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  1. #1
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    Default Western dressage??? Really???

    I am a dressage trainer and was shocked when I attended a recent schooling show with my students and witnessed western dressage. Now don't crucify me...it's just my penny worth opinion. Lol... I also talked to a few friends of mine who are judges and they hate judging it. They said they have no clue in how to score it. The horses are no where near forward, nor are they in any sort of contact. To me (again, my penny worth opinion) this belongs at a WESTERN show... NOT a dressage show. I will stay out of their "show pens" and they should stay out of our "arenas". I have respect for western riders. My boyfriend happens to be a Reiner, but I think if they want to ride a dressage test then they should go forward to the bit like the rest of us. I understand it is bringing much needed funds to schooling shows but what's next???? Saddleseat?! Opinions???


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  2. #2
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    There ARE rules for western dressage, and they request contact/etc. The work should be similar. Not just pattern riding. There IS gaited dressage already, and that is most pattern riding (worse yet when they have pacing horses trying to do lateral work which IS impossible).
    I.D.E.A. yoda



  3. #3
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    Default

    Kind of tired discussion by now but I guess I still get fired up - so here goes:

    Quote Originally Posted by Benito21 View Post
    I understand it is bringing much needed funds to schooling shows but what's next???? Saddleseat?! Opinions???
    Yes, and as IYODA said:
    Quote Originally Posted by ideayoda View Post
    There ARE rules for western dressage, and they request contact/etc. The work should be similar. Not just pattern riding. There IS gaited dressage already, and that is most pattern riding (worse yet when they have pacing horses trying to do lateral work which IS impossible).
    Bottom line Dressage especially in our local schooling shows and GMO's is suffering for $$ - as long as our western friends or gaited friends follow the clear rules and are judged accordingly - BRING IT ON.

    Down here in New Mexico we have some fine western dressage competitors and we love them and accept them with open arms. They usually frequent the Intro and Training level divisions and it fills out our budget. Our judges even have good attitudes with it and give them very constructive comments. Most clinicians in our GMO will accept them as well.

    Vive le "open mind" in my book!


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  4. #4
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    Agreed. Schooling show need money and the more they come the more money for schooling shows to keep up and running. They should ride forward into contact and if they don't they should be judged for that. Which in turn will be low scores and they learn. I'd rather see someone trying to learn how to ride dressage in a western saddle then watch a wp class go around. This has been done over and over and it's getting tiring. I don't see the big issue with it. If someone feels more comfortable in a western saddle and they learn how to do it correctly what's the problem? Yes it maybe bad at first but they have to learn. Believe me I've seen some bad bad bad intro and training level test in my time at schooling shows but no one attacks them for being there because they are outfitted correctly I guess. Its about learning and if western people want to learn dressage welcome them in and help them instead of putting them down and bit**ing about it.
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benito21 View Post
    Lol... I also talked to a few friends of mine who are judges and they hate judging it. They said they have no clue in how to score it.
    I judge it at schooling shows on a regular basis - looked up the rules and guidelines on the internet and read them, and read the tests - took me a few hours, and I have a pretty good idea how to judge them. As for hating it - I know a lot of judges who hate judging Intro and Training Level too - too bad, if you don't want to judge lower level/beginner stuff, then let show management know that and be prepared to work less often!

    BTW - it is much easier to judge then gaited dressage!


    Quote Originally Posted by Benito21 View Post
    The horses are no where near forward, nor are they in any sort of contact.
    Then score accordingly. FIrst show I judged W.D., I commented on lack of forward energy, and several riders READ their comments and came back in for their next tests looking much better. Kudos to them for taking the time to read their tests and responding with a better ride next time!

    Quote Originally Posted by Benito21 View Post
    I have respect for western riders. My boyfriend happens to be a Reiner, but I think if they want to ride a dressage test then they should go forward to the bit like the rest of us. I understand it is bringing much needed funds to schooling shows but what's next???? Saddleseat?! Opinions???
    So dressage is limited to only those on Warmbloods in black dressage tack. Preferrably at 3rd level and above. No lower level riders need apply. Personally, I think it is a good thing that we are trying to open our sport to others - dressage is the only discipline where a rider gets detailed feedback on what they did right and what needs improvement. Who cares if they are in western tack and not on a WB? They want to learn and improve - AND they help fill up the shows. Yay, helps all of us. Kind of like Opportunity classes, which attract a lot of hunter riders - dressage is good for all horses and all riders, isn't it?

