The Growing Sport of Western Dressage
Chances are you've heard that no matter what discipline you ride, schooling your horse in basic dressage can improve his performance in your chosen discipline. The emerging sport of western dressage builds on that idea, only western dressage takes it one step further by allowing western horses and riders to compete using western tack.
What we think of as today's Western riding has been in practice since the 1700s, originating on ranches and in the practices of the Spanish vaqueros. As horsemanship has evolved, so has our understanding of the mechanics of how horses move, and we've learned that training horses to be soft, light, and move correctly can both help prevent injuries and lengthen a horse's career.
The goal of western dressage is to create an American western horse who is supple, responsive, and balanced in his movements, as is demanded by dressage. Horses schooled in western dressage are expected to travel with lighter bit and rein contact than is used in traditional dressage; western dressage horses remain true to the western disciplines, but the dressage training increases the communication between horse and rider, and helps the horse better perform in the western disciplines.
Frances offers both individual training and group lessons for those wishing to learn the basics of western dressage.
Train the Trainers
Frances Carbonnel and Cliff Swanson teamed up to offer TTT clinics in 2014 in Canada, Texas, North Carolina, and Southern California. 2015 TTT clinics booked so far will include Oklahoma and Massachusetts and an Advanced TTT in Colorado.