of the horse, while allowing for individual differences in how a horse will carry itself.

Although they didn't show much for tests on that website, if it because like english dressage, then I expect it to progress systematically and gain difficulty as you go. This seems much more friendly to young horses who can progress as they age, rather than be expected to go in a mature frame as babies.

If I showed western, it would be a class I would want to show in, and a class I would encourage students to compete in. Not sure that many shows or associations will go for it though....dressage classes are time consuming, expensive, and not that specator friendly at the low levels.

What will be interesting is if western dressage catches on...will they have the same strict drug policies that english dressage does?

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Old 03-13-2011, 05:09 PM  
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i've always combined the two when training my horses. since dressage teaches the horse how to carry the rider instead of riding the horse til it figures it out (which can take years) like in most western training programs. and actually when i first started learning dressage i couldn't afford the proper tack so i just did it with an o-ring snaffle on a western bridle and my western saddle or just went bare-back. come to think of it i shoulda patented the idea because i didn't think it was that big of a deal
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Old 03-13-2011, 05:42 PM  
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To respond to some of your comments, Equine Alberta:
First, i don't like what I see on the pictures flashed on their site, as to how I want my horse to frame up
Second, as for drug rules, dressage is certainly not the only discipline with strict drug rules, and like any other discipline with drug rules there are cheaters
A vet who is involved in drug rules , testing and enforcement in various disciplines, spoke at , yes, the Horse Breeder and Owners conference.
There are some that give cocaine to dressage horses so that they are on a downer during the test
You can have all the strict drug rules in the World in place, but the cheaters will always try and find ways to beat the drug tests, thus it comes down to personal values and morality. I don't show dressage, yet have never drugged a horse
We teach collection and very good self carriage in a western training program, but we also dont want a horse that needs to be constantly baby sat between reins and legs, thus a dressage foundation would be counter productive
Would you want to put a reining foundation on your dressage horse?
Yes, reiners are brought along quicker, but would you wish to argue that a horse able to guide in a fast and slow circle, run to a sliding stop and bury his butt in the ground while staying light in front, able to do fast and correct turnarounds, flying changes , rollbacks, all while guided one handed on a loose rein has any less body control than a dressage horse?
I haver no problem with dressage and admire an upper level dressage horse
I do have a problem with the idea that great basics are lacking in a top western pleasure program because the horse is not trained in 'dressage'
All disciplines at upper level have their own good basic training program that such an athlete is built on, that is able to excel against the best in their discipline
A dressage foundation is no more condusive in creating an out standing reiner or western pleasure horse that a reining program is at creating an upper level dressage horse
How about we have some English reining programs???
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Old 03-13-2011, 07:04 PM  
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Smilie, not sure where you are coming from based on my post!

I am saying I think western dressage would be a welcome addition to western/breed showing.

I am NOT knocking western riding and reining, nor am I saying dressage training would be good for those disciplines, just that I like dressage, and I like how it allows people and horses to progress in a logical format, and allows for horses of a variety of types to compete. I see western dressage as a different discipline from reining, wp and such (although I am sure some horses could cross enter). I also like the score sheets and scoring formats that come with dressage.

Western dressage is new, and so I doubt the horses pictured are products of the program, but that said, they are Morgans, and the morgans I work with do have a different way of carrying themselves. Sure, they may not be in your ideal frame, but that is kind of my point...dressage isn't about putting a horse in a certain frame.

(edited to add: an english reining class sounds like fun! So would english trail.)

