In January, I was asked to announce the first ever USEF recognized Western Dressage show at the large AQHA show in Venice, Florida at Fox Lea Farm. As with many things that are new, several riders were curious and didn’t really know what it was all about and boy did they get an eyeful.
Western Dressage is not, at the this time, being written as an AQHA approved class, Well, I have it on good authority that the committees are working to change that. Apparently, this will be considered at the 2015 AQHA convention to be held in March, 2015. As I said…this is only the first USEF recognized Western Dressage show and it is not only about the AQHA.
Here’s the thing. We saw 47 rides at the show. After it was over I talked to many of the trainers and riders that were watching from the sidelines…and it would seem that if the AQHA approves Western Dressage for points, we may need at least 2 rings next year. The riders and trainers were a bit nervous about having someone read the test from the side of the arena; however, this is perfectly normal and common in Classical Dressage.
Okay so what is Western Dressage?? If you ride western, you are used to seeing people ride patterns. Western Dressage is basically long patterns that use successive training methods from Classical Dressage on typical stock horses. Like Classical Dressage, Western Dressage is about finding balance and carriage through the levels as they progress. Those levels are Intro, Basic, Level 1,2,3 and Freestyle. As you go through the levels, things get more challenging and every level offers a Freestyle set to music. What the rider/horse must do is incorporate all the moves in the level test, in any order they want, set to music. I have to admit…I am looking forward to the first Western Dressage Freestyle class I have the opportunity to announce.
I think Western Dressage is going to start to make its mark in the Western World. I just hope I get to go along for the ride.
Once again, out from behind the mic, Jason