The equestrian pursuit known as Cowboy Dressage was born of a desire to meld the best of Western riding traditions and classical dressage in the pursuit of a harmonious relationship with a horse. Intended to be accessible to all, Cowboy Dressage is open to all breeds and all levels of riders; there isn’t a set frame for overall look, head carriage, or action. The singular goal is to consider the horse’s potential at all times as one strives to achieve a subtle and relaxed flow of information between horse and rider.
While there isn’t an official “association” or fees, there is an informal membership agreement known as the “Cowboy Dressage Handshake.”
“Part of the appeal of Cowboy Dressage,” explains TSB author Jessica Black in the new book she wrote with Cowboy Dressage founders Eitan and Debbie Beth-Halachmy, “is that it allows people to extend the feeling of partnership that they are fostering with their horses to others who are pursuing similar riding goals: kindness, the Soft Feel of complete communication, and a relaxed atmosphere in which to learn. The Handshake is emblematic of the Cowboy Dressage community and partnership.”
THE COWBOY DRESSAGE HANDSHAKE
With our handshake and our word, we promise to:
• Continue to educate and teach as much as possible in all formats.
• Keep Cowboy Dressage simple and uncomplicated.
• Provide tests, rules, and information to everyone who wishes to show.
• Support and educate individuals outside the show ring who want to learn and improve as horsemen and horsewomen.
• Strive to maintain Cowboy Dressage as a grassroots, community-focused movement.
• Ensure Cowboy Dressage is accessible to everyone regardless of his or her income or status within the horse world.
• Make this a place where all people can hang their hat and be proud, whether they show, trail ride, barrel race, cut, rein, or just love horses.
• Most of all, we promise to look for the “try” in you, the Cowboy Dressage world members.
With your handshake and your word, you pledge to “try” to:
• Become the person others can trust with a handshake and your word.
• Exemplify the Cowboy Dressage way of life and find the courage to chase your dreams.
• Not allow defeat when faced with setbacks in your life and your horsemanship.
• Treat all horses and people with integrity and kindness.
• Look for “the try” in your horses and always reward them.
• Look for “the try” in people as you travel down your horsemanship path.
With your handshake and word, you become a member of the Cowboy Dressage World.
The superbly written and beautifully illustrated new book COWBOY DRESSAGE gives readers everything they need to find a “soft feel” with their horses and then share what they’ve developed with a community of like-minded horsepeople. As the founders of the movement say, Cowboy Dressage is more about a way of life than a rulebook. And with that as its premise, we can see how it can show the way to true partnership with a horse.
COWBOY DRESSAGE is available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.
CLICK HERE to order or to download a free sample chapter.
Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of horse books and DVDs, is a small, privately owned company based on a farm in rural Vermont.