Soft Feel is the guiding principle of Cowboy Dressage. It is a wordless, intimate communication within the partnership between horse and rider. Soft Feel is not only sending messages but having the sensitivity and awareness to feel the messages the horse sends back. Soft Feel is the rider’s ability to support and help the horse throughout the ride, even if the horse is nervous or spooky. Soft Feel comes from the rider and is felt by the rider from the horse, no matter what is going on with the horse. The rider supports the horse to develop trust and confidence in any situation.
Dear Cowboy Dressage World Friends,
In a continued endeavor to present the best of Cowboy Dressage World to you, we, the partners have a few questions for you. Your answers will help us a great deal as we plan ahead for 2019 and the future. Cowboy Dressage is all about “you” so we need to hear from you.
Your input is extremely helpful! It is hard to know everyone’s desires, so we thought we would just ask you all to pitch in and give us your thoughts.
Eitan, Debbie, Garn, Lyn, and Wyatt
Murieta Inn and Spa Now Open!
Show Cowboy Dressage at Murieta Equestrian Center and Enjoy the Convenient and Luxury Hotel and Spa Right Next Door.
Murieta Equestrian Center Will Now Have 5, Yes 5 Covered Arenas for Cowboy Dressage World Gathering and Finals.
Save the date. Oct 9-14, 2018
It is arena 2. Often a warm up arena for CD.
2018 COWBOY DRESSAGE WORLD REMUDA MEMBERSHIPS
It is official… Cowboy Dressage New Remuda Membership is now up and ready for membership signups. Become an integral part of supporting Cowboy Dressage World. Join now and be part of the early foundation of Cowboy Dressage World.
In an endeavor to keep up with the ever-growing demands and growth of Cowboy Dressage our new Remuda Membership is now being offered. We are developing this membership so that it includes a tracking of high point awards for the year, savings, show savings and educational benefits. General Membership only $50 per year.
Find out more and Join the New Remuda Membership
We are honored and will always have the Handshake Membership, our continuing core and lifestyle values.
If you are not a Handshake Member become one today: https://cowboydressageworld.com/membership-with-a-handshake/
Visit our new updated website at: www.cowboydressageworld.com
Lesla Bong, Camy Etchell and Teresa Whitaker become the first Cowboy Dressage Lifetime Amateur Members.
For those of you on the West Coast you are all familiar with Lesla and her stunning horse “Cloud”. They are a remarkable pair who represent Cowboy Dressage so well. Thank you Lesla for your fine “horsewomanship” and support of Cowboy Dressage World.
Camy Etchell is always a Cowboy Dressage cheerleader. She and her beautiful horses have been some of our earliest supporters.
All the way from Childress, TX, Teresa Whitaker is our newest lifetime member.
Thanks Ladies for your support of Cowboy Dressage World.
Year End High Point and Achievement Awards for Remuda Members
Year End High Point Awards now being offered for Remuda Members. Please read details at : https://cowboydressageworld.com/membership-with-a-handshake/join-us/
Year End Achievement Awards for Remuda Members. These are awards for personal “best.” Details to follow soon at: https://cowboydressageworld.com/membership-with-a-handshake/join-us/
Remuda Members to save at Cowboy Dressage World Official Outfitter, Buckaroo Leather and Official Event Sponsor Spalding Fly Predators. Thank you, Buckaroo and Spading.
New CDW and CDWPA Logo Wear Coming Soon!
Stay tuned and get your Cowboy Dressage World Jackets, Vests, Hats, T-Shirts, Groom Bags and more. All items will feature the new Cowboy Dressage World Logo.
CDWPA members will be able to have CDWPA added to the merchandise.
CDW Storefront will be featured on www.cowboydressageworld.com website.
Jackets and Vests by Wyoming Traders…… The Best In The West!!
New Cowboy Dressage World Updated and Improved Website Now Online
Be sure to visit our new Cowboy Dressage World Improved Website. Lot of new stuff and more being updated and added often. It is a work in progress. Thank you Donna Muniz!!!!
New Rules for 2018
- Silver Rider now 65 years and older and Amateur Only
- Amateur Only “Dr. Robert Miller Rookie Award” now a High Score Award.