    I've seen a few DQs that are trading in their show whites and taking a spin in WD - and enjoying it! Our sandbox is big enough to share...


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  6. #6
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    They aren't getting into anybody's ways so why so exclusive? We are talking about dressage shows, not dressage country club shows. Yeah judges are not given enough guideline so that is frustrating but as far as the the rides I've seen, horses with impulsion still comes on top.


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  7. #7
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    Mystic Oak, thanks for the warm welcome to those of us with different saddles. I'm seriously considering WD with my little grade QH pony that we were given. He really has no idea he isn't a WB.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nte3y...ature=youtu.be

    Watch for the mule.
    Alis volat propriis.


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  8. #8
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    Sep. 11, 2011
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    I think you need to be a tad more open minded.

    I know at least two people who have asked me about it who would NEVER do dressage but feel this is an approachable thing they can try.

    I have reservations about maintaining the training pyramid/theory and consistency in the rules but I am much more open to it then I used to be.

    More horses will benefit so I say bring it on. I hope other disciplines benefit as a result of better educated riders.


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  9. #9
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    Ditto on all the comments about being open-minded.

    The bashing is getting REALLY old, and the folks who think western riders can't ride well are ignorant of what good western riding was.

    I went to a mounted shooting event and was surprised to see that half of those horses looked like they would be able to easily perform a first or second level dressage test with good scores if you put dressage tack on them. The other half were hollow and yanked around a bit, but as it was a very friendly and supportive environment hopefully they will get horsemanship tips from those around them. My western experience was about the snaffle bit and teaching the horse to use its body and develop impulsion from the start. I had a very stiff QH who couldn't reach under herself to kick at flies on her belly, much less travel well for regular dressage - but she would have been pretty fun to do western dressage with!

    I think educating the riders on helping the horse lift at its withers and push from behind seems fun, and if it helps the QH return to true gaits I am all for it! I thought the video posted was fun and some were clearly more talented than others, but it gave me an idea of how riders could learn and improve.


    I do wish all the horses were required to be ridden in snaffles at the lower levels, though. And I'm curious how turn on the haunches is defined - I only noticed one, and the horse was pivoting on the wrong foot, so it was moving backward as it turned, though I don't know if it's defined that was in the rules or not.
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed


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  10. #10
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    I see both sides here.

    I like what Foy says about buying better horses with better gaits. "This is still an Olympic sport." In other words get over it! The fact that the Olympics has a world wide standard means we have to too.

    We can be all inclusive at the lower levels IMO because Intro and such really doesnt matter about the saddle as much.

    Where I have beef is riders trying to say it is still dressage when the horse is flat and the gaits have not improved. Dressage is ALL about the gaits becoming something new entirely and that ability is hardly as affective with gobs of leather and never posting to ease the horses back and allowing real swing.

    It is easy to say "so and so has a horse that can do the 3rd level test" when the horse is flat and jogs and lopes but how unfair to those of us held to the standard of actually showing mediums and sitting them? Or people who have worked tooth and nail to do collected gaits only to have a double standard in another arena where you can ride "collection" by jogging a little bit choppier.

    It is making even grey areas look muddy now with brown for those still trying to understand what is all the fuss? Tempis are just lead changes right? Extended canter is just like galloping? The halt is just stopping?

    I think WD is fine for intro and training level maybe MAYBE a hybrid at 1st but above that it is hogwash on a platter.
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/


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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOMIOMI1 View Post
    I see both sides here.

    I like what Foy says about buying better horses with better gaits. "This is still an Olympic sport." In other words get over it! The fact that the Olympics has a world wide standard means we have to too.

    We can be all inclusive at the lower levels IMO because Intro and such really doesnt matter about the saddle as much.

    Where I have beef is riders trying to say it is still dressage when the horse is flat and the gaits have not improved. Dressage is ALL about the gaits becoming something new entirely and that ability is hardly as affective with gobs of leather and never posting to ease the horses back and allowing real swing.

    It is easy to say "so and so has a horse that can do the 3rd level test" when the horse is flat and jogs and lopes but how unfair to those of us held to the standard of actually showing mediums and sitting them? Or people who have worked tooth and nail to do collected gaits only to have a double standard in another arena where you can ride "collection" by jogging a little bit choppier.

