about cowboy dressage

"Cowboy Dressage is the best of both worlds; Traditional Western and Classical Horsemanship... Where partnership is rewarded more than the maneuver"
(Eitan and Debbie Beth-Halachmy).

What is Cowboy Dressage

(Source: Eitan Beth-Halchamy)


"Cowboy Dressage, as the name implies, is a combination of the best of both worlds: Traditional western and classical horsemanship. Each discipline of horsemanship is time-honored and recognized on its own. When you combine the philosophy and practice of each and add music, you create art. Art is what Cowboy Dressage is all about: a medium of self-expression through the freedom of pure horsemanship."

It is so hard to explain what Cowboy Dressage is. It is so many different things to so many different people. Perhaps it is a way of not just combining two distinct disciplines but even more importantly "uniting" them. Good horsemanship, its principles, practices, and teachings do not belong to just one discipline, it belongs to all disciplines, all breeds, all equestrians. Dressage and its development through history is a gift to all equestrians, to be shared by all and to be learned by all. It is not about the saddle, it is about you and your horse. The partnership, the friendship and the commitment. Pure and simple.

Dressage to a horse and rider are like the blueprints to an engineer who must build a bridge. You must know the fundamentals of building in order to create a structure of durability, strength, and ability. Dressage is the hub of the wheel and from there come the spokes which are the understanding of form, movement, and balance.

The "Cowboy" part of Cowboy Dressage..... that is my own personal dream. That lifestyle and its code is where my heart lies. As a kid in the movie theaters, I was swept away by the romance and hardship of it all. And the horses, every day was filled with horses. In those days your lives truly depended on each other. A partnership could mean life or death to one or the other. I have had the pleasure and honor to visit and participate in some real working ranches in Wyoming. That partnership between horse and cowboy is as true today as it was 100 years ago. That truth brought me to this country and it has had a hold on me ever since.

Cowboy Dressage for me is a belief in a lifestyle and a discipline. It is an open door to knowledge and growth on two fronts. There are no rules, there are no judgments, there are no tests. Just you and your horse, your conscience and quests. It is about the partnership and how I arrive at mine with my horse.

"The Dressage is my discipline.... the Cowboy is my freedom."

The courts

“Eitan created the new Cowboy Dressage® Court simply because it made good sense. Most of the short dressage courts of today are built on 8 M and 12 M increments or 6 M and 14 M increments but circles are in 10 M and 20 M increments. Eitan had taken the smaller dressage court (20 M X 40 M) and divided it into equal measurements of 5 M and 10 M. The grid on this new court helps the rider with precision and execution. The smaller court fits the movement and shorter stride of the western horse. Two cones have been added to the short sides of the court allowing for more transitions and maneuvers. (If we have learned anything from our western public it is that they like to do stuff!) You will notice that each cone has a brand to go with the letters. 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 warm welcoming to a western home”. (Eitan and Debbie Beth-Halachmy. Cowboy Dressage®).

  • Click here for a printable Cowboy Dressage® Court.

  • To see how to layout the Cowboy Dressage® Court in more detail see here. 

  • See below for an example of the Cowboy Dressage® Challenge Court.




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