Chances are you've heard that no matter what discipline you ride, schooling your horse in basic dressage can improve his performance. The emerging sport of western dressage builds on that idea, only western dressage takes it one step further by allowing western horses and their riders to compete using western tack. What we think of as todays western riding has been in practice since the 1700's, 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 horses 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 seen in traditional dressage; western horses remain true to the western disciplines, but the dressage training increases communication between horse and rider, and helps the horse better perform in the western disciplines.
Manuvers are taught to horses/riders over time, in a progressive format, and should only be done to the ability of both the rider and the horse.
Enjoy the Journey and Honor the Horse by Educating the Rider