This award is for Amateur Riders competing in Cowboy Dressage for the first time.
- New Tie Breaking Rules. Please read at : https://cowboydressageworld.com/resources/rules-and-guidelines/
- Cancer and Veteran awards to be awarded to an individual one time per year allowing for more exhibitors to win and represent loved ones. You will only be able to choose one of these two awards per show.
- Liberty whip length 48”
- Please check Rules for more updates and changes. More to come as we continue to improve and refine our growing discipline.
- All juniors must now wear a helmet when handling a horse on the ground as well as when mounted. This is in warm up areas and during test.
New Liberty Division Update
The new CDW Liberty Division is well under way. It is our plan to have this ready by June of 2018. This is a huge endeavor to create a whole new discipline within a whole new discipline. Hats off to Marcia Moore Harrison, Davalee Minden, Niki Wilde and Christie Reins for all their hard work.
Some of the scoop on Liberty
- Whips are allowed to be 48”
- There will be 4 tests.
- The first will be the Partnership on the Ground #2. You must score a 72 or more to qualify to move on to the next level Liberty Tests. The test must be judged by a recommended Cowboy Dressage World judge. There are 3 tests that follow the Partnership test so far.
- The next test is with a neck rope only
- The next is without rope or halter (free)
- The final test is a freestyle
- You must get the 72 score to move up from one test to the next. You can go back levels if needed.
- The tests are done on the Partnership on the Ground court. There may be some modifications.
- Buddy horse is an option
- Liberty is a division on its own
More to come so stay tuned. Lots of excitement about this new and unique division.
New 2018 CDW Brochures and Banners for CDWPA Members
If you received a banner and some CDW brochures last year you will be receiving more late winter, early spring. If your address has changed, please let Debbie know. email@example.com
If you are a new professional or ambassador member for 2018 and wish to have some brochures and a banner, please let me know asap. Orders will be going in soon. Send your mailing address. firstname.lastname@example.org
New Levels for CDWPA Judges and Clinicians
There have been two notable levels added to the CDWPA Membership
- Learner Clinician
- Learner Judge
Please check https://cowboydressageworld.com/cdw-professionals/ for more details as they are posted.
News From Eitan
New Educators School Starting in June 2018
Educating and Inspiring others is a gift. Eitan Beth-Halachmy has that gift and it is his desire to share his experience and knowledge with other professional horsemanship clinicians, instructors, teachers and educators.
It takes a keen eye, a knowledge of bio mechanics and equine behavior and lots of experience both in and out of the saddle to be not just a good teacher but a gifted teacher. Eitan has ridden 100’s of horses in his lifetime. He has had great success and of course failures along the way. The failures taught him as much as his successes.
Eitan is a keen observer, a thinker and problem solver. Combine that with the fact he is at times “part horse” and you know why he has a world-wide reputation as a horseman and visionary.
When Eitan came to this country many years ago he spoke little English. He had to find a way to communicate clearly with few words. He feels this early hardship helped him become a better educator. He had to keep things simple and to the point. He had to be creative and imaginative to get his point across.
Eitan invites you to join him for 3 days focusing on developing a higher level of education for those that wish to teach horsemanship. This is not a “heels down, eyes up” program. This for those that wish to excel in elevated teaching techniques and be inspiring at the same time.
Eitan’s Educators Program is not to necessarily teach you better horsemanship or how to train your horse. His Cowboy Dressage School of Horsemanship covers that area which Eitan excels at as well. This educators school is simply a means to give you better tools and education on how to be a better teacher. You don’t have to be a great rider, this is not about your personal horsemanship, it is about how to share the very best of what you know with others.
This School is for all professional horseman and horsewoman. It will incorporate a lot of Eitan’s Cowboy Dressage to help fine tune and elevate the educators eye, understanding and communication.
Eitan wants to take good teachers and help them be great teachers, maybe even legendary. He has the credentials, he has the mind, he has the desire, he has the experience. Take advantage of what took him over 60 years to acquire, join him in his Educate the Educators School.
June- Nov 2018. 3 days. For more details visit: http://cowboydressage.com/EEE_school.html
A great read from our own Jack Brainard. Jack is one of the early founders of Cowboy Dressage. He helped and influenced Eitan greatly on his horsemanship journey.
