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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2006
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    South Carolina
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    Default Spinoff - can western horses be ridden english?

    My little paint pony is coming sound again, tGiH, but I'm bringing him back into work sllloooowwly. In the meantime, friends have offered to lend me their horses so I can go on trail rides with them. Nice girls.

    But here's the thing: I ride hunt seat. Have a phobia about western saddles. Besides which, I can't lift one onto anything taller than a mini. However, almost all my friends ride western. At least, all my friends who are willing to loan me a horse to ride for the afternoon ride western.

    If I plop my Duett Rondo on a horse's back who's been ridden western for the past ten years, and stick a hunter dee in his mouth and take up a contact - will he think
    a) Oh, I remember this. I was trained as a youngster to direct rein and move off leg pressure, before we started all this neck-reining and no-contact-with-my-mouth stuff; or
    b) Great googlie-mooglies! This ain't right. I'm unloading her first chance I get!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2008
    Location
    Zone II, NJ
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    240

    Default

    I've known a lot of horses that were western turned english and they were all fine with it. A lot of lesson horses I used to ride were western with an english saddle on their back. Just take it slow
    But its no use going back to yesterday because I was a different person then

    -alice in wonderland



  3. #3
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    Jun. 29, 2008
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    San Diego
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    The saddle might not matter, but remember, less contact on the mouth is better, even with a snaffle. You could always just ride in your saddle with their bridle- I do this with my all around horse if I don't want to lug out the western saddle. She looks a little mis-matched tack wise in a c.c. saddle with a western headstall and curb on, but it works for schooling just fine. Since you're only trail riding, it might work well.
    Proudly Owned By Sierra, 2003 APHA Mare
    In Loving Memory of Tally, April 15, 1983 - June 2, 2010



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 2, 2007
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    I wouldn't hesitate to put an english saddle on the horse as long as it fit. I worked at a dude ranch for a summer and we were fine with people who wanted to ride in their english saddle. Easier on the horse. However, I would ride the horse in the bridle he is accustomed to wearing, and ride his front end the way he's used to being ridden (ie no contact, loose rein). YOU don't need to have contact with his mouth to go on a trail ride, right? Unless, of course, the owner specifically ASKS you to school their horse english. DON'T offer.



  5. #5
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    Jul. 21, 2006
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by InstigatorKate View Post
    YOU don't need to have contact with his mouth to go on a trail ride, right? Unless, of course, the owner specifically ASKS you to school their horse english. DON'T offer.
    I guess it can't be that hard to figure out how to neck-rein? As long as I can steer without contact, no, I don't need it.

    I certainly would never offer to school anyone else's horse. Incredibly bad manners.



  6. #6
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    Feb. 23, 2008
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    Default

    you can steer with no contact, even in your english bridle. partly by just thinking about where you want to go, (seat and legs!) and also by picking up the right rein to turn right or the left rein to turn left. i.e. you can do direct reining on no contact, too. Many well trained english horses can be steered on a loose rein, such as when you are cooling out on the buckle after a workout etc. same general idea.



  7. #7
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    May. 10, 2009
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    NC piedmont
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    My horse was a working ranch horse for his first career, and he has been very successful in English pleasure, HUS, and dressage suitability. He's going to his first dressage show in a few weeks, so it can be done. Teaching him to accept contact has been the hardest-and for someone else's Western trained horse, I wouldn't try, just ride on a loose rein.

    Neck reining is easy-just lay the reins over his neck in the direction you want to go-hand to the left to turn left, so right rein is on his neck and vice versa.

    OTOH-why not try Western? I have actually found that riding Western on occassion has improved my dressage. I enjoy riding different disciplines to understand what riders do-it can't hurt to be as versatile as possible.



  8. #8
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    Jul. 21, 2006
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    South Carolina
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryisBlaisin' View Post
    OTOH-why not try Western? .
    Oh, I've tried it. Many, many times. It's difficult to find a school here that teaches anything else.



