Western Dressage: Test Levels

The greatest advantage of the Western Dressage discipline is that you know what you have to do with each levels and test. It is not like going to a hunter show and having to learn the day of the show the course for Equitation or Hunter over fences, or a western show and having to learn the new trail or horsemanship patterns.

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What is Foundation?

I’ve done a couple of articles on this topic but I always think this subject is worth revisiting. So what is foundation? It is the basic training that makes up the building blocks of performance. It is the point where you start with a horse and revisit to reinforce behaviors or correct them when the horse goes off track. Or, in other words, it is the skill set that makes up the foundation of all training.

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Western Dressage: Are You Ready to Show?

So, you and your horse have been training in anticipation of entering your first Western Dressage show. But how do you know when you’re actually ready to compete?

This is a question of confidence. Your instructor or coach should be realistic and give you advice on whether or not you are ready to compete. If you don’t have an instructor, a video camera is your best tool to see yourself ride. Watch for willingness and smoothness from your horse when you are riding. This will give you a better perspective to whether or not you are ready to compete.

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Crossing an Obstacle

Many of us ride trails that cross creeks that may be dry in summer and fill with winter rains. Also, you never know when you will encounter a dead fall that blocks a trail. If your horse balks at a creek or any other obstacle, you need to get him comfortable with crossing.

To teach a horse to go over obstacles the horse must already understand certain things and we must have control of the horse. You must be able to control your horse’s nose, shoulders and hind quarters. The horse must know how to lunge on a 12 or 14-foot line and give to pressure. You need to have established a strong go-forward cue with your horse and be able to stop his feet and change direction.

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Dealing with the Death of a Horse

It’s never easy to witness. There’s something about their power… their free spirit… the image of running like the wind, that makes it especially hard to watch a horse go down. Seeing a happy and carefree horse suddenly fall ill and struggle to survive or watching an old beloved friend suffer and grow weak… these are some of the hardest issues horse owners face. The death of a horse is not something we like to think about, but death is a part of life and when it comes to horses, it’s best to be prepared.

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Dealing with the Death of a Horse

It’s never easy to witness. There’s something about their power… their free spirit… the image of running like the wind, that makes it especially hard to watch a horse go down. Seeing a happy and carefree horse suddenly fall ill and struggle to survive or watching an old beloved friend suffer and grow weak… these are some of the hardest issues horse owners face. The death of a horse is not something we like to think about, but death is a part of life and when it comes to horses, it’s best to be prepared.

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Daily Wellness Check for your Horse

Keep your Western Dressage horse in top health by paying close daily attention. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That old saying especially applies to your horse’s health and safety. You can head off many potential problems—or catch them early—by doing a daily wellness check. When you do a daily check, you can often catch the “little things” before they turn into serious, expensive issues.

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The Need for Chiropractic and Dental Care

I have had a lot of horses come into the barn and have received many telephone calls related to horses that buck. There are many reasons that a horse will buck. It may not be a broke horse, or the freshness may not have been taken off of it before it was ridden. There may also be medical or saddle issues. Medical and saddle issues can be one and the same.

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