We Ride Sport and Trail Magazine October 2018 - Page 21

W

Dressage

The Western Way

Part II by Jeff Wilson

Photos by Rein Photography

hat does this trail look like? Let me give you some background here. As the highest expression of horse training, classical dressage is a progressive system designed to produce a horse’s maximum riding horse potential. Cowboy and Western Dressage have similar progressive goals—achieving lightness, balance, and looseness as overall partnership goals. One important difference is that the western horse is being enhanced to better perform its current job, not being reshaped into a dressage horse. To give tribute to the American traditions of the horse, the western working horse, the primary trait to focus on is usability. After all, American horsemanship, over the centuries, was built upon necessity. There were jobs that needed to be done—cattle to move, people to defend, and westward travel. Hi Ho Silver.

produce a horse’s maximum riding horse potential. Cowboy and Western Dressage have similar progressive goals—achieving lightness, balance, and looseness as overall partnership goals. One important difference is that the western horse is being enhanced to better perform its current job, not being reshaped into a dressage horse. To give tribute to the American traditions of the horse, the western working horse, the primary trait to focus on is usability. After all, American horsemanship, over the centuries, was built upon necessity. There were jobs that needed to be done—cattle to move, people to defend, and westward travel. Hi Ho Silver.

into the tests for Cowboy Dressage is the concept of soft feel—a western tradition based on the release of the rein rather than the emphasis on contact. Furthermore, terms and ideas found in classical world have been ‘retermed' to match the western feel of Cowboy Dressage and to help the western world embrace dressage. To contact the governing bodies of each: WesternDressageAssociation.org and CowboyDressageWorld.com.

What You Need To Get Started

Although both of these disciplines are new, there are more and more places offering training and schooling shows. Look around and see if you can find one that fits you. Get started in discovering new ways to school your horse. Again, these disciplines are not there to replace what you are already doing with your horse (barrels, roping, trail), but to build a foundation into your daily riding habits to help your horse make its job easier.

CONTINUED >>

centuries, was built upon

necessity. There were jobs

that needed to be done—

attle to move, people to

defend, and westward travel.

Hi Ho Silver.

Both disciplines have a

competitive feature with

individual, progressive tests.

For that, Western Dressage

uses the standard dressage

court, while Cowboy

Dressage uses a 20m x 40m

arena by adjusting the

distances between the

letters to 5m. The purpose of

this is to accommodate the

smaller strided gaits of

typical western breeds.

The Cowboy Dressage slogan,

“When dressage suits your

needs but a Stetson suits

your lifestyle” sums it up. One

big important aspect designed

into the tests for

Cowboy Dressage is the

concept of soft feel—a

western tradition based on

the release of the rein rather

than the emphasis on

contact. Furthermore, terms

and ideas found in classical

world have been ‘retermed'

to match the western feel of

owboy Dressage and to help

the western world embrace

dressage. To contact the

governing bodies of each:

WesternDressageAssociatio

.org and

CowboyDressageWorld.com.