At Home with Jack Brainard from American Cowboy Magazine Feb 1, 2013
Jack Brainard, of Whitesboro, Texas, has spent nearly his entire life training horses. Instrumental in the founding of the National Reining Horse Association and several state Quarter Horse associations, Brainard was inducted into the Reining Horse Hall of Fame in 2010.
FEB 1, 2013
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen over the years?
There has been no biggest change. It’s been change all the way, and I’ve seen it all. When I was a kid in South Dakota, a man named Gus Hauser, a friend of my dad’s, used to give me a nickel to go buy soda pop. Gus had worked as a scout for General Crook during the Indian Wars. He was a friend of [Sioux chief] Red Cloud, and he saw the Battle of Wounded Knee. Later on, he had a contract to supply beef for the Indians at the Pine Ridge Reservation. He even rode broncs with Buffalo Bill.
You must not have been very old. Did men like Gus impact your career path?
I was about 5 or 6. Gus wore tall, high-heeled boots with a big ‘H’ sewn on to the front of each boot. I’d never seen anything so neat. I decided then and there—no other endeavor interested me other than being a cowboy… I was riding by the time I was 3 and had a Shetland pony named Peggy that I rode to school until I was 7. But I absolutely could not wait to get on big horses. And once I did, there was no looking back.
Riding a pony to school? The Country must have been different then.
A lot of things were different. Kids were different. When I was 9 I snuck out of the house before daylight to go chase wild horses with another kid who’d told me that all the good cowboys were rounding up mustangs and that we should go watch. Mom told me there was no way I was riding 25 miles to go fool with wild horses, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. It was better than any rodeo.
Were those the last days of the wide-open Old West?
That’s right. Things changed not too long after that. And I think they got a little better. Cowboys started riding better horses; taking some pride in their horsemanship. Rodeos started in the 1920s with guys like Bob Crosby. That was probably about the start of what you’d call the modern cowboy.
Those guys weren’t riding quarter horses were they?
Quarter Horses didn’t come around until the ’40s and ’50s. I remember being at a rodeo in Iowa in the 1930s when the announcer was talking about these horses that were faster than any other horse over a quarter mile, and they were called Quarter Horses. Pretty soon you started seeing them around. We knew that they could work a cow and were fast, but it wasn’t until 1945 that they caught on. That’s when a man named Raymond Wood from Wichita Falls, Texas, took a horse to the Fort Worth Stock Show called Buckskin Joe. Buckskin Joe was named Grand Champion Quarter Horse, and a guy from Sheridan, Wyo., gave $25,000 for him. That was a lot of money in those days. Hell, a dollar a pound was a tremendous price for a horse. So when Buckskin Joe went for 25 grand it made headlines. I think that was the catalyst for the Quarter Horse industry.
When did you start riding quarter horses?
Well, the war [WWII] ended just about the same time, and I got out of the Army. Soon as I could, I bought some Texas clothes, custom boots, and a Stetson hat, and I made it up to the Goodrich Ranch in Lampasas. Didn’t even tell my parents I was out. The ranch had a good bunch of Quarter Horse mares, and I probably learned more about horses during my stay there than any other time of my life. Pretty soon, I had to go back to Iowa to take over the family farm. I hated to leave Texas, but I knew I’d be back before long.
It took 30 years, right? Did you come back for the Quarter horses?
I’d had jobs in Wisconsin and Minnesota training horses, and I’d done some judging. You know, I’ve judged every major show in America at least twice. But I knew that Texas had the best horses. So I moved to Gainesville in 1976.
Tell me about your work on the smooth lead change.
I’d ridden quite a lot with Monty Foreman in Minnesota, and he did me a world of good on lead changes. But when I got to Texas I was surrounded by the best trainers in the business. Horsemanship was changing during that time [the 1970s]. That’s when Tom Dorrance started getting some attention and we started looking at quieter, less-forceful ways to train horses. Today’s round-pen experts can get more done with a horse in three hours than the old cowboys could get done in three months. Used to be, all the horses bucked, and none of the cowboys knew any better.
Do horses have a better deal today than they did 100 years ago?
