Developing Young Western Dressage Horses

Introducing the WDAOK Western Dressage Futurity, Sponsored by Feed in a Drum and Permissive Will Ranch
By Holly Clanahan

Ideas were flying at the WDAA World Championship Show last November. Inspired by the great competition and the camaraderie of like-minded horse people, board members of the Western Dressage Association of Oklahoma were building up a head of steam. 2014 was going to be our year.

In that setting, we were approached by two WDAOK members who had an idea that was going to really set us on fire. Mindy Roland and Pat Barcheers had hatched the idea of a western dressage futurity, a competitive event designed to promote the slow, classical training of young horses.

Pat is a distributor for Feed in a Drum, which became a sponsor, and later Permissive Will Ranch added some additional funding – so the jackpot stands at $1,000 added money, with payouts also including the $100 per horse entry fee.

The inaugural WDAOK Western Dressage Futurity will be held November 8, 2014, during the Oklahoma Dressage Society-Green Country Chapter Schooling Show Championships in Claremore, OK.

Because western dressage places an emphasis on the welfare of the horse, we wanted to ensure that the futurity rules protected young horses and promoted their correct development.

Some of those rules include:

  1. The futurity is open to 3- and 4-year-old horses (or mules) who have never competed under saddle in any event prior to the futurity.
  2. The futurity will use the WDAA Intro 1 test, ridden at a posting trot to protect young backs. Only snaffle bits or bosal hackamores may be used.

WDAOK feels this is a great, low-pressure opportunity to introduce a young horse to the show ring. Riders are able to enjoy the security of western tack and the chance to earn substantial prize money. It’s win-win all the way around!

We invite western dressage riders from other states to join us at the futurity. Full rules and entry forms are available at in our calendar listings. For more information, email or call WDAOK President Paula Walker at 918-638-2825.

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