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Photo: Lauretta Wright

What is Western Dressage?

This developing discipline is very exciting to many riders who choose horses of all breeds as a partner and who prefer a western style of riding and/or using the western, swinging fender or half breed type saddles.


Western Dressage integrates the principles of classical dressage with the best of the western horse. It provides systematic and progressive training for the western horse and rider in western tack and attire.  It integrates the lightness of the western horse and classical dressage foundations to improve performance for the purpose of enjoying a safe, pleasurable and versatile horse.


The characteristics of the Western Dressage horse are:

  • Rideability

  • Willingness

  • Safety

  • Pure gaits

  • Lightness

  • Calmness

  • Steadiness


The characteristics of the Western Dressage rider are:

  • Attentive, tactful rider

  • Clear, effective, subtle and light aids

  • Confident seat

  • Light, responsive hands


The Western Dressage partnership should exhibit:

  • Impulsion, originating from engaged hindquarters transmitted without resistance through a supple topline to light, soft contact with the riders hands

  • Willingness to work of the hindquarters, allowing the horse to move freely both forward and laterally to enable the western horse to be a useful working partner.


Private Events

A Western Dressage partnership should culminate in a happy, harmonious, horse and rider relationship.




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