Western Dressage – Classical Training, Western Style


Each of these words and feelings are used to describe the perfect moment in a ride and each is an attribute Western Dressage can bring to fruition. Western Dressage encompasses fundamental training (Dressage) and riding techniques (Equitation) and the desire to strengthen the trust and understanding between horse and rider.

The Western component comes from the traditions and heritage of the American Western Horsemanship principles advocated in history by the Vaquero, U.S. Cavalry and American Cowboy. In fact, what we often refer to as the Cowboy-Way lifestyle is synonymous with Western Dressage principles in the treatment and training of the horse. Whether working cattle or riding a horse to battle, the same classical principles have not changed since Xenophon wrote the first treatise on equitation centuries ago. Training of the horse and rider to perform to their best ability as one; to maneuver and act together for whatever task is asked of them; to perform that task with a minimum of effort and economy of energy and stress. If we take the time to reflect on all equestrian disciplines regardless of type of saddlery, harness or costume involved, these basic time honored principles are the only true path to lightness and harmony for horse and human.

Recently the acknowledgement, recognition and efforts of great horseman, like Eitan Beth-Halachmy and Jack Brainard, have brought Western Dressage from a silent blend of training techniques into the forefront as its own discipline. The Western Dressage Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization focused on education for the equestrian community about the discipline via seminars, clinics, articles, schooling events and horse shows.

The WDAA, State Affiliate and Breed Alliance Partners are writing rules, while setting and enforcing standards and forming additional National and International partnerships to benefit the membership and their horses. Most recently, the United States Equestrian Federation has granted the WDAA provisional recognition as a separate discipline under their governing umbrella.

The Alliance is proud to announce their affiliation with the WDAA as the first Andalusian/Lusitano Breed Partner and look forward to a promising future for the Iberian Horse in Western Dressage. Alliance Founding Board Member, Gareth A Selwood is on the Advisory Board and Test Writing Committee as is Dressage Committee Chair and USDF Gold Medalist Frances Carbonnel. Both Alliance members are extremely proud to be involved in such a positive and exciting discipline. In addition to Selwood and Carbonnel, who actively compete in Western Dressage, you can find many other members competing at local and national shows across the country. Youth Committee Chair and 2010 Equestrian of Honor, Lauren LaVine of Los Angeles and youth students have been very successful in Southern California shows and Paul Bricco of Wisconsin recently won a national title in Western Dressage.

Western Dressage will be offered for the first time at an Andalusian/Lusitano Grand National Championship in October 2012 in Midland, Texas at our Alliance Grand National Championship Show.


Published in Alliance Source Magazine  •  January 2012  •  page 90 – Download Article



Comments are closed.