Western Dressage classes offer a place
for the western rider and horse to improve themselves as individuals and as partners through the use and
discipline of dressage. By using dressage principles the western rider will help their horse in
multiple ways such as cadence, balance and carriage.
The use of dressage will help the western
horse to again work off his rear end allowing for lightness in the front end with a more natural head
set. Dressage itself will also help greatly to maintain the soundness of the horse for many years.
It is important to keep in mind that
Western Dressage encourages and will look for “lightness.” In keeping with the Western Tradition the
“Western” allows the “dressage” to have a much lighter contact, not always seen in competition dressage.
If you are a dressage rider none of this
is new, but to many western riders this teaching has been out of reach or practice for them. It is a
"comfort zone" of which many in the past have felt that "Western" is not a part. The
time is right to open the dressage doors to the western rider.
The competitive bar will be raised as
well as the personal satisfaction in knowing that good is being done for both horse and rider.
These classes will also offer a place where the western rider can compete on a scoring system that allows them
to move up at their own level. It is not just a competitive format but an educational one as
Western Dressage classes also give a
mature western horse (5 and over) a place to be re-schooled with the use of a snaffle. It is also a place
that a sour rail horse can still be good competition horse. It is a very good entry level for
individuals who wish to learn to ride and show, and riders returning to competition. Plus it educates !!!
It is not the goal of the Western
Dressage classes to use Dressage Horses under western tack. It is the goal of Western Dressage to maintain
the integrity and lightness of the western horse and western traditions through the use of dressage. This is
very important. A western horse moves differently; Western Dressage can help it move "better".
Western Dressage is all about being
the best western horse and rider you can be, not about the outfit or the tack ... it is about the horse (face
it, we are all riding the same animal) and if the western public wants to participate lets give them
the opportunity. The rider wins, the horse wins and the show industry wins as well.