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Western Equitation Question

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  • #21
    Originally posted by sorrelfilly721 View Post
    When I showed, horsemanship meant we had a pattern in the class. Equitation meant we went around on the rail. They were both used for English and Western.
    Ditto. Might be a CA thing, along with romels.
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    • #22
      OH,
      Don't sit on your butt, TUCK your butt. Drop your stirrups, grab the horn and pull yourself as far forward in the saddle as possible, bring your legs back where they belong, and tuck your butt then imagine pushing forward on the lower small of your back.while riding.

      Your saddle may just be too big as it does not look like it has that built up hump in front, like the older eq saddles did. Or, your saddle may be styled so that your stirrups may be hung too far forward,(7/8 vs 3/4) if you cannot physically keep your legs back under you.

      Look at the futurity WP riders - they are not sitting on their butt- they are leaning back, but their seat is tucked forward and underneath them, not draped over the cantle. Sitting forward lets your legs be farther back underneath you so you can engage the horse. Also eliminates leaning forward. Took me years to learn this in a western saddle.

      If you just cannot sit more to the front off the cantle, try posting while envisioning touching the horn with the back of your butt each time. That will fix it.
      Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
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      • #23
        Originally posted by sorrelfilly721 View Post
        When I showed, horsemanship meant we had a pattern in the class. Equitation meant we went around on the rail. They were both used for English and Western.
        Yep, same here. I've never shown in a Western Eq class that had a pattern, or a Western Horsemanship class that didn't have a pattern.

        The terms might have semi-interchangeable definitions, but show ring wise they are two entirely different things.

        OveroHunter, your position isn't that bad in the second photo, but it is clear you are fighting the saddle. Try a size smaller seat, or a different style and I bet you will be able to correct that chair seat no problem . And, whatever you do, TUNE OUT anybody that is telling you to either "sit on your back pockets" or "sit on your butt/crotch".
        It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
        Theodore Roosevelt

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        • #24
          Plumcreek is right about tucking your tailbone/butt rather than sitting on your pockets. I just had that lightbulb moment about a month ago when my trainer was yelling at me to open my knees, relax my seat, and pull my shoulders back. When I whined that it made my back hurt she told me that it was because I wasn't tucking my tailbone. Light bulb! I've been thinking of sitting on my pockets and trying to keep my back straight - made my lower back hollow and my legs move too far forward. That simple change in thought has made a massive difference in how I'm riding and driving my reiner forward.

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          • #25
            I wonder if the horsemanship/western eq may also have to do with the level of the show? The local shows we go to where they host English and Western, there's English Pleasure/English Pleasure EQ. Western Pleasure/WP EQ.

            As for getting nailed by the horn when mounting/dismounting. Sometimes I place my hand over it, that helps. And I learned to try REALLY hard not to lean straight forward when dismounting. Off to the side just a little maybe, or just don't lean. Probably the 'wrong' thing to do on both counts, but it's saved me from getting hung up so it works for me.
            Owned by a Paint/TB and an OTTB.
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            • #26
              Originally posted by SwampYankee View Post
              Try a "barrel racing" saddle. Lots of advantages. They put you "body over stirrups" just like a dressage saddle because they're built for the rider to stand up when racing; and they tend to weigh under 25 lbs. which is a huge help for those of us not built like Aaaahnold. I've actually used mine to school dressage in for that reason.
              Hmmm...I disagree. I barrel race, and if you at any time don't have your arse down in that saddle, with your legs slightly forward especially for turning and stopping, you aren't going to be in the saddle very long

              Barrel saddles do put your leg in the chair position.

              Look for an equitation or pleasure saddle.
              "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

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              • #27
                Think: open hips, and belly button to spine. It helps to tuck your bum, by tilting your pelvis forward, and not clenching your butt cheeks. If your core is not strong, you wont' be able to stay upright without your legs to hold you up (i.e. moving too far forward or back to support your top half).
                "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

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                • Original Poster

                  #28
                  Thanks so much everyone!! Plumcreek, great explanation!! I have really had the wrong idea in my head all along... I have been sitting on my back pockets and wondering how it was physically possible to do that and get my legs back where they need to be.
                  Southern Cross Guest Ranch
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                  • #29
                    it is so ridiculously simple, it is almost embarassing to have struggled so many years before figuring it out that what I know in a hunt seat saddle is the same in a western saddle: your seat in the saddle (your butt) has to be directly over the horse's center of balance. If you sit back on your pockets, then you are behind the center of balance, and must lean forward and push your legs forward to keep the majority of your weight in balance with the horse. We mess up western because we are usually trying to slow and collect (or drive forward in reining), not cruising in two point.

