Within the past several years Dressage for the Western Horse has come to the attention of horse communities all over the US. Interestingly enough it is just now getting the attention it deserves as International Judge, Competitor, Trainer and Clinician Lynn Palm-Pittion-Rossillon has been offering these classes since 1970. Sadly, I am afraid the term "Dressage" frightens some riders and congers up visions of breeches, tall boots and itty bitty saddles on huge horses going around and around in circles. Actually the word Dressage is a French term used to describe the level of systematic training of the horse and rider to accomplish a balanced, flexible, sound and willing partnership.
"Practice, practice, practice and
patience, patience and more patience".
Western Dressage horses are usually built differently and have a different set of work requirements than the typical larger breed of Classical Dressage Horse. Western horse's gaits are similar yet different depending on the conformation of the individual-. Natural head and neck set, angle of the shoulder, length of back and legs can all contribute to the way a horse moves. Hence what is looked for in the Western Dressage horse is modified from the larger stride of the Classical Dressage horse. At this time few trainers have had the opportunity to re-educate themselves to recognize these differences. One suggestion would be to go to the Western Dressage Association of America’s web site and look for the list of instructor/trainers who have completed the TTT (Train the Trainer) training held October 2012.
Finding a good instructor who has a trained eye for form and function relative to the way of going for the Western Dressage horse should be one of the first things you would look for.
Below are a few suggestions for your consideration:
- Have they heard of Western Dressage?
- What do they know about Western Dressage?
- Have they shown dressage, where andwhat level and how long as instructor?
- What are the differences between ClassicalDressage andWestern Dressage?
- Do they have a web-site you can assess to learn about their credentials?
- Ask what their objectives and goals are for their students' improvement.