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Western Dressage: More About the Sport

July 21, 2014
Western Dressage: More About the Sport

I find it exciting that dressage has become so widely accepted by all disciplines and breeds. At the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky, I saw many breeds including Morgans, Saddlebreds, Arabians, and gaited horses, showing in a correct balance and collection. They were doing lead changes, extending and slowing in the gaits, and performing lateral movements in either Western or English saddles.

It was amazing and most of the time I had my mouth open with surprise and happiness. Cyril and I performed our clinician demonstration on "Dressage Principles" at the Games and explained how "riding well" will emphasize the willing and correct responses from the horse. I realized we were on the right track and now people truly understood that dressage is naturally training a horse and rider.

We now have horse owners telling us, "I have been taking Dressage lessons to improve my western riding," and "Dressage has improved my horse and my riding so much, I never want to quit this type of riding!" We also have recreational/trail riders coming to us and wanting to learn Dressage to "Ride Well" for their horses. This is actually how we came up with our clinic name.

Whether you ride Western or English, I encourage everyone to visit USDF.org, the extremely informative website of the United States Dressage Association. Released just a few years ago, there is no other on the web like it. It is for all levels of riders and horses and you can get so much education from this site.

We all know that if we want to be good at something, we have to spend time training and educating ourselves about the subject that we have an interest in. The USDF educational web site offers so much.

Even though this is a site for classical dressage, if you ride western you can still relate. It does not matter that you are in the western saddle. You will not find the terms "jog" and "lope," but you will be able to learn about the requirements of the levels and tests to learn a perfect progression for the training of your horse and how you can learn to become a good rider for your horse.

It does not matter what saddle your ride in or what breed of horse that you choose, classical dressage will teach you what is natural for a horse to learn from easiest to most difficult. You will learn how much time it takes to develop your horse to do harder tasks, correct collection and how you can become an effective rider for your horse. It is really something special in which everyone can gain an education and common sense knowledge about the sport of riding.

I suggest you closely review the following areas:
1. Understanding Dressage Training
2. Understanding the mechanics of horse a horse operates naturally
3. Understanding that collection is not a head set
4. Understand how you can become a rider who has balance and communicate with natural aids
5. Understand how you can develop the horse training with the guidance of the famous Dressage Training Pyramid
6. How you can get involved with local, state, and national dressage associations and clubs
7. How you can find instructors, trainers, coaches, and shows

Becoming a member of USDF/USEF also will allow you to show. Being a member you are also eligible for all the wonderful and many awards. There are many awards for all breeds. Also, as a member you will receive a USDF booklet with all the dressage tests and all the awards that are offered for Jr., Amateur, and Open riders and horses. You will also find breeders, trainers, coaches, and competitions that are offered throughout the year.

I am proud to be a member of USDF/USEF, even though I have as much an interest in Western Dressage. I also encourage you to join the Western Dressage of America (WDAA) www.westerndressageassociation.org. WDAA is a non-profit association with a great mission to educate and follow the traditional/classical training of dressage, only within a western saddle and with more breeds then your traditional warmblood as seen in the International (FEI) Dressage.

Another website that you’ll find help is www.usef.org, the site of the United States Equestrian Federation. 

Please join and take advantage of all that you can with your memberships. If you have any questions that I can help you with in this regard, please do not hesitate to contact me at generalinfo@lynnpalm.com.

We would love to have you come ride with us. We love to share our dressage backgrounds and knowledge with you. You can join us at our Ocala, Florida, farm or at one of our Ride Well Clinics on our USA Tour at a location near you.

If you would like to train with Lynn & Cyril at home with Western Dressage, take advantage of the following supportive training materials:

Books:

  • Head To Toe Horsemanship
  • Western Dressage—A Guide to Take You to Your First Show
  • A Rider Guide to Real Collection

DVDs:

  • “Dressage Principles for the Western Horse & Rider” Volume 1 Parts 1-5
  • “Dressage Principles for the Western & English Horse & Rider” Volume 2,Parts 1-3
  • “Let Your Horse Be Your Teacher” Parts 1&2
  • For more information on these training materials and more, as well as clinics, please visit www.lynnpalm.com or call us at 800-503-2824.