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  1. #1
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    Question Riding Western... is not a matter of ????

    Riding Western... is not a matter of ????



    • buy a western saddle
    • owning a quarter horse
    • changing the bit I ride my horse in
    • not wearing a helmet

    Is it an attidude?

    What's your thoughts?



  2. #2
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    Default

    You get to wear a cowboy hat.
    In a pinch, a ballcap will also do.



  3. #3
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    Contact usually one handed on draped reins vs. contact two handed on reins with some tension? The approach to and mechanics behind contact seem different.
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  4. #4
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    Default

    I'm not sure I really understand your question, but yes, I think there is something about attitude!

    I ride English but my trainer rides Western (team penning is her discipline). I think she has given us the best riding lessons of all the trainers I've worked with. Most of the riding is the same; she's not teaching "english" v. "western"....but about straightness, bending, collection, suppleness....isn't this the same thing you work on in every discipline?

    She rides her western horses in a regular snaffle (with cool conchos instead of D-rings)....but with jeans, boots, and a cowboy hat. But she rides pretty much the same way on my horse in her english tack.

    I'm not ready to forego my helmet for a cowboy hat (or baseball cap), but I could imagine, quite easily, switching over to western disciplines.... I do like to ride in jeans. Now I just need a saddle....and some attitude...I think they might have more fun.



  5. #5
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    Default

    but about straightness, bending, collection, suppleness....isn't this the same thing you work on in every discipline?
    Yes, it is exactly.
    Some of the prettiest dressage I've ever seen was 'live' in front of me, ridden by Buck Brannaman on his bridle horse. Medium trot to collected canter to medium canter, and two tempi changes. You never saw an aid, it was all super subtle, and the horse's tail was completely quiet and the horse had a lovely, happy face as well as lovely, expressive gaits.
    Ray Hunt, Tom Dorrance and the like understood HORSES and how they used their bodies, how to connect with their minds, and how to get a horse to do anything athletic, happily.
    I understand that Ray Hunt would jump 4' oxers in his wade saddle.
    My new book on Tom Dorrance has a few photos of an older Tom doing some cutting in what appears to be a Passier or similar all-purpose english saddle.

    Myself, I've had a couple of rides on a couple of different well-trained, money earning cutting or reining horses. Having dressage experience, but never ridden 'western' performance horses before, I just figured that since a horse had to move his bend and his balance over this way for a halt and rollback, I should probably ask ...right here...and got the stop and rollback, spins and flying changes the same way. Of course the horses were well trained and able, and could interpret what I wanted, but nobody was telling me what to do (like a lesson), and it all worked great.

    You also don't need a Quarter Horse. Ray Hunt said once that his favorite breed was the Thoroughbred (I'll have to look that up later for a reference). I've seen some really, really good bridle horses (light and responsive and in a spade bit), ridden by some outstanding stockmen, that were either Jockey Club TBs or AQHA/appendix AQHA of almost entirely TB blood. And some great Arab stock horses.



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by S1969 View Post
    I'm not sure I really understand your question, but yes, I think there is something about attitude!
    I think those that ride western do.



  7. #7
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    Your end result is the same: a horse that does whatever you ask without pinned ears, wringing its tail and avoidance of everything with certain actions like rearing and bucking. My old barrel horse could and would do everything a friend's dressage horse could do and did that horse one better: he could two tempe and was working on one. He did this in a snaffle with mostly no contact, all done with legs and seat once he figured out where his head should be.
    Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

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  8. #8
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    I'd say there's definitely an attitude and I have recently drunk the koolaide.

    1. Horses that do their jobs without freaking out. They don't need a lie down because an ATV just passed by.

    2. Riders that do their jobs without freaking out. Horse shies -no biggie. They don't need a lie down because there is more than one horse in the ring.

    3. Relaxed, comfortable, fun-loving, ride-for-kicks-and-giggles.

    Yes I know I'm generalizing, but there it is. My English horse and I currently live at a Western/Hunter/Eventing farm with trucks and gators and ATVs and critters, and kids, and dogs, and carts, you name it. The first time I shared a hitching post with 4 other horses in close proximity my eyes were opened.

    Paula
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  9. #9
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    Not sure I completely understand the question either. I have never ridden english but I did make my daughter learn both. We ride off the leg a whole lot more. I rarely use my reins during most rides.