                    When I was instructing, I would teach this seat correction: Stand up with the stirrups directly underneath you, and push your weight into your heels. Now sit by sliding your knees vertically down until your crotch is on the saddle. Roll your shoulders back and tuck your butt, then relax your legs without raising your knee. It is more about the knee position than anything else - if it does not raise, you cannot lose a deep heel or slide back further in the saddle. If you slide back to the cantle, you can quickly do this seat correction, and fix yourself. Once seated, helps to think about pulling your toes up vs pushing down on your heel, which makes many people brace between heel and cantle (your first photo).

                    Funny thing, if you can learn to sit forward in the saddle, vs leaning forward, and keep your legs back on your horse's sides, marvelous things happen with western horses engaging more, raising their back, lowering their necks, and becoming collected and slow. When I start fighting my horse's frame, I fix my position and magically the horse gets better. Once your seat is firmly as above, then you can start learning to do the WP backward lean with legs back and really get into the horses's sides and push them forward into a rounded collection (vs the freaking spur stop). This only works once a horse learns to relax into your calf vs going faster, which is horse training. This is important because horses do not win rail events today with someone pulling on their face to slow them down.
                    Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
                    www.lynnlongplanninganddesign.com

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                    • Original Poster

                      #30
                      Originally posted by Plumcreek View Post
                      Funny thing, if you can learn to sit forward in the saddle, vs leaning forward, and keep your legs back on your horse's sides, marvelous things happen with western horses engaging more, raising their back, lowering their necks, and becoming collected and slow. When I start fighting my horse's frame, I fix my position and magically the horse gets better. Once your seat is firmly as above, then you can start learning to do the WP backward lean with legs back and really get into the horses's sides and push them forward into a rounded collection (vs the freaking spur stop). This only works once a horse learns to relax into your calf vs going faster, which is horse training. This is important because horses do not win rail events today with someone pulling on their face to slow them down.
                      I love this I wish I could ride with you!
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                      An All Inclusive Guest Ranch Vacation - Georgia

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                      • #31
                        Originally posted by ReSomething View Post
                        Ditto. Might be a CA thing, along with romels.
                        Nope. When I did western in the 60s it was Equitation, not Horsemanship. Horsemanship was a halter class. Western Riding was, and I believe still is, the pattern class.

                        That was in Ontario, Canada.

                        Eileen
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                        • #32
                          When I showed, equitation was rail, horsemanship was pattern.

                          In Arabs, I believe it's still called eq and has both a rail and pattern component.
                          Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique

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                          • #33
                            I show Paints and Horsemanship is in a western saddle, with a pattern. Equitation is in an English saddle, with a pattern, but can include rail work, too. The smaller shows don't usually take the time to do rail work, but it's common at the World Show.

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                            • #34
                              Can we just agree that eq vs horsemanship depends on the breed/show?
                              Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique

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                              • #35
                                Originally posted by MyssMyst View Post
                                Can we just agree that eq vs horsemanship depends on the breed/show?
                                I can agree to that, but if the OP is showing in a stock breed (ie AQHA, APHA, ApHC) then she needs to know the proper terminology. If she shows Arabs or Morgans, and its called western equitation - then that is what she should call it.

                                So one thing that gets me regarding the eq vs HMS is this - if the classes with patterns were called horsemanship, then why is it called Equitation over fences? Wouldn't that be considered a pattern class?
                                Only two emotions belong in the saddle: One is a sense of humor. The other is patience.

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #36
                                  OP would be happy to pin at a local show

                                  Our ranch has always shown APHA halter, we even stand a World Champion, but they never got big into WP and I have always rode H/J. I only used that term because I know Horsemanship is a class (as is Equitation), but I was not sure if the term horsemanship referred to the rider's actual position in the saddle as equitation does.
                                  Southern Cross Guest Ranch
                                  An All Inclusive Guest Ranch Vacation - Georgia

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                                  • #37
                                    A few more tips:

                                    Make sure your saddle fenders are properly "twisted." The stirrups should be perpendicular to the horse. If they're not, wet the fenders with hot water until soaked, twist the fenders around once, then place a broom through both stirrups to hold them in place, and let them dry. You may have to do this several times.

                                    You should have weight in the ball of your feet, not just your heel. I trick western judges used to do in horsemanship would be to walk by each rider in the line up and whack the stirrup. You'd be surprised how many riders would lose their stirrup. Another trick is to ride to the inside of your stirrup.

                                    If you've been primarily an english rider, shorten your stirrup a hole. Muscle memory place a part and may help you keep your leg in position. I can't ride in a western saddle anymore with my stirrups as long as I used to.

                                    Ride with a narrower stirrup. This particularly helps shorter-legged riders. Make sure your saddle is not too wide or too big for you.

                                    You ride western with a more open hip/pelvis.

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                                    • #38
                                      I started showing western back in the early 60s. It was called equitation (or medals) in the open shows...horsemanship at the AQHA shows. I don't ever remember the word "equitation" being used at an AQHA show.

                                      Showmanship referred to showing in hand, so to speak - the handler being judged. Halter was also showing in hand, but the horse is being judged.

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