Western Dressage

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The object of Western Dressage is the harmonious development of the mount in both mind and body. Every mount, regardless of its type or use, can benefit from this training. Western Dressage requires the mount and rider to combine strength and agility with the elegance and beauty of ballet.

Western Dressage in Pony Club

Western Dressage is growing quickly across the United States. With this in mind, it only made sense to incorporate this popular sport into the Pony Club structure! It's close connection to classic Dressage makes it easy for those hosting a Dressage competition (rally) to incorporate Western Dressage into their offered classes and divisions. Members compete as part of a team, following the same format as a typical competition, only these members compete in western tack and attire.


Western Dressage certifications are the newest addition to Pony Club's Local-Level offerings. Beginning at the D-2 level, a member demonstrates basic riding position, the WDAA Basic Level 1 movements, and riding in a group in the open. The Western Dressage track culminates with the C-2 level where members demonstrate more advanced skills and perform the WDAA Level 1, Test 1. Horse Management skills are tested at all certification levels and help show an increase in knowledge as the member advances.


Competitions are held at many levels, beginning with Intro and Basic Level, and continuing through Level Four. A dressage test is a series of movements, performed at various gaits, designed to test the rider’s ability to communicate with their mount. Each movement is performed at a specified point in the arena and is scored individually on a scale from 0 to 10. A score of 0 means no portion of the movement was executed, while a score of 10 shows excellent execution. The individual scores are added and then calculated as a percentage of possible points to come up with a final score. The highest percentage wins the class. Tests are different for each level and are written so there is a way to consistently measure the mount’s progress through the levels. Judges are looking for accuracy, obedience, suppleness of the mount, quality of the gaits, and the rider’s use of the aids. There are also musical freestyle dressage tests for individual riders.