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What is Western Dressage?

Western Dressage is defined as using classical dressage concepts and principles to train and develop the western rider and horse. The goal, specifically, is to develop cadence, balance, relaxation and the acceptance of the aids through the tried and true methods of classical dressage. Western Dressage is not intended to build a dressage horse, or put a western saddle on a dressage horse. It is merely the means by which we improve the stock horse and develop a well-rounded, disciplined horse regardless of its breed.

 The important thing to remember about classical dressage is that the classical principles are not arrived at as a matter of ‘taste’ or ‘personal opinion’. They are derived from the laws of balance and horsemanship with a clear objective in mind. It has been said that Dressage is good for all breeds and disciplines. When we combine Western Horsemanship principles and Classical training to ride our horses, we develop a well rounded and balanced partnership. We build a brave, well broke horse.

This is an all-inclusive discipline. Our vision is to help ALL horses develop and to provide progressive, methodical, training and valuable feedback for the Western Dressage Rider. 

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This discipline will create the optimal partnership between horse and rider. So whether you want to ride in competition or schooling shows or just improve your relationship with your horse for ANY discipline, Western Dressage will prove to be the bridge that gaps the chasm between our beloved Western traditions and English propriety.

From the young un-broke horse to the advanced schoolmaster, Western Dressage will pave the way for the building a solid lasting relationship between horse and rider. This steady progression of training is the key to building a safe confident horse. The horse learns and retains his lesson along with physical conditioning to advance his training. The rider learns along with horse in a steady progression that Western Dressage provides.

Western Dressage is the perfect method for working with a young cheeky colt, an arena soured show horse or even an old rogue. We move on when the horse is ready and the horse gains confidence in the gentle, comprehensive methods we have learned from Classical riding. Very specific to Western Dressage are the schooling and testing methods to provide the perfect feedback mechanism for the rider. The result is that we have eliminated the confusion in working with your horse and created the beauty of Western Dressage; A willing partnership and  ‘ La danza de toda la vida’ (the dance of a lifetime).

  • Ground

  • Foundation

  • Shoulders

  • Haunches

  • Lateral

  • Canter

  • Leads

What does the Online University offer? 

"Ground Work"

It has been said that respect comes from effectively controlling the feet of the horse. You will learn how to teach your horse 8 essential cues that will prepare you and your horse for the first ride. This course also includes:
Check mark3 ground courses

Check mark21 lessons

Check markBridle-work

Check markLungeing

 Join us in class!
Check markAdvanced leading

Check markQuizzes

Check markTroubleshooting

Check markDozens of animations


Foundation Training "The First Ride"

Now that you have built a more confident horse on the ground, let's transition all the lessons from the ground to riding under saddle. This course is for all horses whether you have a young inexperienced horse, or you have an older horses that needs more refinement. These exercises are the building blocks to training upper level bridle horses. 
shouldersusing outside leg3  copy

Check markTeach My Horse to Go Forward?

Check markWhy is it the Horse's Responsibility to Maintain the Energy of a Gait?

Check markHow Do I Make My Horse Take Responsibility For Maintaining His Own Energy?

Check markHow Do I Decide How Strong My Correction Should Be?

Check markWhat Are the Aids to "Go"?

Check markHow Do I Teach My Horse To React To Light Driving Aids?

Check markHow Do I Teach My Horse To React To My Driving Seat?

Check markHow Do I Teach My Horse To React To My Voice?

Check markWhat Are the Aids to "Whoa" or Slow Down?

Check markWhat Do I Do If My Horse Ignores My Light Aid to Slow Down?

Check markLearn How to Transition 8 Essential Cues From the Ground to Saddle

Check markLearn How to be Effective with One-rein

Check markLearn When to be Soft, but Firm
Are you ready to come to class?

Western Dressage "Shoulder Control"

This course focuses on the power steering of your horse. This course is the the prerequisite to controlling haunches and lateral movements. 
A few of the concepts and lessons in the shoulder course include:

Check markWhat are Some Exercises to Supple My Horse's Shoulders?

Check mark11 essential exercises for basic shoulder control

Check mark22 question pre-quiz

Check markTroubleshooting 

Check markHow to ride Quality circles

Check markHow to stay connected to your aids  

Check markHow to ride Counter Bends

Check markHow to ride Serpentines

Join us in class!
Check markWhy Do Riders Forget to Use the Outside Rein?

Check markWhat Does the Outside Rein Do?

Check markExercises That Will Help Me Learn to Use My Outside Rein

Check markWhen Would I Adjust My Horse's Tempo? 

Check markWhat Is Suppleness / Straightness?

Check markWhat Parts of My Horse's Body Need to be Supple and Loose?

Check markHow Do I Know if My Horse Is Locked In His Poll?
Check markHow Do I Use My Aids to Supple My Horse's Neck?

Check markWhat is the Sequence of Aids for Suppling My Horse's Neck?

Check markHow Do I Know if My Horse is Stiff in His Shoulders? 