They do. In Europe in the late 1800s, there were guys who could canter a horse backward. In the West at that time, Civil War vets were taking cattle up the trail and had no clue about horsemanship. That wasn’t all that long ago, either. In fact, the working cowboy was a flash in the pan, as far as history is concerned.
Sure, but cowboys will always gather cattle horseback in rough country.
True. But there are a lot more motorcycles and four-wheelers out there today than there are remudas of working ranch horses. Most of today’s cowboys, like the rodeo cowboys, are arena athletes. They don’t need to know what the old-range cowboy needed to know. They’d have a hard time picking out a springing heifer in a herd of 500, have a hard time mothering up 500 calves to their cows after driving them a hundred miles.
What’s the future of cowboys and horsemanship in this country?
I’ll leave that up to conjecture. Things have changed, and, generally, we’re better for it. Hell, I’m doing things with my horses now that I never dreamed of as a young man. I got these colts doing the piaffe, some of them are changing leads every other stride. Got the best program going now that I’ve ever had. It’s been lots of fun, too.
For more on Jack visit his website at: www.jackbrainard.com
COWBOY DRESSAGE OR WESTERN DRESSAGE?
In 2010, the Western Dressage Association of America was created to organize some aspects of the budding new discipline inspired by Eitan Beth-Halachmy and his work with horses such as Holiday Compadre and Santa Fe Renegade. At the time, people were using the terms “cowboy dressage” and “Western dressage” interchangeably. Some people still do, and this can lead to confusion, although in many ways cowboy dressage and Western dressage are similar.
Both trace their roots back to the inspiration of Eitan Beth-Halachmy, and the sacrifices he and Debbie made in order to share the vision with a wider audience. Cowboy dressage and Western dressage can appear very similar, perhaps due to that shared origin—Eitan on Holiday Compadre will forever be the founding image for both, the spark that lit the fire. However, they are evolving to fit the needs of different groups of people, and as time goes by the differences become more apparent.
Some groups try to minimize the difference: In Oregon, the Cowboy/Western Dressage Alliance caters to those who want to do one or the other, or both. In fact, many people who are active in the cowboy dressage community also compete in Western dressage. Cowboy dressage clubs keep up with the events in Western dressage, and vice versa. Riders who want to do both have many opportunities to do so and are often successful in both arenas.
It can still be difficult for anyone but the connoisseur to say what differentiates the two. Both emphasize the relationship between horse and rider. Both seek to combine the best of the Western cowboy tradition and traditional dressage; both focus on training that takes into consideration the horse’s nature.
The differences? Cowboy dressage puts more emphasis on lifestyle and the diversity of its community. Western dressage is familiar to those already on the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) show circuit. Western dressage relies a little more on the traditional dressage aspect; cowboy dressage, in accordance with its name, leans more toward the cowboy or Western-style horse.
Cowboy dressage emphasizes its unique style that caters to the specific way of going of a Western horse, whereas Western dressage focuses on a horse who can multitask, accommodating the bigger gaits and specific movements of traditional dressage to Western tack.
As the two disciplines have forged their own paths, growing apart in some ways along the line, the differences are becoming apparent mainly in competition rules and venues—you will find Western dressage divisions at major USEF horse shows; cowboy dressage organizes its own events. Accordingly, Western dressage has its section in the USEF rulebook, which largely applies the rules of traditional dressage to horses shown in Western tack.
In contrast, cowboy dressage is in the process of creating and expanding its own rules, adding to them as more and more people ask for more divisions and more tests. Over the past few years, the increasing demands of an expanding community have led to the development of guidelines for shows and judges, using classical dressage techniques and testing methods to build a better Western horse.
The biggest differences between cowboy dressage and Western dressage are seen in the tests. Western dressage has opted for an arena and tests that are very similar to traditional dressage competition. Cowboy dressage took the traditional dressage arena and turned it into a classroom for the Western horse, resulting in a unique court with patterns scaled to the movements and goals of Western horses.
For the most part, what one notices about cowboy and Western dressage is that, although their rules and competitions are becoming increasingly different as both carve out their own special niche in the horse world, people from either tend to support the other. Importantly, both grew out of the vision of Eitan and Debbie Beth-Halachmy, with the enthusiastic collaboration of many, in order to offer new possibilities for training and showing, always emphasizing, above all, the relationship between horse and rider.
