WDAA Introduces Musical Freestyles

WDAA Freestyle Western Dressage TestsThe Western Dressage Association® of America will add Musical Freestyles to its Western Dressage Test offerings beginning at the WDAA World Championship Show in Tulsa, Oklahoma November 2-3, 2013.  The WDAA will offer Freestyles in Basic Level, Level 1 and Level 2 with additional offerings to follow as the discipline grows.

Western Dressage Freestyles offer riders another way to explore the discipline while expressing additional creativity.  Horses and riders are required to showcase a particular set of compulsory elements but the pattern, consequently and difficulties of the design of the test are up to the exhibitor.  The harmony between horse and rider is essential and that partnership is a highlight of Freestyles.

Equestrians interested in discovering more about Western Dressage Musical Freestyles, the recommended experience for riding them and the compulsory elements for each test level are encouraged to visit the WDAA Education Center.

One Response to “WDAA Introduces Musical Freestyles

  • Cathy Andronik
    5 years ago

    Thank you for including Music Freestyle tests! I’m a musician as well as a rider, and the concept of “dancing” with a horse comes naturally to me (though on my own two feet I dance about as well as Elaine on “Seinfeld”). In 2013 at the Maine Morgan show, they included a freestyle class, even at the Intro level, and I told my instructor that I wanted to enter. (I did not ask her. I told her.) Even as a beginner in the discipline, I had a wonderful few weeks listening to a ton of possible music (it made listening to the radio interesting again as I said to myself, “Four beats, steady rhythm, not too fast or too slow…”), downloading and running the songs alongside a video of me on the horse (I would be riding one of the barn Morgans rather than my own Paint, who LOVES wd) to match her gait, creating a pattern that used all the required moves yet enhanced the music artistically, revising in the ring when I discovered my pattern was three minutes longer than my song (!), then practicing. On the day of the show, I know I rode my tests nervously, though we did quite well for the first time I’d been in a regulation arena. But when we got to the freestyle, I had a HUGE smile on my face, listening to the music and feeling as well as executing the moves I’d designed. I OWNED that ride. I already have a file of music possibilities for our Freestyle Basic debut.
    One question that came up both before and at the show: Does the music HAVE to be instrumental? The two of us who rode in the ME Morgan WD freestyle tests used songs with lyrics, and we both felt strongly about the pieces we’d chosen, as we’d created our patterns with the words as well as the flow of the music in mind. (Mine was “Little Wonders” from the animated movie “Meet the Robinsons,” which talks about the memorable moments that make up a life full of “twists and turns of fate.” I’m looking at “Into the Wild”–“somebody left the gate open,” so appropriate for my gate-obsessed Paint–for Basic next year.) My scoresheet noted that I should consider instrumental music in the future, though I wasn’t penalized. As the rules for freestyle are developed and posted, please clarify whether the music must be instrumental.
    Cheyenne, my little 16-year-old rescue Paint, thanks WDAA a million times over for existing, and me for discovering it. I introduced a few WD exercises into her cooldown routine about a year ago, since a) she never liked to walk; b) she moved from her forelegs rather than her hindquarters and needed some muscle behind; 3) we were starting work on the lope and she was picking it up from the front instead of the back; 4) round-and-round-the-ring works bores the life out of her. The barn had heard of WD, but I was the only one who wanted to give it a try, even if my horse was not “dressage material.” After a year, Cheyenne is a different horse. She LOVES to go to work. As soon as we go down the center line, she’s all attention. She picks up whatever gait or direction I ask for immediately, and with obvious joy. At her first WD show (Mass. Morgan, no less), she scored consistently around 55–after only a year of doing this sort of work, PLUS this is a horse whose training was probably minimal before she came to us. In the past couple of weeks we’ve started working on bits and pieces of the Basic I test, and she’s loving it as much as Intro. My instructor always said that Cheyenne would never be in an A-level show; she just isn’t that kind of horse, has the wrong conformation, etc. When she saw us doing WD patterns, she changed her mind, entered us in Mass. Morgan without hesitation, and even fought for us when Mass. Morgan indicated its dressage classes would not be open to all breeds any longer. WD truly changed the life of a little rescue horse.