Why a Handshake?
In many ways, the Old West was a simple time, led by an unwritten Code of Honor. This code was a moral compass for many, guided by a man’s word of morality and decency. It represents fairness, loyalty, living each day with courage, and respect for the land. Cowboy singer and poet (and hero to those of us who remember him) Gene Autry said of the Old West Code of Honor: “A cowboy is kind and gentle to small children, old folks and animals. Be honest in thought, word and deed. Be a good steward of land and its animals. Stay curious and open-minded.”
In those days, a person’s handshake was a symbol of a man’s integrity and the Old West Code of Honor. A handshake assured upholding of moral principles. Banks would loan money on a handshake. Business was completed with a handshake. A man was taught to never go back on a handshake; his handshake was an acknowledgement of honor. There were no 30-page documents with places for 15 signatures and a notary stamp. Men simply shook hands, which sealed the deal.
We invite you (not just men!) to become a member of Cowboy Dressage for free, completing the deal with just a (virtual) handshake.
With our part of the handshake pledge and our word, we promise to:
Membership With a Handshake
Mission and Vision Statement of the Cowboy Dressage World Lifestyle, Training Philosophy and Competitive Discipline
Soﬅ Feel is the mission and guiding principle of Cowboy Dressage™. It is a wordless, intimate and for some a spiritual communication within the partnership between horse and rider. Soﬅ feel is not only sending messages but
having the sensitivity and awareness to feel and receive messages sent by the horse. The timing and use of the release, relaxation, preparation and execution are the fundamentals of Soﬅ Feel.
The competitive discipline of Cowboy Dressage™ uses a uniquely designed court, on which the horse and rider execute “tests” prescribed through advancing levels of diﬃculty. Judges score these tests based on the horse and rider’s quality of performance as they advance through these deﬁned levels. Judges also score the horse and rider on lightness, harmony, ﬁnesse and the partnership expected as well as balance, cadence, carriage, control, and performance.
A grassroots movement within the horse industry suggests many of us yearn for the “good ol’ days” when a handshake and a person’s word was his bond. It is a code of honor still practiced by some horsemen and horsewomen today. Yet for most folks, a contract is regarded as a necessary tool of doing business. An entire generation is missing the feeling of pride of being known as a person whose handshake and word is as reliable and ironclad as a written legal document.
Cowboy Dressage is growing nationally and internationally. We are humbled by the enthusiasm it is generating and its enormous projected inﬂuence on the equine community. Such rapid expansion, while exciting, also places our sense of being a close-knit community and our grassroots identity in jeopardy. And while no formal Cowboy Dressage organization currently exists, we believe we need a meaningful gesture that signiﬁes our commitment to our shared values, vision and to one another.
Membership With a Handshake is our answer. We feel good about it and think you will too. No annual fees or group passwords are required for Cowboy Dressage World membership, but we do have expectations of ourselves and of you:
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 -women.
~ strive to maintain Cowboy Dressage as a grassroots, community-focused movement.
~ ensure Cowboy Dressage is accessible to everyone regardless of their income or status within the horse world. Whether they show, trail ride, barrel race, cut, rein or just love horses, this will be a place they can hang their hats and be proud.
~ and most of all, 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 Cowboy Dressage World. We Ride Together With You,
By taking this free Handshake Pledge, you’ll become a member of Cowboy Dressage World. Welcome!
You’ll receive an email to confirm your membership. Please reply to the email to complete your membership. If you need assistance, please contact Sara Uhalde at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Again, welcome to Cowboy Dressage World. Whether you want to ride in our gatherings or watch from the rail, you’ve chosen to join a great community of people. We welcome all breeds of horses (and mules!) and people of all ages and all skill levels.