    Western attire is also so much better. I am a cowboy boot addict. Honestly, I would not be caught dead in english attire....it is definitely not for anyone larger than a size 8 although it looks quite glamorous on some women. Western looks just fine on my size 12 body and a western saddle does my bottom end much more justice.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulaedwina View Post
    I'd say there's definitely an attitude and I have recently drunk the koolaide.

    1. Horses that do their jobs without freaking out. They don't need a lie down because an ATV just passed by.

    2. Riders that do their jobs without freaking out. Horse shies -no biggie. They don't need a lie down because there is more than one horse in the ring.

    3. Relaxed, comfortable, fun-loving, ride-for-kicks-and-giggles.

    Yes I know I'm generalizing, but there it is. My English horse and I currently live at a Western/Hunter/Eventing farm with trucks and gators and ATVs and critters, and kids, and dogs, and carts, you name it. The first time I shared a hitching post with 4 other horses in close proximity my eyes were opened.

    Paula

    TOTALLY agree. Being around a decent amount of Dressage people, have a good friend that is big into Dressage, the HUGE difference, is the expectation that your horse will be solid no matter what is going on around it.

    EXPOSURE is key! Want proof, go to a Dressage show, SHHHHH!!! Then go to a Reining or cutting show, wooohoooo. One show is fixated on sheltering the horses, the later is on having fun w/VERY relaxed horses in a somewhat loud environment.

    Western and Dressage are actually fairly close, other than the contact of the horse's mouth. Legs long, bending, etc.

    The enviroments could NOT be more different. I prefer "Western".



  11. #11
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    Hmm, I dont understand the question either.

    As far as expectations, my horses (both hunters, one retired--now western, one hunter show horse) are exposed to fun stuff daily. They live in a 100+ acre field, have flocks of turkeys and groups of deer grazing with them every day. Tractors go directly beside them regularly, as do 4 wheelers, trucks, whatever we need to use.

    We shoot guns (blanks) off our horses. We throw ropes around and off of them. Tarps are flapped around beside them. They walk over our homemade scary bridge.

    I ride hunters (western when I ride the retired guy and feel like just relaxing), and am serious about my training. I dont think it necessarily is a discipline thing, as much as a choice. At a hunter (or western pleasure, halter etc) barn, the horses are probably not exposed to as much as ranch horses. Not a bad thing, as long as they do their job.

    I never cared if my horses could deal with me swinging a rope, shooting a gun or walking over a fake bridge with them. (Because, seriously...this is central VA...when would I EVER need to do that?!) We did it just because it was there. No problemo with any of it. And one of my horses is a high strung, fancy, show bred TB
    Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
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  12. #12
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    I said to someone the other day that I want to be able to shoot a gun off the back of my horse. I ride dressage.

    This is not b/c I ever intend to go shooting on said horse, or b/c I shoot guns on a regular basis. I think a horse should be exposed to & trained to do a lot of things: ride, drive, trails, jump, etc. Now my horse might not excel at all of these things, but she should at least be able to hop over a pole, wear a harness , plow through a stream & stand while I open a gate from her back. They live for 30 years, so use the time to teach them. It is good for their mind, their body good for the horse person &, hey, isn't it cool?

    Growing up, I went to a barn/camp where this was the norm for every horse on the property. It was expected that they could multitask & it was no big deal. All the horses were ridden English, but they all knew how to jump, neck rein, drive, etc. Trainers took 5 gaited horses for a hack through the woods before loading them on the truck to Madison Square Garden (where they won).

    In the 1980s I had a show Morgan that could do anything, including pull logs. I want that again

    I think we should have high expectations of ourselves & our horses.

    Podhajsky galloped his horses through the park in Vienna & over logs.

    "Ray Hunt, Tom Dorrance and the like understood HORSES and how they used their bodies, how to connect with their minds, and how to get a horse to do anything athletic, happily."

    + + + + this!

    As for dressage riders who don't think their horse should not have to deal with ATVs, I would say they need to change their attitude. Aren't these supposed to be military maneuvers?

    So, maybe people who choose to ride western do have a different attitude, one that we should all have. Get out the damn indoor!!!