Adapted by permission from Cowboy Dressage: Riding, Training and Competing with Kindness as the Goal and Guiding Principle, published in 2015 by Trafalgar Square Books. Available from CowboyDressage.com
This article first appeared in EQUUS issue #460, January 2016.
CDWPA Members and Event Managers You Must Submit Your Events! Handshake Members Requested a Calendar to find all the Cowboy Dressage Events in one place. There is the option to see the calendar or find events by location. Visit cowboydressageworld.com and look under Events.
While you’re there look under “Information” to find out; What is needed to “Host a Gathering” and “How to Get Cowboy Dressage Started in Your Area.” To find a professional for your event visit https://cowboydressageworld.com/cdw-professionals//
Cowboy Dressage World Gatherings, at Murieta Equestrian Center, have a new Volunteer Manager. Our talented Kelsey Morris is progressing in the office and will still be present. Sara Austin, who has been volunteering, coordinating, and practicing Cowboy Dressage in Northern California has accepted this position. Handshake Members who are looking to volunteer or would like more information e-mail Sara Austin email@example.com or visit and join the Cowboy Dressage World Volunteers Facebook Page! https://www.facebook.com/Cowboy-Dressage-World-Volunteers-134164414014623/
COWBOY DRESSAGE HANDSHAKE MEMBERS FACEBOOK GROUP
Over 1,000 Members!!!!
These Handshake Members are learning together, seeing Cowboy Dressage Diagrams, sharing their photos and experiences around the world. Help your friends become Handshake Members here https://cowboydressageworld.com/membership-with-a-handshake/ So that they can join the Facebook Group here https://www.facebook.com/groups/522062977954651/
Cowboy Dressage Facebook
Over 60,000 Followers… Good Work Eitan!!
HANDSHAKE AND CDWPA MEMBERS MAKE THE NEWS
COWBOY DRESSAGE ON THE COVER!
Kenda Firkins, Recommended Cowboy Dressage Clinician, Shared Cowboy Dressage with the readers of the “Horsemen’s Roundup” November issue. Find Kenda on Cowboy Dressage World Professionals
CDWPA Featured Professional, Sonya Livermore
Some of the first childhood memories I have are of our Family pony running down the mountain pasture to the end of the fence to join our impromptu picnic of Kool Aid and marshmallows . If ignored or not included, he would return up the mountain and not come down for his evening feed This same pony gave rides to other neighborhood children at the hometown Carnival and carried me in many area parades. What a beautiful relationship to experience with one of God’s creatures. I was forever more in love with the horse and building harmony and partnership with them!
This gave me a great opportunity to realize that the horse thinks, has feelings, and has his or her very own personality, which can develop loyal relationships when trust is given to an individual. This trust and loyalty gives place for respect of the two entities involved; and thereby the partnership and harmony which has potential to produce Soft Feel that we hold so dear and value so very much in Cowboy Dressage.
My relationship with horses began with the pony who came to the family picnics. The pony relationship was followed by riding western in 4-H. progressed to showing western, in-hand, driving and saddle seat equitation in 4-H and A-rated Morgan shows, then working for my families breeding showing stable as well as Therapeutic Riding school, and then evolved to being a paid trainer before ,during and after college. I have spent my lifetime working in the horse industry. The quest to always enhance and build the relationship of rider and horse led me to desire more education on the horse and the rider relationship.
While attending and Showing at the 1993 Morgan Grand National and World Championship, I watched in awe a performance of horse and rider in beautiful movement with partnership and harmony that demonstrated a most unusual and admirable while quite very noticeable Soft Feel. The rider’s relationship with the horse was indescribable — breath taking! I had to learn more! The rider was Eitan Beth-Halachmy; – hence, Cowboy Dressage was in process of being born! In the 90s and early 2000 we hosted several Cowboy Dressage clinics and I gleaned greatly from Eitan’s teaching!
