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United States Dressage Federation

Home » Frequently Asked Questions » Competitions FAQs » FAQs about Alternative, Western, and Gaited-Horse Dressage

Alternative, Western, and Gaited-Horse Dressage

  1. What is USDF’s position on western and gaited-horse dressage?
  2. I have been asked to judge western and/or gaited-horse dressage classes or am interested in competition. Where can I find information?
  3. Is Western Dressage reflected in the USEF Rule Book?

What is USDF’s position on western and gaited-horse dressage?

  • USDF will in no way imply or encourage a position that "western dressage" or "gaited dressage" and dressage as defined by the FEI are the same thing.
  • USDF will stand firm on a position that the USDF, USEF, and FEI dressage rules, including terminology and criteria, cannot be used in a way that uses traditional concepts and terminology to mean something "different".
  • USDF will identify USDF educational programs and materials that would appeal to individuals interested in dressage, including western and gaited study, or who have students with that type of horse, as it relates to dressage as defined by the FEI.
  • USDF will consider providing applicable website links to other organizations.
  • USDF recognizes the USEF Approved Affiliate, WDAA, for the new discipline “Western Dressage” and refers those interested in the specifics of their rules and competition to the USEF rule book.

I have been asked to judge western and/or gaited-horse dressage classes or am interested in competition. Where can I find information?

The following web links are to western and gaited-horse organizations that offer guidelines for judging their own tests, and/or rules for competition, on their websites. [While USDF provides these links for your convenience, in doing so, USDF in no way implies that "western dressage" or "gaited dressage", and dressage as defined by the FEI are the same thing.]

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Is Western Dressage reflected in the USEF Rule Book?

Yes, the USEF Board of Directors voted to add a new discipline to the Rule Book and in the process welcomed a new Recognized Affiliate. Effective December 1, 2013, Western Dressage will be removed from the Morgan chapter of the USEF Rule Book and become an independent discipline with it's own chapter. With that change the Western Dressage Association of America (WDAA) will become the USEF Recognized Affiliate for Western Dressage.

In a press release the WDAA stated "The Western Dressage Association of America is honored to be the USEF Recognized Affiliate for the exciting new discipline of western dressage. WDAA is excited to bring its focus and mission of "Honoring the Horse" to the USEF's Horse Welfare Initiative. WDAA will work closely with USEF coordinating rule processes and other affiliate functions."

To learn more about the Western Dressage Association of America go to www.westerndressageassociation.org/

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