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DbarH Equine Training. Natural Horsemanship.
Medicine Lodge Valley, Dillon, Montana

Dressage and Horsemanship Insights

Yes, for those who do western performance, rodeo, jumping, hunters, dressage, ect.

 

One thing that you have to always remember :

IT DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU RIDE IN A ENGLISH OR WESTERN SADDLE. A HORSE IS NOT CONCERNED ABOUT BEING A FASHION STATEMENT.   

WHAT HE/SHE CARES ABOUT IS THAT YOU THE HANDLER / RIDER NOT PUT TACK ON THEM THAT DOES NOT FIT, OR  HURT, OR GET THEM IN A FRAME THAT MAKES THEM UNBALANCED OR CONSTRICTED PREMATURELY.  THAT YOU THE RIDER NOT BE A FUMBLE JUMBLE ON HIS/HER BACK AND  MOUTH, AND THAT YOU ARE NOT UNFAIR IN THE TEACHING.

I started out calling this the "Dressage Insights" section, but that would mean that riders from other disciplines such as rodeo, western performance, jumper, hunters, ect.  would not want to look at this section.  But that is far from the case.  I do not consider dressage to be a what the mainstream horse world considers "dressage".  

"Dressage" comes from the French word meaning "training".  All disciplines require a horse to be trained or in other words, dressage to be installed upon the horse.

How many western riders consider their training to be of dressage origin?  Is not dressage viewed from all disciplines for the most part as snotty, rich / wanna be rich people who ride in expensive English saddles on expensive warmblood - thoroughbred horses doing boring zzzzzzz. flat stuff.   

For the western appetite the word is changed from "Dressage" to "Horsemanship".  If I said "Horsemanship"  to the dressage rider they would think of someone in a cowboy hat.  Both of the words have the same meaning.  Just one word appeals to one group and the other word appeals to the other group.  

If I take a technique of training of the horse, but  arrange the wording to appeal to each discipline then it would appear that the English training and the Western training are different.  "Lope" in western is the same as "Canter" in English.  If I said "lope" to a English rider they would think what kind of hillbilly am I . And if I said "canter"  or "dressage" to the western rider, especially say a rodeoer they would think I came from hob knob and don't belong..   

  For the Western rider you will be very familiar with one of the methods of horse training, the  French School,  but don't know that the forefathers of American and English horsemanship stems from the French School.  You thought it started in the American West.  And for the English rider you will have heard more on the two different schools of training (French and German), but have seen more on the German school.  But that doesn't mean that both are not being used in all disciplines.

The method I consider personally to be worthy is a method which allows the horse to go from one discipline to another just from the foundation of training.  A horse that is considered a "jack of all trades".  A horse that could do a dressage test one day will the next do reining.  From jumping to barrels. A method that is not bias on breed or discipline.  Some methods have an excuse that their training technique works better on a certain breed and the other methods will work better on other certain breeds. That being stated, that means there is a huge flaw in their training method. 

I do not care for the competition of the horse, but rather what I can learn from the horse as I teach the horse.  Horses are encouraged to have an individual personality and express it in a respectful manor which also goes for me being respectful to the horse.  Show success does not mean a wise horseman.  Only what is vogue to the judge or society. Showing success is based on a human judge liking your riding technique not a horse making the judgments of your riding.

Gadgets such as draw reins, martingales and the such are not  progressive manors in which the horse can learn and discover on their own.  These items are unbalancing and keep the horse constricted for the "look".  My "Gadgets section" can be found in the "Riding and Training Index" on this site. 

With the ever increasing statements by certain popular and higher-up dressage horseman saying there are no differences in schools, I have to comment that if one states there is only one method or school then they are trying to fool those to believe that their method / technique or school is the only one and there is no need to further look for anything else.  If this was true then there would be no uproar and head butting about the French School and the German School differences.   This is very close minded and lacks the freedom to explore.  Every horseman should study each method of training.  Doing so will educate the horseman to weigh what method is the best for the horse. It gives the horseman perhaps a "light bulb" for something that was missing before, in the teaching.

 

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Donna Hildreth 1998 - 2009
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