Western Dressage "Haunches"

Learning how to control the haunches is the prerequisite to all lateral movement like leg-yield, half-pass, lead changes, and shoulder-in.


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What is Haunches-in?

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Pre-quizzes to Help Retain Key Concepts

Check markLearn How to Balance your aids Between Shoulder Control and Haunches

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Is Haunches-In More Difficult Than Shoulder-In?

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What is the Bend and Angle of Haunches-In?

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What's the Difference Between Haunches-In and a Crooked Horse?

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What Are the Aids for Haunches-In?

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What Do I Do If My Horse Loses His Rhythm or Tempo?

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What Do I Do If My Horse Loses His Bend?

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What Else Can I Use Haunches-In For?

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What is Haunches-Out?


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Lean How to Drive the Hind Leg Deeper Under the Horse 

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What Does Impulsion Mean? 

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Is Impulsion the Same as Going Forward? 

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When Should I Add Impulsion? 

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How Do I Go About Adding Impulsion? 

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What is a Straight Horse? 

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Is There More Than One "Kind" of Straightness? 

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What is Axis Straightness?

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Learn How to Ride a Haunches-in

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Learn How to Ride a Haunches-out

Don't be late for class

Western Dressage "Lateral Movement"

This course is the gem of W.D.U. A lot of work has gone into this module. Everything you have learned will apply here. If you have missed any part of your training it will show up in this lesson.
Check markWhat is Lateral Work?
Check markWhat are the Advantages of Leg Yielding?  

Check markIf My Horse Doesn't Move Willingly? 

Check markWhat Do I Do If I Lose Impulsion? 

Check markWhat Do I Do If My Horse Rushes?  

Check markHow Many Tracks Are There?   

Check markWhat is a Shoulder-In? 

Check markHow Can I Tell If I am Doing a Shoulder-in? 
Check markWhat Are the Aids for Shoulder-in?  

Check markIf My Horse's Tempo Changes? 

Check markIf My Horse Loses the Bend? 

Check markGet More Control over the Angle? 

Check markUsing the Outside Rein? 

Check markLearn how to create more impulsion without affecting gait 
Check markWhat is a Half Pass?
Check markDifference Between Leg Yielding and Half-Pass?

Check markWhere Can I Do Half Passes?

Check markWhat Are the Aids for a Half Pass?   

Check markEither Too Fast or Too Slow? 

Check markHow Do I Have Good Engagement? 

Check markWhat Else Can I Learn From Half Pass?

Check markLean how your seat bone affects lateral movement

Check mark12 extensive lessons

Check markLearn how to create the the correct bend

Check markLearn how to create a straight horse

Check markCreate a softer suppler horse

Check markLearn how to create self carriage
What is the purpose of lateral movement?

Western Dressage "Canter Work"

This course will be offered later in the spring of 2012. Canter work will offer lesson like:

Check markWhat Are the Aids for Counter Canter? 

Check markHow Do I Introduce Counter Canter?

Check markWhat Are Some Helpful Hints for Counter Canter?

Check markWhat are the Most Common Problems in Counter Canter?

Check markWhose Responsibility is it to Maintain the Energy of a Gait?

Check markHow Do I Make My Horse Take Responsibility For

Check markMaintaining His Own Energy?

Check markHow Do I Decide How Strong My Correction Should Be?

Check markWhat Are the Aids to "Go"? 
Check markWalk, Trot, Straight Departures 

Check markIntroduction to Standing Lead Departures

Check markSuppling (revers flexion)

Check markLengthening and Shortening the Strides

Check markShoulder Control

Check markHind end Control (Haunches-in) 

Check markLateral Movement (shoulders-in, leg-yield, half-pass)

Check markPirouette 

Check markCollection

Check mark~ Relaxation

Western Dressage "Canter Leads"

This course will be offered later in the spring of 2012. We are still fine tuning the lessons. These lessons will mainly focus on leads and flying lead changes 

Check markFlying changes

Check markHow Do I Prepare My Horse to Do Flying Changes?

Check markWhat Are the Aids for a Flying Change?

Check markWhen Do I Give the Aids for a Flying Change?
Check markMore work on Standing, Walk, and Trotting Lead Departures

Check markCounter Canter

Check markCounter Canter Suppling

Check markCounter Canter Lead Changes

Check markSimple Changes

Check markTroubleshooting 
Check markWhere is the Best Place in the Arena to Introduce Flying Changes? 

Check markWhat Do I Do If My Horse Rushes Off or Starts Bucking After the Change? 
Check markWhat Should I Do If My Horse Doesn't Change Both His Front and Hind Legs? 

Check markWhat If My Horse Doesn't Change at All? 

Check markWhat Should I Do If My Horse is Tense? 

Check markWhat Are Some Exercises I Can Do To Get Clean Flying Changes? 

Check markWhat If My Horse Changes Late in Front? 

Check markWhat Should I Do If My Horse Does a Clean Change But He Changes a Stride or Two After I Give the Aid?

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Straight-line Tempi Changes


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