Western dressage is all about the training of your horse. It encourages flexibility, balance, and well-defined aids. Every time you compete a judge will award you a score, based on how you complete the required test. If you’d like to improve your scores, then it’s time to think like a judge.
Western Dressage Tips
- Come down the centerline straight. It sounds easy enough, but many horse and rider teams sway from side to side. Practice, practice, practice! If your centerline is straight, then you’re more likely to get a square halt.
- Prepare your horse ahead of time for transitions. You want them to be smooth! Start thinking BEFORE the letter, at which a transition is required.
- Circles need to be 20m and round. In order to achieve this, your horse needs a slight bend and consistent rhythm.
- A free jog or walk doesn’t mean faster, rather you want your horse to stretch down over their topline and lengthen their stride.
- Your horse must be soft in the bridle. If they’re heavily leaning against you hands or hollow, then expect that to negatively impact your score.
Showing is a lot different than riding at home. With practice and consistency, your tests will start to reflect your schooling rides. Thus, your scores will also improve. Keep at it!