What is Western Dressage?
The Western Dressage Association® of America (WDAA) was organized to provide western riders and horses with an educational program which incorporates the principles of lightness into a whole new way of thinking about riding western. Western Dressage helps a rider to improve the horse’s balance, cadence and carriage. Whether your horse competes in reining, roping, cutting, western pleasure, or enjoys the trail with you, using dressage will improve your partnership and keep your horse happier and more sound far longer than it would otherwise be.
Is any breed accepted?
Absolutely! Any breed of horse can participate in Western Dressage. In order to participate in the Western Dressage tests, horses should be able to walk, jog and lope, or in the case of gaited horses, walk, gait or jog and lope.The WDAA encourages all breeds to become involved in this discipline which causes the horse to become more balanced and athletic and the rider to become more skilled and light.
What's the difference between Classical Dressage and Western Dressage?
The goals of Western Dressage and Dressage are similar. They both wish to create a better horse and rider with the use of structure and levels. The Western Dressage horse is encouraged to work and school on lighter contact than the typical dressage horses. While both want to see balance, cadence and carriage, the Western Dressage horse will be evaluated with the conformation and movement of today’s western horses in mind. The Western Dressage horse will have a shorter stride than a Dressage horse and the Western Dressage horse will be asked to walk, jog and lope as opposed to walk, trot and canter. In keeping with the tradition of the Western horse and rider they will be shown in Western tack and clothing. These are just a few examples of the differences.It is not the goal of Western Dressage to create western horses that compete in open dressage but to create better western horses and riders through the use and principles of dressage.