Welcome to Western Dressage!

The latest buzzword is Western Dressage. For some of you, you may be scratchin' your heads thinking - well we've already been doing this for a long long time- after all, the word Dressage means "training".

You might be thinkin', the really effective Western horse trainers and riders teach the principles of rhythm, suppleness, straightness, impulsion and collection to their horses. Whether they are riding for the show ring in Reining or Western Pleasure, Trail or Western Riding; these are core principles.

So while for some of you Dressage training for the benefit of Western riding and training is not new; there are a lot of Western riders who think those ideas belong only to the English riding world of Dressage competition. And also, up until now, it was a method of training... not an organized Western discipline.

With the purpose to promote, educate and teach Dressage principles to Western riders, the U.S. based Western Dressage Association of America; http://westerndressageassociation.org/ has already developed, competitions, seminars and an active and enthusiastic membership as well as many affiliates including the Canadian affiliate, the Western Style Dressage Association of Canada.

For many Western riders the thought of competing in the traditional rail classes doesn't do it for them, but the challenge of working with your horse to a specific goal and exhibiting your horse through a pattern that tests your mental and physical partnership with the horse... this is a thrill for many!

The Dressage competitions are open to all breeds of Western horses and there are rules and guidelines for judging as well as specific Dressage patterns that are based on the classical tests used by English Dressage riders.

And whether you ever step into the competition ring to ride that test doesn't matter! By advancing your Western horses training, you are enhancing your enjoyment and safety, as-well-as your partnership with your horse... and that's a really good thing! Everybody loves a better ride!

Although Dressage is relatively new to Western Riding, the irony is that I have always taught these principles since my early riding years were English and Dressage. As a result the Western Riding lesson program here at Harmony Ranch has always worked with the classic principles of self-carriage, light hands and correctness. In the past we have worked on our own modified Dressage patterns as well.

So for all our Western Riders here at Harmony, formalizing the discipline of Western Dressage, together with the patterns and competitions, are a natural addition to our lesson program.



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