    It is making even grey areas look muddy now with brown for those still trying to understand what is all the fuss? Tempis are just lead changes right? Extended canter is just like galloping? The halt is just stopping?

    I think WD is fine for intro and training level maybe MAYBE a hybrid at 1st but above that it is hogwash on a platter.
    AGREED!



  12. #12
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    Who is to say "English" dressage horses won't have flat and choppy gaits, even at the higher levels? Correct training improve gaits, regardless it is in a Western or English saddle; same as in the opposite: lousy training does squat for the gaits of the horses, even in English saddles. If you think English dressage were so correct and rosy, try open your eyes a bit.

    Fair? Unfair? WTF? I think you are completely out of it, NOMIOMI1. Is it unfair that my fat pony cannot win a Derby to save his life, that he cannot hop over a two feet fence with any kind of grace, that he has to be in a dressage ring to shine? So are you saying it is not fair for the true hunter jumpers since we are a shame in their ring but by going to a different arena, do rather well? If it is unfair in your opinion that you have to work hard and train hard to get collection while others don't, maybe dressage isn't your cup of tea. Maybe you should try something else, like western pleasure. Plenty of people who don't ride win ribbons there.

    By the way, they don't even have something equivalent to 1st level yet. And to compare what essentially are intro/training to 3rd level is just bad.


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  13. #13
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    It is posts like the OP's that give all dressage riders a repputation of being non-inclusive and snobby. May I suggest that those people just don't sign up for the WD classes and leave them to those who would like to expand their riding enjoyment. Dressage people wanting to make the change can take a look.

    I'm long past wanting to trot up the center line, but do see the advantage of a properly trained horse that can go forward lightly. I'd like to do it myself.

    The sport is in ints infancy yet - give it time.

    Different strokes for different folks. This discussion is getting chewed over and over and over.

    At the end of Buck's movie he is riding in beautiful sync with his bridle horse, and that horse is very, very broke.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


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  14. #14
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    The mule in the video lopes better than most western horses I've seen!
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


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  15. #15
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    I'm willing to be "open minded" but with two hands on a curb bit..at Intro: NOT dressage.

    It's hard to be welcoming when the leading exponent of "Western Dressage" sells a device (but interestingly, no longer advertises said device on his web site) to tie the horse's head to its tail to "teach it to yield to the bit."

    Now, I know there are participants eagerly wanting to do "western dressage" and some may do just fine, but as I said, when your spokesperson is questionable..... Now there's a teen at my barn, and she does team penning. She ALWAYS rides her horse forward and that little mare MOVES. She rides with a very light contact (but, admittedly, in a curb). A horse moving/ridden as she does could probably do quite well at "western dressage," but that's not what I've seen competing so far.


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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gloria View Post
    Who is to say "English" dressage horses won't have flat and choppy gaits, even at the higher levels? Correct training improve gaits, regardless it is in a Western or English saddle; same as in the opposite: lousy training does squat for the gaits of the horses, even in English saddles. If you think English dressage were so correct and rosy, try open your eyes a bit.

    Fair? Unfair? WTF? I think you are completely out of it, NOMIOMI1. Is it unfair that my fat pony cannot win a Derby to save his life, that he cannot hop over a two feet fence with any kind of grace, that he has to be in a dressage ring to shine? So are you saying it is not fair for the true hunter jumpers since we are a shame in their ring but by going to a different arena, do rather well? If it is unfair in your opinion that you have to work hard and train hard to get collection while others don't, maybe dressage isn't your cup of tea. Maybe you should try something else, like western pleasure. Plenty of people who can't ride to save their lives win ribbons there.

    By the way, they don't even have something equivalent to 1st level yet. And to compare what essentially are intro/training to 3rd level is just bad.
    Did you read my post? You work hard making the switch to dressage right?

    Im saying everyone should. Not the opposite.
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy M View Post
    I'm willing to be "open minded" but with two hands on a curb bit..at Intro: NOT dressage.

    It's hard to be welcoming when the leading exponent of "Western Dressage" sells a device (but interestingly, no longer advertises said device on his web site) to tie the horse's head to its tail to "teach it to yield to the bit."

    Now, I know there are participants eagerly wanting to do "western dressage" and some may do just fine, but as I said, when your spokesperson is questionable..... Now there's a teen at my barn, and she does team penning. She ALWAYS rides her horse forward and that little mare MOVES. She rides with a very light contact (but, admittedly, in a curb). A horse moving/ridden as she does could probably do quite well at "western dressage," but that's not what I've seen competing so far.
    Last year I rode a mare that was CowHorse of the year and she would seriously kick some major bootay in dressage at the LL-3rd being that is incredibly talented at changes and not entirely downhill with a natural loftier gait.

