The philosophy behind the Western Rider Development Programme
The Western Rider Development Programme (WRDP) was created by WES members Judith Hubbard and Judy Jones to offer:
a structured approach to the training of the western horse;
a framework within which to assess the current level of performance; and
a means of obtaining recognition for achievement.
For a variety of reasons, many western riders in the UK find it difficult to get access to consistent, high-quality western instruction. Maybe they live in a remote area, or don't have transport for their horse, or just can't find a trainer who'll travel to their facility. That's why we decided to create this website as the "Home of the WRDP", to offer an online training facility so that anyone, anywhere can still get the support and education they need.
But even if you already attend clinics and/or have lessons with a qualified western instructor, you can still use the programme to provide additional structure to your schooling. And if you don't want to compete at western shows, the WRDP means you'll still get recognition for your achievements. Every time you pass an assessment you'll receive an official WES/WRDP certificate and a mention in the National WES News magazine.
There are many roads to Rome!
The training hints and tips on the website are intended as guidelines to help you with your schooling. But it's important to recognise that there are many ‘Roads to Rome’. We're not claiming that we're setting out the definitive way to train a horse. What we are saying, however, is that all the exercises and techniques we refer to in the 'How To' guides are tried and tested. Applied correctly they've produced great results with horses and ponies of all ages and breeds, and from all training backgrounds. In a nut-shell they're simple, easy to learn and they work!
The WRDP syllabus
The syllabus is designed to build progressively on solid foundations. We recognise that the majority of riders come to western from an English background and will often set about converting their riding horse from another discipline. No matter what your background the seven levels will help you to school your horse from the initial stages of groundwork, through to being a fully trained western horse. Along the way we hope you'll have a lot of fun and will build a great partnership with your horse or pony, to be enjoyed for many years!