is Western Dressage about ?
Western Dressage was created to provide
western riders and horses with an educational program which incorporates the principles of lightness into a whole
new way of thinking about riding Western.
Western Dressage helps a rider to improve
the horse’s balance, cadence and carriage. Whether your horse competes in Horsemanship,
Western Riding, Trail or Reining, using Dressage will improve your partnership and help keep your horse
happier and sound far longer than it might otherwise be.
does Western differ from Traditional ?
The goals of Traditional and Western
Dressage are similar in that they both aim to create a better horse and rider. The Western Dressage horse is
encouraged to work and school on lighter contact than the typical Dressage horse.
While both want to see balance, cadence
and carriage, the Western Dressage horse will be evaluated mindful of the conformation and movement of today’s
Western horses, will have a shorter stride than a Dressage horse and will be asked to walk, jog and lope as opposed
to walk, trot and canter.
any breed of horse compete ?
Any breed of horse can participate in
Western Dressage as long as it can walk, jog and in some tests lope. The WDAA encourages all breeds to
become involved in this discipline which helps the horse to become more balanced and athletic and the rider to
become more skilled and light.
I need special tack to compete ?
You should use your Western saddle and your
Western headstall and reins. The Rules permit riders to perform the tests in a standard Western snaffle (two-handed
with reins not bridged) or curb bit (either one- or two-handed but must not change hold during the test)
both of which are defined in the Rules, but a snaffle is recommended for horses 5 years and under.
I need Dressage attire to compete ?
The principles of Classical Dressage apply
to any rider and horse, and are not dependent upon the tack or equipment being used. In keeping with Western
tradition they will be shown in Western attire, ie. decent jeans, shirt (preferably Western-style), suitable
footwear and either a Stetson or riding hat/helmet (mandatory for youth riders).
can I learn Western Dressage ?
You can take lessons from any Dressage
instructor who is familiar with the Western Dressage Rules and is willing to work with Western schooled horses.
can teach Western Dressage ?
Any Dressage instructor can teach Western
Dressage as long as they are receptive to the idea of using Western horses at Western paces in Western tack.
are the Western Dressage Rules ?
The full Western Dressage Rules are
are the Western Dressage tests ?
Western Dressage tests are very similar to
traditional Dressage tests except that the names of the gaits are different - you can find the tests here.
can judge Western Dressage ?
Any judge can judge Western Dressage by
conforming to the WDAA Judging Guidelines.
I have to join any organization ?
You don’t need to be a member of a Breed
organization or any other group to compete in Western Dressage. All
are welcome and everyone will benefit, and you may be assured of an atmosphere that is inviting and
if I cannot compete locally ?
We are currently piloting video submissions so you
can send your test on CD or by email subject to certain criteria here.
are completion bonus points awarded only at a show ?
This is to encourage entries and make shows viable
as competing is more difficult owing to several factors: Your horse is with others at an unfamiliar place rather
than alone on home ground; If you make a mistake you can re-do the test and send a 'clean' attempt; If your horse
has an off-day you can do the test again another day; You are not hampered by the weather.
not answered ?
Visit the ADVICE
page for details on how to improve your dressage score, or Email us at Info@WesternDressage.org.uk
or phone 01564 792782 to ask or just for a general chat about Western Dressage.