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 western style of riding and/or using the western or stock type saddles.


Western Dressage integrates the principles of classical dressage with the best of the western horse. It is a systematic and progressive system of training for the western horse and rider, in traditional stock or western tack with 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.


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