  9. #9
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    Jul. 21, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by twofatponies View Post
    Many well trained english horses can be steered on a loose rein, such as when you are cooling out on the buckle after a workout etc. same general idea.
    Very true. Hadn't thought of it that way. But when I cool out on the buckle I'm not riding at speed. The girls I trail ride with fly.



  10. #10
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    May. 31, 2007
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    Aiken, SC
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    You will have a hand free to grab whatever makes you feel safe. You could pick up a Wintec western saddle and have a saddle horn to grab without the weight of lifting 60lbs of leather. Doing NOTHING is the hardest thing to learn to do, but it improves all your horse activities to be bale to just let your hands hang.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 2008
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    Default

    Exactly!

    Thus the saddle horn.



  12. #12
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    Mar. 13, 2006
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    My mustang, Zephyr, is not only a great little eventer and dressage pony (we won our first time out this year!) but a very good western trail horse. On the trail with a western saddle I give her a long rein and neck rein but in the arena under an english saddle, it's on a contact. Most horses can easily switch back and forth from one discipline to another.
    Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert



  13. #13
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    Jun. 7, 2004
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    Pittsburgh,Pennsylvaina
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    my mare was trained western then when we got her she was transformed into a hunter.



  14. #14
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    Oct. 1, 2005
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    Sandy, Utah
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    Absolutely. My western pleasure horse got shipped to Virginia my junior year in college and I said voila, you are now a hunter. Actually, he wasn't a good enough mover to be a show hunter, but he foxhunted for 20 years.

    A few years ago I took my English saddle and threw it on a ranch horse I was renting for hunting in Montana. He was a bit quizzical for a few minutes, but he was a foxhunter for three days in a row and thought nothing of it. Mind you- I had enough sense to ride him like a ranch horse, not like a dressage horse.

    I start mine western, and then introduce English after they've got a year or two under their belts.



  15. #15
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    May. 12, 2008
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    Someone I once worked with was part of a quarter horse breeding farm. She helped train and show the horses. She was bored at a show one day and decided to take her championship western pleasure horse in a English flat class. This biggest problem she had was when asking for a more forward, English trot, the horse loped instead....

    Other than that, I have ridden a lot of horses both Western and English. When Western horses are young, they direct rein first, so they do know how to direct rein. They are not used to as much contact and may stop or slow down the first few times you pick up some contact. Posting, leg and asking for a bigger trot and working on a more forward canter may take some work, but the seat aids in both English and Western are the same. Western horses are not going to have a heart attack when they feel your lower leg on their side for the first time, either. They tend to get used to that pretty quickly.



  16. #16
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    Jul. 21, 2006
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    South Carolina
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beverley View Post
    A few years ago I took my English saddle and threw it on a ranch horse I was renting for hunting in Montana. He was a bit quizzical for a few minutes, but he was a foxhunter for three days in a row and thought nothing of it. Mind you- I had enough sense to ride him like a ranch horse, not like a dressage horse.
    So do you suppose if I ride with a very light contact and keep my hands still, I should be ok?



  17. #17
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    Oct. 10, 2007
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    If the horse is neck reined just neck rein it. Even if your moving the horse should listen just fine and besides its going to follow the horses in front of you anyways. To go right touch the left side of its neck to go left touch the right side. If you really want to direct rein then don't use contact and don't be on the buckle either. Just pick up on the rein when you need to turn. I'd try the horse first at direct reining when you start out at the walk and see how he responds and then try neck reining and go with what he does best at.
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole



  18. #18
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    Oct. 1, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' View Post
    So do you suppose if I ride with a very light contact and keep my hands still, I should be ok?

    I expect so. You might have some brain rust but I expect within a few minutes of your gently communicating which buttons you are pushing, it'll come back to him!

    The qh I bought at 12 for hunting had, I knew, done both western showing and 2nd level dressage in his distant past- when I bought him, he was serving as a 'husband horse' for an Arabian breeder. I hunted him and when I moved to Utah, one fine day, just threw the western saddle on to see what would happen. His little thought balloon said -oh, western saddle, okay, trot and lope slow, off contact, head down. Just like riding a bicyle.



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