  13. #13
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    I have a totally out of my ear BS theory as to why this is. I think in recent history (generally speaking) English riding was for recreation and Western riding was for work. So if your English horse needed a lie down you just didn't get to play, but if your Western horse needed a lie down you didn't get work done (revenue, paid, etc). I think this has influenced the traditions of training so that Western trainers have different expectations of their horses than English trainers. I mean, if your horse is your source of revenue he has to do his job right? I think this might also have influenced genetics in that the Western tradition may have less preference for flaky-but-pretty (I'm not talking about current trends, but history).

    Funny, but I started thinking this way when I was introduced to Andalusian stallions that were regularly ridden. They come from a tradition of work so perhaps there is a genetic selection to sane stallions because of this expectation. No room for wacky-but-pretty stallions and their wacky genes?

    JMO of course.
    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).



  14. #14
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    Paula, I think there is a lot to your theory.

    If a horse's job is to help you get something accomplished, rather than to do something for your status/ego, there will be a difference in the horse you prefer to ride. Color, mane, bling trappings, horse shows (like halter, 'western pleasure', show ring hunters) braid jobs, etc really matter if you are trying to win a colored ribbon.

    English riding used to be for the Cavalry, to train effective war horses. Now the ultimate test is no longer going to be, say, an officer's horse proven in a war, but the Olympics (or World Championships, etc.) Not so bad for sports like jumpers, where there is no subjective judgement, or true Foxhunting where your horse has to be mannerly and cover a LOT of country jumping and galloping) but not so good for sports that involve a judge's opinion (dressage or hunters).
    While there are certainly 'Western' disciplines (reining, western pleasure) that are all about what is 'pretty' or in fashion, there still remain
    Western disciplines that are about getting it done, such as rodeo. In a big way, there are also quite a lot of ranches left where it takes a good horse to get the job done, and folks would rather ride a big-headed homely sorrel who helps them get the job done easily than a beautiful palomino who lets the calf get by, making more work (and aggravation) for everyone. And it doesn't help to be out of the money at a roping, if you're riding the prettiest horse there.

    I always thought it was too bad that just about ALL of the the real 'horsey' girls raised on ranches went towards barrel racing/high school rodeo than eventing. There are some REALLY effective seat-of-the-pants horsemen out there on ranches, who could probably be very good event riders.


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  15. #15
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    In my experience, I have seen a LOT of adult re riders get into Dressage. They like the clothes and idea of it. They feel they need the BIG movers, spend a ton of money on THE special horse.

    It is that VERY big movement that is just too much for them. They get over horsed, lose their confidence.

    There are usually several of these ladies and they feed into each other about what would scare their horse.

    Instead of exposing said horse, they isolate it. Ride in arena only, the horse doesnt get exposed or have the benefit of a confident rider, so is spooky.

    I am helping a very timid rider gain her confidence so she can trail ride and get OUT of the arena.

    She is totally English, and her attitude is just amazing. She is constantly looking for things that will spook her horse. Her horse is actually very solid and if she would just relax and be calm, she would have soo much more fun. Instead she used to just worry about EVERYTHING!

    I will say, our last ride, she was awesome! Actually, feel like we are getting somewhere and she is really seeing that she CAN trust her horse.

    When I trail ride, I assume my horse will be good and handle whatever pops out at us. I do pay attention and am in control. I figure bad things can happen, but if I was constantly nervous, my horse will pick up on that. That only increases your chances of bad things.

    Maybe that is the difference...

    A lot of Western riders tend to trust or ride relaxed.

    A lot of English riders tend to constantly worry or have less faith in their horse.

    If you ride English and get your horse out of the arena constantly, GREAT!! Horses need that. EXPOSE your horse to as much stuff as you can find. I go looking for things that might scare my horse. Needless to say, my horse is super solid. I can put anyone on him, and he will take care of them. That said, make him work, and he can be a bit of a handful, so he is not push button for me, but is when needed. The best of both worlds

    I am just talking from my experiences.



  16. #16
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    Default "Hmm, I dont understand the question"

    Many don't... a few do.

    The fact that "english" appears many times in this thread, justs back up that some don't.

    It appears that many want to justify riding "english" when that wasn't the question.



    Like these two... And the pinch may be between you cheek and gum.

    You get to wear a cowboy hat.
    In a pinch, a ballcap will also do.
    I would not be caught dead in english attire....


