Western Dressage: What is the judge looking for?

I attended the Western Dressage Judges seminar…and I don’t intend to become a judge.

Why did I go?

I went because I had one question: What are the judges looking for in western dressage?

I had done some online research. I had shown at a few shows. But I wanted to know first hand what the judges were looking for.

It may seem a little extreme to some but I plan on showing a lot this year and I knew that a true understanding of what the judges were trained to look at would be extremely helpful when I was showing. PLUS I get to share what I learned with you! I call that a win-win-win.

In this video, I recap my three days at the seminar…with a three-minute timer running.

This is the second video in my YouTube series: The Trail to the World Show, where I am documenting my journey with Willow and Gabby. My goal is to show at the Western Dressage World show in October and learn a lot of thing along the way.

Thanks for joining me. Let’s learn!

A written recap of what’s in the video.

  • the importance of knowing the rules so you are not penalized
  • terms, words and phrasing
  • understanding the number system for movements
  • true gaits: walk, jog, lope
  • paces inside gait: free, working, lengthened, collected (free jog, working jog, etc)
  • understanding tempo
  • understanding impulsion
  • movements are judged beginning, middle and end
  • comments are to help the rider improve
  • know more to do better judging
  • look up the rules for wherever you show



  1. Martina Brown on April 27, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    Just watched. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Loved the ending. You can be so silly–LOVE IT!!!

  2. Camilla Grassi on April 23, 2019 at 7:26 am

    The intro was gangsta “whassup with that?!?!” 😀
    Thank you for sharing, interesting as always.

    • Stacy Westfall on April 23, 2019 at 2:45 pm

      Ha! I guess shaking the camera later on fit the bill too:)

  3. Karen L Murphy on April 20, 2019 at 7:36 am

    GRAND video!!! Love the outtakes at the end!! Looking forward to the future, THANKS for allowing us to be part of your world. Keep it hoof side down! Karen

    • Stacy Westfall on April 20, 2019 at 10:09 am

      LOL! Glad you enjoyed the outtakes…I had fun finding a purpose for them:)
      Thanks for joining me!

  4. Charlene Stenner on April 19, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    Any thought given to Cowboy Dressage?

    • Stacy Westfall on April 20, 2019 at 10:09 am

      If there was any near me I would give it a try!

  5. Lisa Rindfuss on April 19, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    This was an absolute delight to watch! Sharing your journey is an inspiration.
    Thanks Stacy!

    • Stacy Westfall on April 20, 2019 at 10:12 am

      You’re welcome! You have seen all my ‘quirks’ live-and-in-person when you are here….now I’m posting them for the world to see.
      I’ll have to do a video where I’m skipping around the riding arena explaining how horses use their bodies, LOL!

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