Since time immemorial, the horse has been one of the best friends of human beings. Well in the war, either in the field or in the roads or at the races, horses have been used to defog work, to transport people and goods and, in short, to get his indomitable strength and graceful speed. Therefore, the dressage horse is not just a necessity, it is an art that has been perfected over centuries of development, being western dressage one of the most genuine and ancient trainings.
The western dressage arises from the need to use the horse on to agricultural tasks, and especially, in the control and monitoring of cattle. In defined accounts, western dressage has traditionally been a firsthand need and consequently, its long history has been transmitted orally from father to son, taking root especially in Andalusia and Extremadura. As a result, the western dressage is also called Andalusian dressage.
Currently, this dressage is an equestrian discipline that has spread throughout the peninsula, also exported to other foreign regions like Italy or France. Is very popular and requires a high level of competition. The rider must radiate a great sensitivity and intuition, while the horse has to have a high degree of balance, self-control and obedience.
Keep in mind that the western dressage has its origin in the countryside, where the horse and rider share territory with the bull. This, in short distances, is faster than the horse, and therefore, the horse must learn to perform different exercises to avoid being caught by the bull. In short, the relationship between horse and rider has to ooze stability, firmness and submission, being reflexes more important than speed.
On a sporting level, the western dressage is performed in a rectangular whose dimensions range from 18×40 meters and 20×60 meters. The latter is the official dimension of the Championship of Spain of Western Dressage.
This equestrian discipline is characterized by an extremely high level of demand, where every detail can penalize the performance of the rider and his horse. The clothing of both makes an increasing value as they must respect a long series of rules of protocol and also select the best suited attire, from the dress and the hat of the rider to the mane and bridle of the quadruped. This high rank of requirement is patent in the Presentation Phase, where riders who do not get an average score of five points, are automatically disqualified.
However, the climaxes of the competition are, without doubt, the exercises and movements. All of them are listed in the “Worksheets”, and you can find different movements: “arrear y parar a raya” (Spur on and stopping at bay); “galope corto” (canter), “de trabajo y largo” (of work and long); “paso corto” (short step), “de costado” (sideways), “en círculos y hacia atrás” (in circles and backwards); “salir con arremetida” (out with onslaught); “quiebros y recortes” (dodges and cuts). In addition, all exercises must be completed with both hands, which further increases the difficulty, and is strictly prohibited spur on with voice or with tongue clicks.
In conclusion, western dressage is much more than a horse riding sport. This is a mirror of the tradition and history of Andalusian lands, and finds its original frame in the form of two of its most representative animals such as the bull and the horse. So the western dressage is a discipline perfect to enjoy simultaneously both the sport as the culture of Andalusia.