AskHQ: What is ‘Soft Feel’ in Cowboy Dressage®?

Q: What is ‘Soft Feel’ in Cowboy Dressage?

A: ‘Soft Feel’ (or ‘Fresh Rein’) is the guiding principle of Cowboy Dressage® World. It is the wordless, intimate and, for some, spiritual communication between horse and rider.

‘Soft Feel’ is not only sending a message, but having the sensitivity and awareness to feel and receive the message the horse sends back. ‘Soft Feel’ is not throwing or pitching the reins away and allowing the horse to carry himself on the forehand; it is ultimately achieved as the end result of all aids being in proper use, balance, rhythm and partnership.

The timing and use of the Release, Relaxation and Preparation and Execution are the basic fundamentals of ‘Soft Feel’.

Since ‘Soft Feel’ is the mission of Cowboy Dressage® World, it is scored with an emphasis on lightness, harmony, finesse and partnership as a priority. Balance, cadence, carriage, control and performance are additional areas the horse and rider will be judged and scored on during their performance.