What a wonderful opportunity for anyone to Set, Accomplish, and Maintain goals with a horse partner. Cowboy Dressage provides that opportunity. No matter the level in Cowboy Dressage, a person and/or horse can learn, work the tests, compete (if desired), and enjoy accomplishments. The partnership and trust built with the horse is evidenced by the willingness of the horse to yield to aids given by the rider, and then the harmony happens:)
I do so very much Enjoy the Journey from Foundation to Finish. It is the greatest joy for me to be a part of this accomplishment with individuals and their horses; regardless of whether it is helping train the horse and/or rider at my stable or another, instructing Basics in Dressage college classes, clinics, play days, or judging Cowboy Dressage. I count it a privilege to share the knowledge I have acquired from “Mr. Cowboy Dressage” himself, Eitan Beth-Halachmy, Lyn Ringrose Moe, Gabby Herrmann of Herrmann’s Lippizaner Stallions in America, and Victor Lara, director of Equine management: Medieval Times, among many others over my lifetime of learning and growing in horsemanship beginning with my parents Dale and Martha Livermore.
I continue to learn more each and every day about the balance of the horse’s mind and body in work performance. This balance has tremendous potential to be enhanced by a greater understanding of the proper working bio-mechanics of the horse as well as the blending of talent and responsibilities of the rider or handler. This is Partnership and Harmony with SOFT FEEL!
CREDENTIALS ;- Cowboy Dressage Judge ** Level 3 Clinician ** NCTC Adjunct Professor Basics of Dressage,** students and horses have achieved Regional, Reserve and National / World Championships /Morgan horse Youth of the Year, Pinto Gypsy , Paint , Morgan, National Show horse Palomino, Color Congress, …. over Thirty years (30) Professional Horse Trainer ,Instructor, Background in Therapeutic Riding, Morgans, and breeding,.
Thanks again Deb,
4853 Sam Bass Rd.
Sanger, TX 76266
MY FIRST COWBOY DRESSAGE GATHERING ByJane Creagh & Solar
What started out as an invitation to participate in a Cowboy Dressage Drill Team Freestyle with my closest riding girlfriends brought me to riding in my first Cowboy Dressage Gathering this past September on my purebred Lusitano gelding Solar HM.
As the practices went on and my friends talked of the gathering and the classes they would ride in I decided that maybe I should do the same. I never had ridden Cowboy Dressage before but thought, why not?
Originally, I thought of riding a musical freestyle sidesaddle but that quickly became a daunting task, especially not being familiar at all with the elements of any of the tests and what was being looked at in the judges scoring.
So, I decided it would be best to start out with a couple of basic tests. After looking at them I decided I would enter Walk Jog Test 2 and Walk Jog Lope Test 2, still riding sidesaddle.
It just so happened that Lyn Ringrose Moe was giving a Cowboy Dressage Clinic at Rawking Horse Ranch in Briones, California where I board my horses. I had ridden with Lyn but the focus of the lessons was not specific to Cowboy Dressage and the elements of the tests. What a great opportunity to get some instruction riding my tests before the gathering, right? Plus, all my girlfriends were riding in the clinic too!
What was so beneficial about the clinic was having the opportunity to ride the tests and get such great feedback from the clinicians. An eye-opening moment for me in the clinic was seeing all the other riders having their struggles and successes, just like I was. We were all on our own path at different places, but together and supportive.
All too often in my riding path I have been struck by the lack of positivity, especially in the show world. This was not the case with the Cowboy Dressage Gathering. My experience was one of such joy and positive support. Yes, I was with my friends who were supportive and helpful, but it was way beyond that circle. Everyone, and I mean everyone, that I met or interacted with were pleasant, complimentary and supportive. Not once did I get the feeling that this was a ‘competition’.
It was so nice to see so many riders of varying ages/levels coming together to enjoy and share their passion with their horses. There was something for everyone which was what brought them all there.
One especially important takeaway for me was watching all my friends, some of whom I have witnessed over the past year working very hard, challenging themselves and reaching their goals. Each show day brought more tests with informative and positive results that we could all share.
My overall experience was fun, yes fun. It was fun getting my horse cleaned up and fun wearing my sidesaddle outfits. And mostly for me it was fun sharing my passion with a group that gets it.
Thank you, Cowboy Dressage, for creating a place to come and have FUN! I look forward to the next Cowboy Dressage Gathering. Hmmm, which tests shall I ride??
Jane Creagh & Solar
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Looking forward to 2018,