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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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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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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“Western Dressage: Finding a Suitable Horse”

I am so excited to do this series on western dressage. I am positive this new
discipline following classical dressage with a western horse is going to give the western
industry its next step in developing better horsemen. Dressage promotes “Riding Well”
and “Being the Rider Your Horse Deserves!”

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Working at Liberty: Changing Directions Alone

Don’t have a helper available to assist you work your horse at liberty? No problem! Here’s a variation of the neat method I gave you to change your horse’s direction when working at liberty in a paddock or arena when you don’t have an assistant. You can still ask the horse to change directions at liberty without “manually” stopping him and turning him around.

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“Working at Liberty: Changing Directions”

In the next two articles I am going to give you two methods to change your horse’s direction when working at liberty in a paddock or arena. Each technique eliminates the need to stop the horse and “manually” turn him around so that he is facing in the opposite direction. Instead he will learn to respond to your commands to turn and change directions on his own as he travels on a “diagonal track”

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At Liberty: Releasing the Horse

The last Lynn Palm article explained how to safely and effectively work our horse at liberty. In Part I, I explained the benefits of liberty work, proper use of the whip, which is an important tool, and handler position.

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