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Copyright 2012 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

New Competition Discipline: 

Western Dressage

 

October 2012 issue  

 

Western Dressage Association of America (WDAA)

 

     Combining the Western traditional riding discipline with classic dressage and good horsemanship is the goal of the Western Dressage Association of America (WDAA), founded in 2010.

     Eitan Beth-Halachmy, performer, trainer and clinician, is a founder of “Cowboy Dressage” and Western dressage. He explains that Western dressage uses the principles of both classical dressage and Western horsemanship:

     “Western dressage is a competitive class at a horse show, evolved from Cowboy Dressage — the art form of the Western riding discipline combined with classical dressage, and performed to music, with a very strong emphasis on good horsemanship.”

     By blending both disciplines and taking the best from both, the rider becomes more educated, patient and understanding, allowing for the partnership between horse and rider to bloom. That partnership should be the goal of all good horseman and horsewomen.

     Co-founder and Texas horseman, breeder, trainer and judge Jack Brainard explains, “The concept of dressage training on a Western horses isn’t a new one, and the potential of this has long been realized. However, until now, no one has come forth with a plan or program to bring these facts into being, and to inform and educate Western riders as to its unlimited potential for betterment of their horses.”

     The goal of Western dressage is to have a strong, balanced horse who responds happily to the rider’s cues, with lightness both in rider and mount. There should be balance, cadence and carriage at the walk, jog and lope; shown in Western tack and attire. The goal is not to use dressage horses under Western tack. The goal is to maintain the integrity and lightness of a Western horse and Western tradition through the use of dressage.

     The purpose of WDAA is to educate, inform, promote and teach dressage principles to Western riders. All breeds and all levels of horses and riders are invited to participate.

     Inaugural events, including the 2011 Grand National and the Morgan Championship Horse Shows, have proved popular with competitors. An All-Breed Western Dressage Grand Champion will be crowned this November during the 2012 Color Breed Congress in Tulsa , Oklahoma .

     WDAA state affiliates are forming, with the most active one being in Colorado , says Ellen Dibella, WDAA President.

     A series of “Train the Trainers” clinics is being offered in Colorado (the first one, in October 2012, is full). For more information, contact Neide Cooley at 303-814-8276, who says that they have gotten a huge response.

            For more information, to watch Western dressage videos, or to find out about forming an affiliate in your state, visit www.westerndressageassociation.org.

 

  

Copyright 2012 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

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