Western Dressage from “Across the Pond”

My journey with Western Dressage took a sharp turn when I decided to take a working pupil position in England. The Western Dressage Association® of America knew of my trip across the pond and “introduced” me via e-mail to a family that has been instrumental in the western dressage movement in the United Kingdom. After introductions, the family quickly invited me to come visit. I followed my gut feeling and trusted it would all go well… I accepted their invitation!

Western Dressage in United KingdomSteve and Wendy Scott met me at the airport. Steve was in a pearl snap shirt and Wendy was in the most festive of red, white, and blue button ups. I only include this information because it goes along directly with the last line of the mission statement. The WDAA “…celebrate[s] the legacy of the American West.” I will include more on that later however. During my stay with the Scott family it became incredibly clear that the WDAA and Western Dressage United Kingdom (WD UK) has some significant similarities in its members. Members in the WDAA and WD UK have a…

#1. Commitment to learning – The Scott’s are truly amazing in that they are interested in everything. This family fits saddles, attends (and discusses) clinics, reads informational books and magazines, and has Horse and Country (their version of RFDTV) running in the background.

#2. Friendly Nature – The Scott family welcomed a complete stranger into their home without qualms simply because we had a common interest – Western Dressage. Western dressage might have sparked the initial friendship, but their welcoming, kind nature will continue it.

#3. Love for the West Heritage – When I walked into the Scott home, the first thing I noticed was the pictures of Wendy on various horses tacked up in full Western regalia. As I wandered further into the house I saw dreamcatchers hanging from the walls, cowboy sculptures, and even a lady’s western saddle that can be traced to the early 1900s. However, the love for the West is not just present in their house. These folks have more country tunes, western movies, and just plain knowledge about the American West floating around in their heads than I probably do!

#4 . Versatile Horse(s)! – I had the pleasure of riding Wendy’s wonderful half paint mare named Rio. This mare can do it all. Not only does Wendy show Rio in the local Western Dressage shows, but the talk around the barn is that Rio is also very fancy as a big English horse in double bridle!

Thanks to a contact the WDAA provided me with I now have a wonderful new set of friends! I cannot wait to reconnect with my new friends at the Western Equestrian Society National Championships. Good news, a Western Dressage demo and classes have been approved for inclusion for the first time at this show!

Submitted by Ashleigh Willems on July 03, 2013

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