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Old 03-13-2011, 07:52 PM  
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I know of stock horses (Apps and AQHA ) that show open in dressage, and that is great,. Another avenue for compition, and where they are judged by a dressage judge
I do not see where there needs to be a class called western dressage at stock horse breed shows. An oxymoron in my eyes
We have scoring systems for reining, working cowhorse and western riding.
Most judges at breed shows also use a scoring system for trail and equitation
In my eyes, sort of like putting a 'dressage reining class at an English show.
Just my humble opinion
Western eq classes require riding a very concise pattern, as does trail, so lots of avenues already to show how broke your horse is at a stock horse show
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Old 03-14-2011, 02:35 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
I know of stock horses (Apps and AQHA ) that show open in dressage, and that is great,. Another avenue for compition, and where they are judged by a dressage judge
I do not see where there needs to be a class called western dressage at stock horse breed shows. An oxymoron in my eyes
We have scoring systems for reining, working cowhorse and western riding.
Most judges at breed shows also use a scoring system for trail and equitation
In my eyes, sort of like putting a 'dressage reining class at an English show.
Just my humble opinion
Western eq classes require riding a very concise pattern, as does trail, so lots of avenues already to show how broke your horse is at a stock horse show
The differences are:
1) In Western dressage there are (or will be in theory) tests that increase in difficulty along with the training scale. So a young horse can compete in a pattern class, without being asked to do too much too soon. As the horse progresses in training, it can do a more complicated test. I can see this being very amateur friendly for someone wanting to bring along their own young horse in a slow/methodical manner. Hopefully WD wouldn't need a horse to be in a curb by a certain age, but rather by a certain level.
2) Scoring system in reining and such is great, but is more like Hunter judging. In dressage, the judges have a preset scoring system with marks given for specific elements. The riders get the score card back along with comments so they can mark progress and know exactly where they are lacking. I do not know of any discipline other than dressage (ridden or driven) that has this type of detailed score cards.
3) This is different than english dressage, as it is looking for the horse to be trained western. Jogging, lopping and such. Not sure how it will progress into the higher levels.

I think it is an interesting addition, and should in no way be taken as a detraction or mark against the classes already offered.

(I like the idea of an english reining class...I could see it being something to showcase the flatwork needed for jumpers with tight turns, lead changes, counter canter, transitions within canter....it would be great!)
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:16 AM  
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Smilie, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you and the rest of us are using different definitions of dressage. To me saying it's "simply body control" does not make it not dressage. The only real difference I see has already been pointed out. Dressage as a system uses exercises to strengthen and supple the entire horse. This is as opposed to a system that concentrates only on the skills the horse uses in a particular competition.

So many of the very top competitors in Reining and other western competitions say they use dressage work in their basics I have a hard time understanding your flat denial that it is helpful or even used. Saying you're using dressage does not mean your horse is going to be doing Grand Prix movements, have the carriage of even a second level horse, or have to work in a snaffle its whole career. It simply means the whole horse is addressed as well as the skill set needed for the job.

The WDAA classes have to be judged by a USEF recognized judge so I don't think you have to worry about seeing them at stock horse breed shows. Of course the day could come when show managements think they are money makers and are willing to hire the extra judges. Then the breed associations will offer their own classes, not WDAA.
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:54 PM  
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Let me make more confusing -

The term 'dressage' as it is commonly used today (to describe Haute Ecole and Classical riding) is largely an early 20th century term when applied to an actual competition. The term as used today is generally perceived to apply only to classical riding (of which Haute Ecole is the more 'pure' form). It has become a provincial term, but only in English speaking countries. Remember, the common tradition of riding in the US largely came from England, or rather our terminology came from England, and a little was lost in the translation where the term 'dressage' as used by the French (and all other Europeans who don't speak English) and in equestrian terms means 'schooling' of the horse and rider. And that's why it is called a dressage 'test' when competing (one is showing how well schooled the horse and rider are). But that is just a matter of semantics and either use of the word gets the idea across in almost any context.

