Do I just go Western?

In quiet moments thinking about my and my horse I’m starting to wonder whether I should just go Western.

  1. Fella neck reins. So he can go both ways.
  2. I love dressage, but I love versatility too, and I do not have an English saddle that fits Fella (whole 'nother story).
  3. I have a treeless endurance type saddle that I adore and I can do everything but dressage (competition) in it. My saddle maker is making an English type, but that’s another$1000 investment. And it’s only necessary for Dressage right?
  4. Fella’s pace of choice is more relaxed -he prefers a jog to a trot and I’m very comfortable with his jog. I can sit his jog no problem
  5. There’s Western Dressage -which seems very much like having my cake and eating it too. And I’ve seen some really nice tests -so it’s not where sucked back, 4-beat canters, inverted horses, etc will be encouraged.

So do I just go Western? Janna Dyer’s fix-a-test clinics will also fix WD tests so…


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I’m quite fed up with hearing about it.

Shrug. With respect to riding, in my old age I’ve stopped thinking about much beyond doing whatever makes me happy. I don’t need the external validation of showing to make me happy, so I don’t feel constrained by any rules beyond those of good horsemanship.

That said, I do still take weekly riding lessons both because I enjoy it as a social activity and because becoming a better rider makes me happy.

Edited to clarify that I’m not suggesting that there is anything wrong with showing. I’ve got a mule right now that I think is well suited for the show ring and, if I don’t do it myself, will probably look at getting someone else to do it for me. I was just saying that I do not feel so compelled to show that I’m willing to do something I don’t enjoy in order to do it.

Um, then why bother opening the thread? Why even bother with the Western forum at all? And why, for the love of God, leave such a snide reply to someone’s thread about it instead of just using the back button on your browser to exit once you realize it is something you don’t want to hear about?

Surely you realize this is a discussion board for all to use and not every topic needs to be tailored to entertain you.

Paula if you think Western dressage would suit you and your horse I say go for it. Sounds like you’ve already made up your mind it would be worth a try.

Paula, having just gone through some profound changes in my life with horses where I was fully supported by my fellow equestrians, please know you have my full support to become a western rider. If that is what you want to do with Fella, welcome to the club.

Equibrit, your attitude stinks.

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Thanks, guys. I guess more and more I wonder why I’m equivocating. I feel like I’m disappointing somebody by deciding to go Western. Who the heck that somebody is I have no idea :lol: Maybe it’s my karma -maybe deep down inside I was an elitist dressage snob and it’s come to bite me in the backside :lol:


You’re not disappointing anybody, Paula. Do what makes YOU happy. Asking all and sundry “what should I DOOO?” over and over will only make you feel like a weathervane.

You get my full support if it means anything.

I transitioned the other way. My mare had the nice WP jog down but ask for the lope? Nah…let’s canter/hand gallop instead. For 3 years I tried and other than some 4-H trail classes, we didn’t have any success. Switched to English…happier horse, happier rider, better performance. I still can do they gymkhana classes with her, but running her XC for eventing is also a blast too.

I feel ya, Threefigs. It’s just my process I guess. I analyze the living crap out of everything before I make a move. You should see how many iterations of house plans I drew before I built my house!


What discipline your riding shouldn’t matter as long as you and your horse having fun. A great rider can ride just as well western as he/she can English. More riders should be open to being versatile.

I understand your undecidedness. I feel that way about showing in general. Won’t go into all the different ways my angst blows me.

It’s something you have to work out on your own and ON your horse…not here. Give it a year, see where it takes you and your horse and your heart.

The best advice is “Do what makes you happy”. It’s all the same to your horse…walk…trot…canter…this way…that way…

As far as disappointing anyone…hate to tell you but probably nobody cares what you do. Or what I do. Or if I quit completely. Of if you do. We have our own sh*t.

Do you have any local resources for either Western Dressage or Versatility? If you have a “regular” Dressage background, I think the crossover will come pretty easy to you.

Try it! What’s the worse that can happen – you’ll actually enjoy it? :smiley:

(ETA: FWIW, I hit a dead end a couple months ago with my riding; I felt like I wasn’t getting anything out of it anymore. I found myself a very nice English trainer – I started Western – and learning new stuff has me feeling rejuvenated and has even improved my Western riding.)

Regarding the video…it isn’t a true example of how a western horse moves. It’s a soft moving, upright “English” horse that has slower gaits.

That’s the problem I have with WD…how to incorporate all the different types of ‘western’.

Yes, I have local resources. It’s probably my barn’s fault because it’s a Western and Eventer barn and they’ve completely corrupted me to their ways of thinking. I joined the Carrol County Western Circuit and did some adult W/T barrels, poles, and plug. A local barn is hosting dressage Fix-a-tests including eventer and Western dressage.

ETA: ezduzit, I guess the judges felt it was Western dressage enough that he scored very well. So I don’t know what to say about it not being a true example of how a Western horse moves. Maybe if you were comparing it to WP?


[QUOTE=ezduzit;7030454]Regarding the video…it isn’t a true example of how a western horse moves. It’s a soft moving, upright “English” horse that has slower gaits.

That’s the problem I have with WD…how to incorporate all the different types of ‘western’.[/QUOTE]

Well, it IS a newer discipline so I suppose it could be said that the true western movement is a work in progress?

What I don’t want to see is peanut-rolling 4-beat tropers. ANYWHERE.


I’m quite fed up with hearing about it.

Where’s the Fruitbat?

Paula, I’m switching to Western (and gasp pleasure) after a lifetime of riding hunters, eventers and dressage.


Because a. My show horse has zero desire to get anywhere fast. B. He knocks over poles like they were pickup sticks. C. when I put my western saddle on him and rode, all of my hip pain and cramping went away. It has to be a twist thing. D. He just plain looks better in western tack.

I too struggle with “am I disappointing someone” mainly because in my area the western riders were looked down upon as the “easier” or “less technical” disciplines. But that isn’t so (as I’m finding out!) instead, it’s a whole new adventure of stuff to read and people I’ve never spoken with.

I still cringe at the idea of wearing glitter of any sort, I just bought my first pair of rowel spurs because my horse communicates much better with them (that was the way he was trained) and I’m trying to get over my strong dislike of country music.

I feel ya.

I recently attended a clinic on Working Equitation. It was so much fun. You and your horse just need good skills. You can use whatever type of tack you want except that in competition you need to have an outfit…as I understand it…consistent with the type of tack you decide to show in (i.e., breeches/dressage saddle)…(western wear with western saddle). I’m currently enamored with my new Western saddle (Circle Y, Iron Flower), and I’m working my green horses in it instead of my dressage saddles…lol. It works wonderfully. So, I’m thinking I’m going to build obstacles and train with them just because I can, and if I want to go Western dressage or regular Dressage, I’ll just change tack…I will, because I can, and if I want to go try out endurance…I will. Life is too short to please anyone else…I just want to have fun…

You don’t need to wear glitter at all. I made this jacket with a soft brown plaid. A cream/off white light weight sweater underneath and a turquoise pin at the throat. Brown chaps. I made the jacket shorter. I have a turquoise concho at the back of the chaps that matches the pin. I think it’s elegant and lady like for a grown up woman.

Paula, do what makes you and your horse happy. It’s not like you are committed to it for the rest of your life if it turns out to not be what you wanted.

Heck, I’m doing western now with my English horse, simply because my young (supposed to be western) horse has matured into a tall, leggy, stretchy Morgan - not so much a western horse. So he’s going to be my English horse and Remy and I are learning western. Ezduzit’s right too - western is HARD! LOL