Cowboy Dressage ~ Join the Excitement!
Cowboy Solutions is pleased to announce our alliance with
Dressage Founders, Debbie and Eitan Beth-Halachmy
can quickly and easily turn your 20m x 60m or your regular 20m x 40m dressage
arena, into a Cowboy Dressage arena!
For a 20m x 60m, Depending on
your rail length - we have rails available - decide the number of cones
for the 20m short side.
Generally, you will need four, if you are using a
Each cone is $30 including
of Terry & Susan Tomasini, Tomasini Training Center
Download the ™Cowboy
Dressage Court layout in .PDF here!
Beth Halachmay created the new Cowboy Dressage™ Court simply because it
made good sense.
The layout and transitions on this new court help the rider
with precision and execution. The smaller court fits the movement and
shorter stride of the western horse. You call the test with just the letters but
the brands are the Cowboy Dressage™ court’s identity making it very western and
different from the standard dressage court.
This new court is a revolutionary design "made in America!"
The Rules Cowboy Dressage™
Riding “The Court” with Simple Rules, Objectives & Requirements
Appointments and Attire.
- Western tack must be used in all classes.
Competitors must be penalized for incomplete appointments and attire but not
necessarily disqualified. Entries shall be shown with stock saddle but silver
equipment will not count over a good working
- There is no discrimination against any standard
Western bit. A standard Western bit is defined as having a shank with a
maximum length overall of 8 1/2” The mouthpiece consists of a metal bar 5/16”
to 3/4” in diameter as measured one inch in from the shank. The bars may be
inlaid but must be smooth or latex wrapped. Nothing must protrude below the
mouthpiece (bar) such as extensions, prongs or rivets designed to intimidate
the horse. Rollers attached to the center of the bit are acceptable, and may
extend below the bar. Jointed mouthpieces are acceptable and may consist of
two or three pieces and may have one or two joints. A three piece mouthpiece
may include a connecting ring of 1 1/4” or less in diameter or a connecting
flat bar of 3/8,” to 3/4” (measured top to bottom with a maximum length of
2”), which lies flat in the mouth, or a roller or port as described herein.
The port must be no higher than 3 1/2” maximum with roller(s) and covers
Jointed mouthpieces, half breeds and spade bits are standard.
Slip or gag bits, rigid donut mouthpieces and flat polo mouthpieces are
prohibited. Roping bits with both reins connected to a single ring at center
of cross bar must not be used. Reins must be attached to each shank. Any rein
design or other device which increases the effective length and thereby the
leverage of the shank of a standard western bit is prohibited. Anything that
alters the intended use of equipment as provided for in the description of
appointments for a given class is considered to be an artificial
- A standard snaffle bit is defined as a center
jointed single rounded, unwrapped smooth mouthpiece of 5/16” to 3/4” diameter
metal as measured from ring to 1” in from the ring with a gradual decrease to
the center of the snaffle. The rings may be from 2” to 4” outside diameter of
either the loose type, eggbutt, dee or center mounted without cheeks. If a
curb strap is used it must be attached below the
- A hackamore includes a bosal rounded in shape and
constructed of flexible braided rawhide or leather and must have a flexible
nonmetallic core attached to a suitable headstall with maximum diameter of
3/4” at the cheek. Attached reins may be of hair, rope or leather. Other
material of any kind must not be used in conjunction with a bosal, i.e.,
steel, metal or chains (Exception: Smooth plastic electrical tape is
- Horses must not be shown with artificial appliances
that would tend to alter their performance; no material of any kind, including
tongue ties, may be placed in the horse’s mouth other than a standard Western
bit or a snaffle bit. Curb chains and leather chin straps may be used but must
be flat and at least 1/2” in width and lie flat against the jaws of the horse.
Wire, rawhide, metal or other substance must not be used in conjunction with
or as part of the leather chin strap, or curb chains. Rounded, rolled, braided
or rawhidecurb straps are prohibited. A light lip strap is
- Riders must wear suitable western hat, long-sleeved shirt
with any type collar; trousers or pants (a one-piece long-sleeved equitation
suit is acceptable, provided it includes a collar). Riders should wear a
necktie, kerchief, bolo tie or pin; a vest, jacket, coat and /or sweater may
also be worn. Protective headgear is acceptable; not required to be of Western
- Voice commands are allowed as long as softly
- Two hands allowed with a curb or a
- No extra points given for one
- Posting at the free jog is an
- Caller may use microphone.
- Riders are allowed to pet their horses as a reward
when appropreiate (in front of the
- Cavesons (a nose band) allowed with bit or snaffle.
Caveson must be western type,
no crank or flash type allowed. Two fingers must fit between caveson and jaw of horse.
- Two fingers must fit between flat leather or chain curb strap and jaw of horse.
- Loop and any type western rein is allowed.
- Western type saddle with horn to be used. No non-horn trail or Australian type saddles are appropriate.
- Hackamores allowed on any age horse.
- No bitless bridles, sidepulls, halter or similar devices.
- Crops or whips may be used but excessive use will be penalized.
- Spurs allowed but excessive use will be penalized.
- Chinks or Chaps an option but not required. Jeans and riding skirts allowed.
- All junior riders are encouraged to wear a helmet.
- Boots are required, no riding type shoes allowed.
- Judges will be looking for a horse and rider combination that executes the tests in harmony and partnership. They will be looking for and rewarding the “soft feel” between rider and horse. Release, Relaxation, Preparation and Execution will be the main criteria that judges will be scoring. Precision, Balance, Cadence, Carriage, Control, and Performance will be of substantial importance but Harmony, Soft Feel and Partnership is the goal of Cowboy Dressage™ and will be scored accordingly. Any rider who hangs or bangs on a horse’s mouth or rides with horse’s head behind the vertical or with over flexion will be penalized.