    If someone asked, I'd say get her some dressage lessons and slap a saddle/dressage bridle on her and she could hold her own.

    Not keep her in a western saddle and curb bit and just ride in because that is all it takes to do our discipline when my own horse wouldnt have a chance in hell of walking into a cow pony ring untrained and do a damned thing besides probably piaffe herself
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/


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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MysticOakRanch View Post
    I judge it at schooling shows on a regular basis - looked up the rules and guidelines on the internet and read them, and read the tests - took me a few hours, and I have a pretty good idea how to judge them. As for hating it - I know a lot of judges who hate judging Intro and Training Level too - too bad, if you don't want to judge lower level/beginner stuff, then let show management know that and be prepared to work less often!

    BTW - it is much easier to judge then gaited dressage!




    Then score accordingly. FIrst show I judged W.D., I commented on lack of forward energy, and several riders READ their comments and came back in for their next tests looking much better. Kudos to them for taking the time to read their tests and responding with a better ride next time!



    So dressage is limited to only those on Warmbloods in black dressage tack. Preferrably at 3rd level and above. No lower level riders need apply. Personally, I think it is a good thing that we are trying to open our sport to others - dressage is the only discipline where a rider gets detailed feedback on what they did right and what needs improvement. Who cares if they are in western tack and not on a WB? They want to learn and improve - AND they help fill up the shows. Yay, helps all of us. Kind of like Opportunity classes, which attract a lot of hunter riders - dressage is good for all horses and all riders, isn't it?

    I've seen a few DQs that are trading in their show whites and taking a spin in WD - and enjoying it! Our sandbox is big enough to share...
    As a primarily western rider who crosses over to hunter and dressage, thank you
    Michael: Seems the people who burned me want me for a job.
    Sam: A job? Does it pay?
    Michael: Nah, it's more of a "we'll kill you if you don't do it" type of thing.
    Sam: Oh. I've never liked those.


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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOMIOMI1 View Post
    I think WD is fine for intro and training level maybe MAYBE a hybrid at 1st but above that it is hogwash on a platter.
    While I agree they should keep the true definition of collection/extension/etc (not just simply "shorten/lengthen the gait") there are plenty of Western horses who can collect quite nicely. They are not all on-the-forehand. And those that are on the forehand aren't going to get to 2nd/3rd level anyway (just like the english horses that aren't built for it).

    The issue of contact/throughness is a big difference... but there are horses that can be ridden bridleless and perform GP movements (although thats AFTER training with a bit for years). And perhaps that would be one of the big differences between the two.

    Then you get to difference in movements: i.e. turn on the haunches vs a spin, sliding stop vs halt. But I see no reason not to ask for a true turn on the haunches, or a true halt in a WD test. The should be able to perform it.


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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOMIOMI1 View Post
    Did you read my post? You work hard making the switch to dressage right?

    Im saying everyone should. Not the opposite.
    Yeah I read your post, NOMIOMI1. Oh I don't ride hunter/jumpers. I'm a pure "English" dressage person, and one jump at one fox hunt convinced me that my fat pony is a disgrace at jumps. I myself cannot stand Western saddles.

    Everybody should work hard, yes. The thing is, I have never seen anybody who tries and does well in Dressage of any kind, English or Western, don't work hard.

    There are many flaws in current Western Dressage, just like there are many flaws in English Dressage. In Western dressage, the general lack of impulsion is one, so is the problematic use of curb bit. But hey, it is hard to beat the submission of those western horses. In English dressage you see horses barging through riders' half halts, while in Western dressage, you see horses lacking impulsion but rarely do you see them ignore their riders.

    Remember English dressage has been developed over centuries while Western Dressage has only, what, several years? For many Western folks, riding in a curb is as natural as breathing? Not saying it is correct, but that is as natural as Pelhams in field hunters, or snaffle in lower level dressage horses.

    I think it is far more productive to try to welcome folks who aren't accustomed to correct dressage riding by spelling out, over and over, what should be expected, and by rewarding correct riding, as well as penalizing those who don't just like in English dressage ring, than to say, "hey you don't belong here".


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