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What does Show High Score really mean?

 First, I want to give a big Thank You!  to Jackie and Lisa Blackmon for hosting and adding Western Classes to their Fall Series Dressage Shows. This is the second show that Carbon and I attended at Black Star Sport Horse. The Blackmons are very hospitable and love to make their guests feel like part of the family. The arena was properly groomed and there was ample, level parking with excellent access. In addition, a show could not run well without an experienced Show Secretary like Charlotte Stotts and a fair judge like Julie Madriguera. My hats off to another wonderful show.

What does Show High Point really mean?

Let me set the stage. Because Western Dressage is not a full blown sport yet, there are two ways to have your horsemanship tested. There are Breed Shows that have Western Classes added to the Dressage day or Western classes added to a Dressage Schooling Show. Most of the Western Dressage Shows that you hear about on the Internet are really, added Western Classes, to already established Dressage Schooling Shows. They are not recognized by any official organization like USDF or USEF. Even though USEF has tests and rules for WD, it is still not recognized by USDF and cannot be scored in a recognized Dressage show. So for now, we can only be tested by USDF "" Judges at Dressage Schooling Shows and some Breed Shows if they open the show to Western riders. Unfortunately there are not enough WD riders in any one area to hold an exclusive Western Dressage Show.

austin6Now to answer the question.
Better yet, should the question be changed to; "Can Western concepts improve Dressage Horses?"

When Carbon and I are tested, we primarily test at Dressage Schooling Shows with added Western Classes, because that is all that is offered at this time. Carbon and I are the minority at most of these shows because it is not a Western Show, it is an English/ Dressage Show with added Western Classes. It is not hard for us to win a blue ribbon in a WD Class if Carbon shows up and rides a good test. Blue ribbons are basically "worthless"; it is all about your "score" and the "comments" from the Judge that come with that score that is important. So Carbon and I don't really compete with a few Western riders, we compete against the "WHOLE" show of 30-60 ridden tests. What does does that mean? Anyone can win a blue ribbon against one or two riders, but it's a lot harder to compete against 20-30 riders. I have no interest in winning WD Classes. I am out to show my improvements from the last show. The better my horsemanship is, the better my score will be. At the end of the day there is a show score sheet that is posted at the show office. Every rider in the show (English/Western) have their scores posted on this sheet. When I say that Carbon received Show High Score, that does not mean his score was limited to Western riders or WD, but he received the highest score out of all the riders and other horses.

Yes, this last weekend we received another Show High Score at Black Star sport horses with a 70.24%. It was not his best score, but it was enough to beat 100% of the English riders one handed in western tack. Even though Carbon made a few mistakes, he was in good form and took home two more blues.   

This leads to another question. "Can Western concepts help create better Dressage horses?" I have met many Dressage trainers that have started out training Western. I have to say that they have some nice moving horses. There are some attitudes that think that Dressage is the only correct way to train a horse. I have heard it said that you cannot do dressage correctly in a western saddle. If that is true, my question is, Why is a western guy that has never taken a dressage lesson, using an adopted PMU quarter horse, riding in western tack "ONE HANDED" consistently getting show high points? What is my secret? Here is my secret. I don't have a secret. Simply put, I have good horsemanship skills and I make practical application to them. I follow practical methods that work. 

I never have claimed to be a Dressage expert. This is my first year riding at Dressage Shows. As of this date: I have ridden in 9 shows, rode 29 tests, won 20 1st places, one 2nd place, shown in 3 different states, and Carbon is always in the top 5 in show high scores. I have done all this with never having formal Dressage training. I have never had a dressage coach. I do not say this to brag, I am simply making a point. I have been keenly watching English riders at the shows. I have some questions for English riders:
  • Are you following a step-by-step linear training program?
  • Can you specifically outline and tell me exactly what that program is and what step you are on?
  • What are your goals?
  • What goals have you met?
  • Do you want to improve your scores?
  • Are your scores in the 50s and 60s?
  • Do you want scores in the 70s?
  • How long have you been at "Training level"?
  • How long have you been at "Intro level"?
  • Are you tired of the same lesson day in and day out without making improvements?
  • Are you tired of not fully understanding what your instructor is asking you to do?
  • Do you make practical application to the training scale?
  • Do you want to improve your communication?
  • Are you where you think you should be?
  • How much money have you spent?
  • How much time have you spent?
  • Why are other riders improving and you are not?
  • How many horses have you bought and sold and you are still in the same spot?
  • Do you want to build a better horse?
  • Do you want to improve your horsemanship?

p5123059 copyI often say, "The proof is in the horse", "The horse never lies", "The truth is in the horse". The scores are the validation of how you train your horse. I did not build Carbon on Dressage concepts only. I have taken a new approach by blending both Western and Dressage concepts in a progressive format to build a confident horse and rider team. Carbon's good scores are mostly influenced by his western training, but with the goal of Dressage movements. I would like to think that I use western concepts to improve Dressage horses as well as Western horses. I bring something new and fresh to the table. I add something to Dressage that many other trainers can't. I am the breath of fresh air to get you over the hump. I am bucking (hehe) the system with Western Dressage. I bring to the table a fresh approach to seemingly stale training methods. I do not just use Dressage concepts to improve western horses, but I use western concepts to enhance Dressage concepts and methods. What do you have to lose except blue ribbons? Let's get you on the road to success by using not just Dressage concepts, but Western too. Do you doubt me? I have the record to prove that I know what I am talking about.