Clarification on Light / Soft Contact
- Light or soft contact does not mean you throw or pitch the reins away and allow the horse to carry himself on the forehand. It means what is says, Light/Soft contact.
- You can’t ride with soft feel if your seat, hands and aids are not being correctly used. Soft feel is the end result of all aids in proper use, balance, rhythm and partnership.
- www.cdfa.ca.gov/ahfss/Animal_Health/emmp/ for current rules on drugs and drugging in the state of CA. If you are holding a show outside of CA please check with your states rules and policy on drugs and drugging during horse shows.
- Working Walk: Four-beat with forward reaching steps. The head and neck should swing naturally as a result of a relaxed back and free shoulders. The horse maintains a light contact with the bit with his nose slightly in front of the vertical.
- Free Walk: Four beat with forward lengthening of steps. The horse is relaxed and allowed by the lengthening of the reins to lower his head and neck and to stretch forward, down and out.
- Working Jog: Two beat and forward with even and elastic steps. The back is relaxed and the shoulder is free. The hind legs should step forward under the horse. The horse is maintainers a light contact with the bit and his nose slightly in front of the vertical.
- Free Jog: Two beat, with forward movement allowing lengthening of even and elastic steps. The horse is relaxed and allowed by the lengthening of reins to lower his head and neck and to stretch forward. The horse maintains light contact with the bit with his nose slightly in front of the vertical. Posting is an option.
- Working Lope: Three beat with forward reaching with balanced steps. The back is relaxed and the shoulders free with the hind legs stepping forward under the horse. The horse maintains on light contact with the bit with his nose slightly in front of the vertical.
- Free Lope: Three beat with forward and more lengthening of steps. The horse is relaxed and should be allowed by the lengthening of reins to lower his head and neck but still maintain balance, light contact with the bit with nose slightly in front of the vertical.
- Back (or Reinback): The horse moves backwards in a straight line by moving his legs in diagonal pairs. The horse is backed using light aids and maintains a round, soft outline.
Cowboy Dressage™ Turn on the Haunches: The horse bends slightly in the direction of the movement and moves his front legs (the outside front leg crosses over the inside front leg) around the hind legs. The outside hind leg and both front legs move around the inside hind leg which forms the pivotal point of the turn. The horse should remain in the same location, by balancing his weight between the inside to the outside hind legs.
- Cowboy Dressage™ Turn on the Forehand: The horse bends slightly in the direction opposite from the movement of the hindquarters, or away from the direction of travel and moves the hind legs around the front legs. The inside front leg is the pivotal point while the inside hind leg crosses in front of the outside hind leg moving the hind legs around the front legs.
- COLLECTION: To shorten the frame of the horse. Move weight to the hindquarter and elevate the wither.
- FAULTS: Loss of three beat rhythm, crookedness, tight and tense back with short stiff neck; horse on forehand and/or leaning on the bit, nose consistently behind the vertical, changing tempo.
- RHYTHM: Is the recurring characteristic sequence and timing of footfalls and phases of a given gait.
- TEMPO: Is the rate of repetition of the rhythm, the strides or the beats.
- CADENCE: Is the marked accentuation of the rhythm that is a result of a steady tempo and a springy impulsion.
- ADJUSTABILITY: The ability to shorten or lengthen the stride and the topline of the horse within a gait and/or pace without changing the tempo. An athletic horse shows this capacity naturally, and his ability to do so is further developed by correct training.
- In other words, the horse must not rush when asked to lengthen, nor slow his tempo when asked to collect. The ability of a rider to show adjustability of the gaits while maintaining a steady tempo is a major proof of his/her skill.
- Lack of regularity at walk, trot or canter is a fault that must be penalized in a Cowboy Dressage horse. With correct training, however, the gaits can become amplified and more expressive. As the horse develops physically, he gains strength and can carry more weight behind; thus the forehand becomes lighter and the shoulders have more freedom, reach and mobility. Much of a horse's training is devoted to developing relaxation, so as to preserve the purity of the gaits.
- A rider must always maintain a proper position and alignment in order to connect the horse correctly from back to front and to encourage him to carry more weight behind.
- Cowboy Dressage™ Help, Instruction, and Judging
- Cowboy Dressage is not offering a certification program of instructors, trainers or clinicians. We do have a list of people who we think are fine horse people who understand and believe in Eitan’s teachings, training practices and philosophy. Each has spent time with Eitan and has shown great aptitude and a genuine interest in helping others with Cowboy Dressage. Some are available for clinics. Please check with each individual as to what they can do for you.
Snohomish, WA 425-319-9280
- Lyn Ring Rose
Woodland, CA 209-747-0984
Santa Rosa, CA 707-486-5946
Ocala, Fl 603-764-5905
Rocky Ridge, MD 443-848-2037
- Dianne Olds
Auburn, CA 530-320-1209
Whitesboro, TX 940-368-1691
Kona, HI 808-640-1618
Palmer, TX 214-403-0932
Auburn, CA 95602 530-305-4341
Garn Walker Stables
- Rodolfo Lara
Cowboy Dressage from the Ground Up
Dr. Karl Cloninger at Stormwalker Ranch
Oklahoma (877) 545-7770
Salisbury, MD 614-581-0308
- Lynn McEnespy
USEF Licensed R dressage judge
Chico, CA 95973 530-343-6806.