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Western Dressage

Western Dressage
Kim Roe

Systematic Training for the Western Horse

by Kim Roe


July 2017

Photo courtesy WDAA

Are you interested in the precision, flow, and systematic training of dressage, but enjoy your western saddle, tack, and horse? Well, check out western dressage!

As in traditional dressage, western dressage is performed in a 20 by 60-meter arena. Letters are posted in specific places in the arena to indicate where certain movements are performed.

In western dressage, there are five sequential and progressive levels: intro, basic, and levels one, two, and three. Each level builds on the skills and training of the previous level and has four increasingly difficult tests.

Freestyle is also offered from basic level through level three. In freestyle, the rider chooses music and then designs his or her own test using required movements. The sport is governed by The Western Dressage Association of America (WDAA).

The mission of the WDAA is to provide a model of training and horsemanship which optimizes horse and rider partnership for the benefit of both, and to celebrate the American West where all these things came to pass.

The tests in western dressage are based on dressage fundamentals and showcase the useful working western horse. Tests were designed through a collaborative effort of members, respected horse people, and equine organizations, then revised and edited by a special division of The WDAA’s education committee.

The tests remain in effect for at least 4 years from the year printed on the test. What a great way to learn while having fun!

The Western Dressage Association of America is holding their 2017 Western Dressage World Championship Show September 28 to October 1st at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma. The show has been approved by USEF and recognized by WDAA, and the official prize list is now available on The WDAA World Championship Show will feature four days of competition, with one day of rail classes and three days of western dressage tests. The focus of the show will be on top competition and a celebration of the discipline.

IDK Media Group will be providing a live feed of the 2017 WDAA World Championship Show that will be viewed and enjoyed around the world. For more information, visit

Learn more at


Originally Published July 2017 Issue

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Online Exclusive
Kim Roe

Kim Roe was raised on a horse ranch in California. Before deciding to pursue dressage seriously, she trained and competed working cow horses, hunters/jumpers, trail and event horses. Kim trains both horses and riders for USDF dressage shows at her Blue Gate Farm in Acme, Washington and serves as the coach for the Skagit Valley Pony Club. Contact her at or through Facebook.

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