I invite both professional trainers and amateurs to come and join my team and together we will build Western Dressage.

 See you down Center-line, Randy & Carbon...

Fairfield Fall Dressage Show, Denton TX

 It is now the second day of fall, September 23, 2012. In Northern Texas you can feel it in the air. In the late afternoon, it's still in the 90s, but the mornings are worth waking up to. 

I would like to give a big thank you to: Gail Wheat (Carbon's groom), Clare Morrow (producer), Emily Reed (Judge), and Charlene Lynch (show secretary) for putting on a nice show. It was well attended and organized. I would be glad to come back again anytime. The show was held at Diamond "T" arena. These arenas in Texas are amazing. In Washington, most arenas are about 60ft x120ft, but here in Texas I have seen a lot of 200ft x 300ft indoor arenas.  I also want to thank all of the people that came to watch and support us!  I can't believe how fast the word has spread that we are in town and how many people came to see what we are all about. Apparently we are developing a reputation... I hope we didn't let you down.

I would like to reveal an observation that I have witnessed in the last year. First, I would like to qualify my observation.  Carbon and I have now been to 8 shows in two different regions. We have also ridden 27 tests with 8 different USDF judges in that same time frame. I have watched hundreds of tests ridden by other riders both English and Western. Here is my observation. Hands down the western horses are scoring consistently higher and they are happier, braver, and softer then their English counter parts. I am not the only person that has said this. After each show I approach the judge to ask them questions. All 8 judges agreed that the western horses are softer and suppler. 

Yes, you may say that I am a little partial, but I assure you that I have kept an open and impartial view. Even though the western horses are lighter, happier, suppler, (generally speaking) they still lack the connection, roundness, and elevation that the English horses have. Yes, I know that stock horses are built different conformationally speaking, but most of these shows have all breeds not just WB. In fact, I have not seen very many high dollar WB at these shows. Having a stock horse is not a good enough excuse to put them on the forehand and lose the engagement of the hind end.  Yes, I know western riders think they have a horse that is connected, but on the other hand, the English riders also think that their horses are happy. The truth is that we do not see our faults and belittle the other discipline.

DiamondTBowThere is a balance between straightness and forward motion (impulsion) needed to build and elevate a WD horse and softness. We need to eliminate resistance, but keep the horse, happy, light, firm, and soft all at the same time. If you have a horse that has a neck that feels like a spaghetti noodle, you will lose the connection to the feet and create a horse that is (what I call) "rubber necked" The problem is that once you knock all the firmness out of the topline, you cannot create a barrier to drop the croop and push the hind end into and pick up withers as needed.  

This is why Western Dressage is so important to both Western and English. Western training methodology will help teach the English horses to be happier, softer, and braver. Traditional dressage training methods will help build the topline and balance. If we can take the best that each school of thought has to offer, we can truly build the perfect bridle horse.  Of course, I think Carbon's pretty great, but we still have a very exciting journey ahead.   As many of you know we have been through a tough year and we are eternally grateful to all of our great friends and supporters that have stood by us through thick and thin and are still here today. 

Sorry I got off on a tangent.  Carbon and I have been pretty consistent; we won 3 more blue ribbons, a championship, and reserve show high point. The scores were in the high 60s and mid 70s. If you would like to see the test scores, head over to my show record page. We also had a videographer tape the three rides. As soon as the post editing is completed, I will post the rides for your review. Some time in the future I will reveal my secret to our success.

Many Thanks,
Randy and Carbon


High Point at Black Star

Wow, what a hot, muggy day! It was only in the mid 90's, but it felt like 100. I had to change my shirt 3 times. Poor Carbon is shedding again because his Washington summer coat is too hot for Texas.

First, I want to give a big Thank You  to Jackie and Lisa Blackmon for hosting this show at their wonderful, HUGE facility! The indoor arena is so big that you could have two full dressage rings and still have room for a smaller dressage ring at the other end. Black Star is really a top notch, quality facility with all the extras. 

Second, I would like to thank Charlotte Stotts for serving as the Show Secretary. It was a full house with over 40 tests. That was a huge job and the show would not have gone well without a qualified person to keep everything organized. Hats off and keep up the good work!

Third, Barbara Lewis did a great job as Judge. Her comments were on target and very helpful. It is nice to have a judge that can give you kind, positive remarks and still offer lots of suggestions for improvement. 