    For the record I wear a helmet, my personal choice, and I also don't use any tobacco products. But definitel only Wranglers and a pair of Georgia Boots.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7HL View Post
    Many don't... a few do.

    The fact that "english" appears many times in this thread, justs back up that some don't.

    It appears that many want to justify riding "english" when that wasn't the question.
    I think that the issue is the grammar.

    Are we supposed to read it "Riding Western... is not a matter of buy a western saddle??"

    I can appreciate what you are trying to say (I think) but am confused by the thread title. Is riding Western more than just a matter of tack and helmets? Does riding western require a different attitude than riding other disciplines?

    Yes, I think so.



  18. #18
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    Shermy I'm in the same boat as your timid client. I feel like my current barn and trainer saved our lives in a way. For example, I rode this morning -first a bit of warm up in the ring, and then a hack around the farm. We couldn't go far because I had to get back home and get ready for class. However;

    1. In the ring I opened a gate while on horseback.
    2. On the way out to the trail I had to pass between a horse-eating truck that was idling, some horse-eating power line poles, and a giant horse-eating mower. Fella looked at all of them, kind of jiggled a bit, but we went on because it wasn't a big deal for me.
    3. We hacked out by ourselves and he wasn't too thrilled with that, but we went out anyway.

    I can pretty much guarantee you this would not have happened 6 months ago. I would have been feeding his anxiety about the horse-eating equipment and the entire session would have sucked.

    Like you said; my expectations of his behavior had to change.

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shermy View Post
    In my experience, I have seen a LOT of adult re riders get into Dressage. They like the clothes and idea of it.
    I'm getting back into riding after several years off and am considering getting into English riding (dressage... or maybe even jumping). I've ridden Western all my life. Just looking for a change, I guess!

    I used to work at a riding stable (Western) and I did this crazy routine of English Rider vs. Western Rider using a snotty, stuck up voice for the English rider and a lazy, drawled out Redneck accent for the Western rider. Pretty sure I managed to insult both parties thoroughly but people used to get a lot of laughs out of it.

    As a Western rider, here's my take on it: There is a thread currently going on about learning to trail ride and just sending someone out on an old broke horse without any lessons. There are a few posters that are horrified about this and feel that it is a cardinal sin to send someone out on a trail without lessons first. Well.. in the Western world (at least MY Western world) that's simply the way things are done. Lessons are unheard of. Most people really have no idea how to ride properly (myself included). We would go to one show per year, bump around on our horse in the makeshift arena, wave at our parents in the stands as we went by, got a pretty ribbon, and then return our horse to the pasture. Our local show eventually got a different judge and I learned about proper foot position (you mean you don't keep your toes pointed to the sky for safety?) and that I wasn't supposed to tie my reins (but what if I drop one?) or hold onto the horn (WHAT?! No safety handle???). Fast forward a few years and we got a judge that expected us to actually do patterns in Showmanship and flying lead changes in riding classes (LOL, my trail gelding actually surprised me by doing one, when I'd never worked on him with it previously).

    So... here I am, with over 20 years riding experience and I still really have no idea how to ride correctly. I can stay on a horse and get him to go and do where I want, but start talking in terms of "collection" and being "on the bit" my eyes sort of glaze over. In Western (at least in trail), if your horse ambles along on a completely loose rein, that's a good thing.

    As far as helmets: after one concussion (are you aware that when a head meets blacktop, it actually bounces?) and actually cracking a helmet coming off a horse on a trail ride (I'm quite thankful I didn't find out what happens to a head when it hits a large, jagged rock), I ALWAYS wear a helmet, even at shows. My SIL and I were the only adults with helmets on at the show, but that didn't bother us at all.



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by S1969 View Post
    I think that the issue is the grammar.

    Are we supposed to read it "Riding Western... is not a matter of buy a western saddle??"

    ...
    Read it how you wish...

    Won't be the first time my grammar has been challenged and it won't be the last. As well a spelng?!

    First why in a discussion of western, does "english" keep coming up? And I am talking about riding. Maybe it's because many do not understand what "riding western" really means.


    I know this whole forum is something that many did not want. Some however seem to want to discuss english disciplines in a western forum.

    Riding western, is probably more an attitude then anything else. Its definitely not about just buying as saddle.



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