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o.k. - another stupid question..

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  • o.k. - another stupid question..

    I'd like to learn Western riding, but am a died-in-the-wool English rider.
    What discipline is the best to go to - reining? I don't want to compete, just have a light horse that I can manaeouvre easily and not looking for speed.
    I could find good trainers here. No showing involved.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

  • #2
    What type of stuff do you want to do? For the most part, everything is the same between Western and English except for riding with less contact on the bit if you go with the typical Western curb. If you still want gentle contact, find a nice snaffle bit horse.

    You can find great horses with beautiful handle in just about every discipline. You can also find the pain-in-the-rear ones that have no handle at all.

    I think trail trials are a great way to figure out how your horse handles and also how well you can handle your horse.


    • Original Poster

      I like the expression to have a horse with a beautiful handle. I have one, actually, who goes very lightly, and I have one who is so green he is like riding a 2x4. I just want one who will move off the leg and seat and take me comfortably over all kinds of terrain, with that light contact and neck reining.
      I'd need help.
      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


      • #4
        Maybe look for a good horsemanship horse? The horses that have to do those tight patterns will have a good handle and not go particularly fast. One that is a proven solid trail mount obviously, since you eant a horse good on trails, but our horsemanship horses at school, the really good ones, are fun to ride even for me (and I am very much an English rider). Smooth and turn well off your leg.
        RIP Don - 3/28/2004-8/15/2012


        • #5
          I taught my Paso Fino how to go western and I really love it. I think he does, too. IMHO it wasn't all that difficult, taught him to neck rein and respond to my leg differently from how we do it for showing. Now he does both styles like a pro.
          What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


          • #6
            Trail class horse will take you through many things usually and have a great handle on them. They do seem to move a little better than wp horses also.

            Eta. Even a horse that has done well in extreme cowboy race competitions. Good competitive one has to go through anything on these courses including brush and jumping and need a very easy handle.
            Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


            • #7
              I wouldn't look for a discipline just yet.

              Rather, take Western Lessons from a reputable Instructor/Trainer who can help you and your horse to be the best that you can be "All around".

              Then choose something that may interest you.

              By the way? No such thing as a stupid question....
              MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"

              Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


              • #8
                Originally posted by Foxtrot's View Post
                I like the expression to have a horse with a beautiful handle. I have one, actually, who goes very lightly, and I have one who is so green he is like riding a 2x4. I just want one who will move off the leg and seat and take me comfortably over all kinds of terrain, with that light contact and neck reining.
                I'd need help.
                Okay, odd question then....

                If you already have a horse that rides nicely, why not try him/her out in Western? If your horse is sane no matter what, I don't see why he/she wouldn't take to it.

                Neck reining is super easy to teach if the horse already works well off of leg pressures (or at least, I've been taught to substantiate direct reining with leg pressures to make the transitioning to neck reining easier). In fact, you could do this in your English rig, just let out the bight and ride on the buckle -- apply the outside leg-at-girth pressure first, followed by the outside rein lain against the neck, followed by a reinforcing direct rein on the inside. Eventually you do away with the direct rein reinforcement, but the leg/indirect rein is always there. The rein guides the nose, but your leg determines the "tightness" of the circle.

                I know you said you weren't looking for speed, but I suspect your greenie would loosen up if you set up something like a pole bending course to work him through. Working a horse through a course like that will get them keener to your leg pressures and more flexible throughout the body. Get the flexing solid at a walk then work your way up the gaits. Eventually you can get the flying changes at the canter between the bends.


                • Original Poster

                  My nice mare is a 17. hh warmblood - with extensive dresage training and while she is light to the aids, I need to bring along the 4 y.o. Irish 2x4 horse and rather vizualised myself being carried along with as little effort on my part as possible -
                  He's got the mind and I'd like to learn

                  Might try the bending poles - our kids did games in PPG all these years!
                  Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                  • #10
                    Is Mr. 2x4 in front of your leg, but just lacks flexibility?

                    I agree with Huntertwo about finding a Western trainer. If you normally ride dressage, a Western saddle won't feel too much different to you -- similar long leg balanced position but you might not be able to feel the horse with your seat bones in the same way.

                    Your dressage background might make the transition easier since you're probably already very solid with your seat and legs.


                    • Original Poster

                      Yes, Mr 2x4 is just green and rubber necked at this point.

                      The worst part of my background is that I become clutchy with the hands,
                      although the seat and legs part works quite well. If a young horse gets a bit rattled or 'up', I go for the hands, unfortunately. I do need help.