But, Western 'Dressage' is a legitimate and perhaps more accurate use of the term 'Dressage' in the sense that what is commonly called Dressage is more accurately 'Classical Dressage'. Dressage as the term is used today is more like the act of displaying the schooling of a horse and rider in a competitive environment as an esoteric art for the sake of art. "Equitation Over Fences" could be properly described as 'Dressage' using the modern term in its broadest sense because the esoteric qualities of the performance that display the schooling of the horse and rider are what is graded. "Open Jumpers" does not fall under the category of 'dressage' because the only goal is to get the horse over the fence and form and quality of performance doesn't figure into it.
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Old 03-23-2011, 10:39 PM  
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Gimore, that may all be technically correct but from what I can gather in texting my trainer's daughter, who's working at a stable in Germany, "Dressage" in Germany is used in the same context as we use it in the U.S. I cant say about the rest of Europe.
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:08 AM  
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In Italy the term Dressage is the same as in the US as well.
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Old 03-24-2011, 06:31 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miichelle View Post
Gimore, that may all be technically correct but from what I can gather in texting my trainer's daughter, who's working at a stable in Germany, "Dressage" in Germany is used in the same context as we use it in the U.S. I cant say about the rest of Europe.
Which brings up a very interesting point - modern dressage (classical, that is) is largely an invention of the early 20th century in Germany and isn't quite the same thing as Classical Dressage of the previous two or three centuries. Modern dressage in the common sense of the word is essentially a modification that developed from German military riding on the parade field. Littauer wrote a whole chapter on this very subject (the definitions of Dressage) in his book The Development of Modern Riding and even Rodzianko touches on the subject in his writings.

If you look at the various schools of riding that fall under the category of 'dressage' you will notice that even in classical riding terms, they differ greatly. The Classical high schools of Spanish/Austrian/Portuguese/French/etc.,,, are quite a bit different in technique than modern competition dressage, but use the more archaic version of the term. A horse and rider from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna might not fare too well with German dressage judges.

And there is only one breed of rider that is even more stiff than a German rider, and that's a French rider.
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:14 PM  
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Check out www.northamericanwesterndressage.com

There's also a facebook group that has a TON of people...I think this is going to be very popular.

http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/No...sternDressage/
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Old 02-28-2012, 08:53 PM  
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Oooh I love this! I did this with the Morgans and they had competitions down in California! It is a wonderful to just try different things and also you dont have to go out and get all the expensive jackets or saddles. You just dress like for western and have fun!
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:10 PM  
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I would really like to try it.
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Old 11-10-2012, 02:18 PM  
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Dressage is a french word meaning "to train the horse". Western or english dressage should always be based first and foremost on the love of the horse. DRESSAGE is simply the systematic developement of the horse thru gymnastic excersises to painlessly, gradually and naturally develop the horse to prolong the working life and serviceability of our equine partners. The saddle should have no relevance.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:16 AM  
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Maybe I haven't seen enough of the Western Dressage to make a
knowledgeable comment...but based on watching a couple YouTube
vids I have to say that it was as interesting as watching paint dry LOL!
It doesn't seem to be a great spectator sport JMHO.

And I actually like to watch upper level "regular" dressage.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:21 AM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longride View Post
Smilie, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you and the rest of us are using different definitions of dressage. To me saying it's "simply body control" does not make it not dressage. The only real difference I see has already been pointed out. Dressage as a system uses exercises to strengthen and supple the entire horse. This is as opposed to a system that concentrates only on the skills the horse uses in a particular competition.

So many of the very top competitors in Reining and other western competitions say they use dressage work in their basics I have a hard time understanding your flat denial that it is helpful or even used. Saying you're using dressage does not mean your horse is going to be doing Grand Prix movements, have the carriage of even a second level horse, or have to work in a snaffle its whole career. It simply means the whole horse is addressed as well as the skill set needed for the job.

The WDAA classes have to be judged by a USEF recognized judge so I don't think you have to worry about seeing them at stock horse breed shows. Of course the day could come when show managements think they are money makers and are willing to hire the extra judges. Then the breed associations will offer their own classes, not WDAA.
Very true that any upper western end discipline also uses suppling exercises, that work on basic body control, which some like to call basic dressage, and also to isolate and develope and fine tuned control of basic body parts.
The difference being, those exercises are geared to a horse eventually being shown on a loose rein and one handed, unless you ride him only HUS, or like with a lot of contact, like a Morgan

EA, horse Improvement had a detailed scoring system like that, for the patterns that were ridden. Those patterns could be ridden either western or English, by horses up to age 5. So, I guess I can see western dressage working in that manner, having the very basics on a horse, before he goes on to event specific training, but don't see , like you, where that western dressage would go beyond that
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