How does cowboy dressage differ from Western Dressage? I am not an expert having only done one session but I was interested to see the tests today. There are some differences from dressage as I know it too. Here is what I found out.
The arena is 40×20. However the space between the letters is different. Also there is no X just an 8. There are also letters N,J,Q and Y on the quarter lines.
There is a free jog which is sort of like our stretch circle. They call halts “stops” and say the horse must hesitate. One test has an entry, a stop and a rein back then the salute. Turns on haunches can pivot. They have turns on the forehand. The caller has a microphone and you can have your friends park their horses around the ring for comfort. The reader can also say V as in Victor or E as in Edward.
Errors are not elimination rather 2 points off on each movement.
They don’t wear helmets. I wish they would.
It was different for me but I could see the benefit. First , unlike a group class, you had the judges full attention. Second you got a score sheet with comments. I used to be so frustrated in a group class of Western Pleasure horses because you never knew what you did right or wrong.
I think these tests are challenging and will improve horsemanship skills.
So, IMO anything that helps training improve and riders learn more skills and improve their positions then I am good with that. Yes the terms they use don’t match our definitions but they are talking about balance, and good reactions to the aids.
I am going the the lecture on judging tomorrow!