Western Dressage Growing in Nebraska

Emily-Johnson-and-Mountain-Rose-Frisco

Emily Johnson and Mountain Rose Frisco

The Nebraska Dressage Association (NDA) added western dressage classes to its schooling shows three years ago, with limited success. Initially, riders had to do English tests in their western tack. This year, the NDA fully adopted the WDAA rules, tests, and guidelines for their Schooling Show series, as well as an integrated awards program for western dressage exhibitors. Local barns have been conducting clinics focused on youth and adult amateurs, and several western trainers are educating themselves and their clients about western dressage.

The first NDA schooling show of the year – the Shaggy Show – was held last weekend in Lincoln. The two-day show attracted 12 Western Dressage riders, exhibiting 15 horses in more than 30 tests ranging from Intro to Level 1 events. The riders included youth, adult amateur, and open (men and women) exhibitors showing a range of horse breeds (AQHA, Appaloosa, POA, Paint crosses, Morgan, Mustang, Thoroughbred, and a Tennessee Walker). Western Dressage events earned the top scores for the show at the Intro and Basic (Training) levels, and were in the upper ranks at 1st level. The judges were fair and highly complimentary toward the western riders. Susan Clarke, from Wichita, Kansas, spent 16 hours studying the new tests before coming to judge them, describing them as interesting and challenging. This year’s show grew exponentially from last year, when only 3 western riders exhibited. Western exhibitors are requesting more opportunities to ride dressage, and the NDA is delivering just that. The next show that includes western tests is the Classic Schooling Show on June 7 and, on Sunday, July 14, S and L Stables will dedicate an entire day to western dressage at their approved show near Bennet, Nebraska.

Lyle Purdum and Lenas Four Shogun

Lyle Purdum and Lenas Four Shogun

Shaggy Show secretary, Danna Seevers, noted some challenges to adding the western classes, which included updating the computer scoring system to add 16 new tests. Now completed, that should not be a burden in the future. Western riders bring a new era of competition to the dressage arena. Spectators were interested in watching how western dressage tests are ridden; old-timers were surprised to see movements such as halts in an Intro test, rein-backs at Basic level, and a 360-degree on the forehand in a Level 1 test. These are very new to dressage at these levels, and the judges appreciated and understood why they were in the tests.

From the start, Nebraska has been supportive of including Western Dressage tests and riders in our NDA Schooling Show series. It’s a win-win for everyone involved – local dressage associations have an opportunity for growth in difficult economic times; western horses and riders get a chance to demonstrate their skills without having to change tack and ride tests written for English dressage; and both disciplines can learn from each other.

At a time when many organizations are struggling to survive, horse communities can come together with the common goal of creating a better horse-human relationship through dressage. Dressage is strong and growing in our great state of Nebraska.

For more information, contact Sheila Purdum at purdumstables@gmail.com and checkout the Nebraska Dressage Association Website at: www.nebraskadressage.org

Jaden Groff & Westwind Tender Flame

Jaden Groff & Westwind Tender Flame

Rhonda Lewis and Huey

Rhonda Lewis and Huey

Ashley Clegg and The Bar Exam

Ashley Clegg and The Bar Exam

2 Responses to “Western Dressage Growing in Nebraska

  • Lyle Purdum
    4 years ago

    Great article.

  • DMD-Admin
    4 years ago

    This is one of the first stories submitted from our recent WDAA News Story asking members to share their Western Dressage Journey. What a wonderful story this is… please continue the great work you are doing up in Nebraska and helping the WDAA continue its education all around the world!