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Western Style Dressage Association of Canada Elaine Ward talks about "Contact"

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   May 14, 2012 20:23
We have had a lot of questions come up about contact. What we have to remember is that we are seeking a lightness of contact. Contact as being defined as imagining you have silk threads in your hands to the reins.
Some people are concerned about the use of curbs at the lower levels. Our rules state that it is highly recommended that the curb not be used but we are also considering the traditions of the Western Style of riding.
Two handed in a snaffle, bosal, or bitless is just fine.
Two handed in a curb is optional. Again when we are trying to produce bend and flexion within our figures, it's much better to use the two hands, again we are NOT promoting pulling in any type of bit. It's much kinder to bend your knuckles to initiate position than to lean your body and pull the reins. A balanced rider will produce a balanced horse.
The bosal is permitted. Whether or not the heel knot will stay down will be relevant to how much the bosal is squeezed together by the Mecate reins. That's just plain physics. If the bosal is loose on the horses face, then it's quite easy to make the heel knot move back. What we are looking for is the willingness of the horse, and the lack of resistance.
I think we should also realize that a plain snaffle can be a razor in the hands of a Monkey.
We do not permit nosebands which can hide a lot of flaws. Whips and artificial appliances are out too.
The horse should display that it is happy and relaxed in their work. That is perhaps the most important goal of Western Style Dressage.

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