Carbon was a good boy today, but I would say, that because of the muggy weather; we were not at our best. I am proud of Carbon because he always gives me 100%, but we could have done better. All was good and we were in our typical form in the bridle. Carbon and I received a 71.4286 on USEF basic 1, 72.963 on Primary 2, and 75.1852 on Primary 3. The 75.1852 was enough to squeak out an over all high points that included both English and Western classes. We have been striving to get an overall high point all year, so we are happy we finally squeaked out one. Our next show will be on Sept 23rd in Denton, TX. then back to Black Star on Oct 13th. 
I have to say, I am getting a little bored with the same 6  USEF tests.  I feel it is time to move on with new tests that include more lateral movement. When I started riding these USEF tests, I was teaching myself and Carbon to ride one handed. I think we are past the 20m circles and simple lines one handed. 

It's now time to advance to more challenging tests, one-handed. I took a look at the Cowboy Dressage test by Eitan Beth-Halachamy. I like the turn on the forehand and haunches, but I need something more challenging.  I think I'll start practicing NAWD (North American Western Dressage) tests and see how they ride.  Level 3 Test 1 has some pretty cool leg-yields in it, I think we'll give it a shot. 

Carbon Loves Austin Texas

austin3 I want to give a big thank you to Clare Salmon-Morrow (judge), Erica Culmann (mini show manager), Houston Jones (Carbon's personal groom), Tina Zehnder (president of Central Texas Dressage Society), and Silver Hill Stables, You ladies did a great job putting on the show at Silver Hill in Austin TX. As you may know I am a big supporter of Western Dressage, so when I heard that there would be a show with added western classes,
it did not take much to talk me into going to Austin to support the new sport. AustinBlue

All year I have been wanting to have Carbon bow to salute the judge, but I was not sure how it would be received. I heard that Clare (judge) was a fun person and would not kick me out of the ring if I did it. Well here is the picture (left). Clare was so amused that she snapped a picture and put it on FaceBook. Anyone who knows me realizes that now that I have broken the ice, I will do it again. lol

On a side note, yes that is a helmet on my head. I think it is a good idea to wear a helmet. I need to be a good sport, so I will follow the rules and set a good example.

As always, Carbon was in good form and a good boy. He did his job just so. We picked up 2 more blue ribbons making it 12 total 1st places this year. Our scores were respectable at 71.90% and 76.11%

The next show will be in Rockwall TX at Black Star Equine Center. Come cheer Carbon on.

Finally, Carbon now has his own page on FaceBook. FaceBook with Carbon
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08-13-2008A little fun showing Western Pleasure Arabs.  As you can see by the picture below, I have been spending a lot of time this year with Arabian horses. Although I have been working mainly with Arabs, I still work with other breeds. The summer is...
Written on 09/06/2008, 12:27 by admin
6-9-2008Showmanship vs Horsemanship It is all about getting the most out of us and our horse. Wow! Show season is in full swing for many competitors that like to show off their training and their horse's abilities. There are many roads that lead to.....your...
Written on 10/03/2008, 14:50 by admin
march-10th-2008New Site on the Way!Be sure to check out my new site!
Written on 29/01/2008, 13:20 by admin
january-29th-2008Happy new year! Believe it or not, the days are getting longer and spring is around the corner.Our stallions are waiting for their new girlfriends to show up. I would like to say thank you to JMJ Stables for letting me show their Stallion Hollywood at...
Written on 14/01/2008, 12:00 by admin
11-14-2008The long awaited 13:00 minute promotional video is now complete. Until it is up-loaded to this web site you may view a shorten cut of the full video http://www.lwproductionsllc.com/randybyerdemo.htmThis is not a full version, you may email us for your...
Written on 30/11/2007, 13:25 by admin
november-30th-2007We have made an account with PayPal so you can buy our products online.You can now buy bridles and other training tools as well as pay for a clinic or put a deposit down on a clinic online. We have our own line of products and we are trying to keep the...
Written on 23/10/2007, 13:28 by admin
october-23rd-2007A couple of new things to talk about, we have added a new product line of training aids.You will find that the prices are very reasonable with quality in mind. As time goes by, we will be adding more and more items for sale. Also, we are in the process...
Written on 10/10/2007, 13:31 by admin
october-10-2007What a great Clinic Randy & Josh put on! all the riders took home dream horses. The #1 comment was "I took home a different horse than what I brought". We look forward in bringing Josh back next year. We want to give a special thanks to Mary for...
Written on 17/07/2007, 14:40 by admin
july-17th-2007Randy is now on a 5 week break and returned to Washington by request. The 4-H clinic in Spray Oregon went so well that Randy decided to donate one weekend a month to 4-H starting with July 28th 2007. This clinic will be held at his new facility in Graham...
Written on 06/06/2007, 14:42 by admin
june-06-2007Randy has signed on to do a clinic for a 4-H group in Spray Oregon on June 15th-17th. He has also signed on for private lessons with the 4-H group.
Written on 02/05/2007, 14:47 by admin
may-02-2007We are happy to announce a new partnership with Margaret Robey and Sharon Booth of Goldenrod Performances Horses in Redmond Washington.What makes this partnership so special is that they have entrusted their two horse, U.S. Freedom & U.S. Debutant,...
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