Thousands of horse lovers saddled up to learn more about Western dressage at the Midwest Horse Fair, which took place April 15–17 in Madison, Wisconsin. North American Western Dressage was onsite and honored to host a demonstration to showcase the versatility of Western dressage and how it can be used to enhance partnership between horse and rider.

More than 62,000 equine enthusiasts attended the 2016 Midwest Horse Fair, according to the event’s website. The NAWD Western Dressage demonstration featured member volunteers and their horses—spanning a variety of breeds, ages and training levels—demonstration the discipline of Western dressage and how it can be incorporated into in-hand work, trail, ranch horse and versatility training.

“What impressed me most was the partnership, horsemanship and sportsmanship each handler and rider exhibited in the Western dressage discipline demo,” said Kris Blacklock, a NAWD member who participated in the demonstration. “Starting from the ground up, each employed the dressage training pyramid as they showcased to the audience the versatility of dressage: Six Feet on the Ground, Pre-Intro Lead Line, traditional, Western, ranch, freestyle and trail.

“Dressage is all about using the variety of progressive ‘tests’ to train your horse to be balanced, flexible and obedient, regardless of tack. The future of dressage and its versatility was clearly evident in NAWD's demo. They shared how everyone can enjoy all aspects dressage and not be limited by having to choose between traditional or Western tack. Dressage is a discipline for all to learn and enjoy.”

NAWD gives a heartfelt thanks to everyone who made the demonstration possible, including: exhibitors Kris Blacklock, Amanda Nicole Lane, Michaela Lane, Amber Hofmaier, Rachel Hau, Brooke Kiefer, Brittany Doerfer, Crystal Short, Stacey Gorman, Samantha Bailey, Brenna Ellis and special guest Patrick King; grounds crew Jason Sommers, John, Mariah & Heather Kiefer, Sara & Michele Hofmaier, Karen Hau, Jamie Neumaier, Patty Boys, Tiffany Gatesman, Kristine Gould, Jessica Gorman, Leah Heffron, Kristina Mazmanian-Ellis and Dale Blacklock; artist Michelle Guillot; NAWD Executive Director Jen Johnson and the NAWD Educational Committee.

Learn more about NAWD and Western dressage at nawdhorse.org.