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  1. #1
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    Mar. 14, 2010
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    Default How to engage the hind end riding western

    And forgive me for being stupid. My SO rides western and I'm still learning. He has trouble getting either of his horses heads down, and definitely never has them engaged. I rode one the other day and doing it the "english" way, I had him engaging his hind end etc. To do this, I had him working from back to front, using leg into my hand.


    How is this accomplished in the western world? SO Doesnt seem to have much luck with what he's doing, but he doesn't want to have a lot of contact with their mouths.
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  2. #2
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    Western should be more leg and less hand. My trainer does want some contact but not as much as in dressage. Keep doing what you are doing and the horse should start to get it.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 3, 2012
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    It depends on the horse to a certain degree. Those 'built' to be western will take to it much more easily.

    If the angle of the shoulder is too steep it will be hard to get the head down. If the horse is to straight behind, it will be hard to engage.

    I would look at confirmation first. Then any possible pain issues.



  4. #4
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    It's much easier for a horse that doesnt have the correct muscling to plod around on the forehand at any confo. Ant horse can engage and round doesn't matter the confo just some it's much harder for them than others. If you engage the horse correctly his head will eventually go for the contact wherever it maybe because you are pushing them into it. Really it's going to take what you are doing. Pushing the horse up and out and not worrying about the head right now. Just like dressage we have more contact but proper training the contact comes later not forcing it until the horse is thru and using himself then the contact will come. My guy is a dressage horse but really is a stocky paint. I can ride him now in full contact or give him almost full rein holding a little and he will follow and keep it. Only thing is you want to engage for western but not push to forward since they are going to be jogging and not trotting. Teach him to use his leg and seat to pick the horse up and push his hind end under him and let the head come later
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  5. #5
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    Default

    Also learning a correct half halt to use when you get the muscling he needs helps with them finding and holding the contact
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole



  6. #6
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    Jan. 4, 2007
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    TX
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    Default

    That question is too involved to answer.
    Best you go take some lessons from a good trainer to help you understand all that goes into how a horse moves, why and how to ride.

    If you look on youtube, so many riding in the videos there also don't have a clue.

    Getting a horse moving efficiently for what you are doing, that is well balanced under the rider, is a technical skill that is easy to understand, once you have someone show you.
    Many ride for years without any clue, making it hard on their horses and themselves.
    Do find someone to teach you.



  7. #7
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    Oct. 11, 2002
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    Colorado
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AliCat518 View Post
    ...... I rode one the other day and doing it the "english" way, I had him engaging his hind end etc. To do this, I had him working from back to front, using leg into my hand.


    How is this accomplished in the western world? SO Doesnt seem to have much luck with what he's doing, but he doesn't want to have a lot of contact with their mouths.
    Same way you did it. Western horses have to learn to be comfortable relaxing into your leg just like english horses. Many are never educated to leg, just go from spur touch. This is not "sensitive", it is uneducated. If you can envision sucking the horse's withers upward and into your lap while riding, most horses will naturally lower their heads as a result of their engaged hind legs and raised front end (the arch principle), no need to have a lot of contact with their mouths.

    I teach this to a horse by using leg the same as you did, but raising my rein hand high in a gag action until they follow my hand up with their neck and shoulders, face vertical or tucked slightly. The second I feel their withers come up, followed by them wanting to lower their head, I release. They eventually get it and will rebalance themselves leg to hand through my leg, reversing my hips slightly, and minimal rein touches, no pulling. (One great trainer wrote that he could accomplish this invisibly in a western pleasure class by just sliding the rein a few inches upward alongside their neck. He won a lot, and his horses flowed.) ***This technique became a fad years ago when people tried to copy good trainers that did this, without understanding the principle, and a lot of people rode around with their hands constantly up high in the air, to some ridicule. It does work, however, same as an elevator bit. If you do it right, the high hands are a very short term training tool, or quick correction (more than 30 seconds, something is wrong). I tend to use two reins, with a Tom Thumb or Argentine snaffle when starting to ask this, as a horse needs to be pretty soft to follow my hand up in a plain snaffle.

    If you concentrate on rear engagement and keeping the shoulders up, the lower head/neck will take care of itself. (Assuming at least average good conformation). Riding back to front is for western also.
    Last edited by Plumcreek; Jul. 14, 2012 at 01:00 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Jul. 3, 2012
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    Agree with the above. Didn't mean to suggest it couldn't be done or a specific conformation was needed. Just suggesting that evaluating the conformation will give you an idea of where to start and just how much can be accomplished.

    Sorry if I sounded like a debbie downer.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
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    How is your SO's seat? A horse will hollow its back in reaction to someone bouncing in the saddle, and the head will go up as a result.



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