                      Do I have to use those abs as much in Western - tell me I don't!
                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                      • #12
                        As a dyed in the wool english rider myself, I find that the biggest problem I have when riding western is less contact between the horse and myself. There is just SO much leather and area in a western saddle. I'm far better feeling a horse while riding english.

                        I think barrel racing is VERY fun. I've piddled around the pattern a bit at home, and my retired hunter loves it. Galloping after the last barrel is what he lives for! All I have to do is lean forward and say "go!" and he BOOKS it. We recently did a show where they had games classes, including barrels. Probably 50 horses entered the adult class, and we were probably top 15. It was our first time riding a large (regulation?) barrel pattern, and we got a respectable time of 30.04 seconds. I did it in english tack, as did probably 20 other people. It was the biggest adrenaline rush ever! I highly recommend trying it if you have a responsive, nimble, adjustable, malleable horse. Lots of adjectives, but that is exactly how I would describe my retired guy. I actually decided to take him to show instead of my show horse because I wanted to do game classes! (my 17h TB is fancy, smooth and totally hunter. I think he probably would have had biiiiiig, smooth beautiful loops around the barrels. )

                        Take some western lessons and go from there. I personally think the speed events are super cool. Western pleasure does not appeal to me at all, and I definitely do not feel comfortable using a curb bit at all. I LOVE contact.

                        PS: Don't try to enter a hunter US class immediately after barrel racing....
                        Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
                        White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

                        Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


                        • Original Poster

                          Er, Ali - wht are you trying to do - kill me? I'm in my late 60's and said I did not want speed

                          Been there with the kids in PPG and done my bit when the oldies on their horses have a playday - and indeed fun!

                          I wondered, too, about 'feeling' the horse. My horse can feel my glute twitch, or my pelvis rock a little. Can that go through a large western saddle?

                          Thanks for the discussion, folks, I feel like a twit.

                          I must contact a lady I have known for ages and who I respect who might take me on.
                          Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                          • #14
                            I have been playing around with my WB western. He is BROKE and everything has come SUPER easy to him! He seems to enjoy the lack of contact and bosal/bridle-less riding I do. This horse was a AA hunter and jumper who was schooling 3rd level dressage movements. He's older now and I am kind of looking for a change (I'm burned out!). So far so good!!
                            Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
                            My equine soulmate
                            Mischief Managed (Tully)- JC Priceless Jewel 2002 TB Gelding


                            • #15
                              [QUOTE=Foxtrot's;6516617]Er, Ali - wht are you trying to do - kill me? I'm in my late 60's and said I did not want speed QUOTE]

                              Hah, whoops! Missed that you said that! (I'm teaching kindergarteners these days and have no brain left after 5:00pm...)

                              Personally with saddle "feel", my horses arent quite as responsive as they are in my close contact. They feel EVERY slight movement when I ride english, and react, but western, it's a bit different. My legs still feel a bit "out there" in a western saddle. I definitely cannot get the same feel with leg pressure in a western saddle.

                              Good luck. Cant hurt to try it
                              Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
                              White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

                              Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


                              • #16
                                If you're going to teach a horse to neckrein, that's what the mecate of a bosal is for! Move AWAY from those prickles....

                                Equine Photography in the Northeast


                                • Original Poster

                                  I went on an obstacle course and she really does need to improve her turn in tricky situations - so, again, I resorted to the hands. She's bold land forward, but the neckreining needs to improve. It is what I want to do, tho.
                                  Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                                  • #18
                                    I have always said that once I get done w/ my jumping/eventing phase of life, I am going to get me a super nice QH competition Trail Horse and show Trail. It has all the pattern work that jumping courses does but the horse has to be broke broke broke to work through the upper level ones. I have alway loved this class when I showed Paints before and I can see myself getting back into it later on. Just like to continue Jumping for now. =)
                                    ~ Jus Passed My Zipper aka Spanky, 11yo QH gelding.
                                    ~ Muskogee, 2yo Oldenburg Colt.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      You sound like me - I think this is something I can do as it is graduated from very simple to very advanced if you do it properly. No desire to do the further, faster, higher thing any more.

                                      She is so bold, tho, that if I don't get a nice turn into her she'll just ramp on up the steep slopes, to my peril.
                                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                                      • #20
                                        Most Western disciplines have the same basic foundation. You want the horse to be soft, balanced and responsive and moving off your leg, with a good stop. The physical and mental attributes of the horse will dictate which disciplines it will suit. If you want to keep it basic and low key, trail and judged pleasure trail competitions are fun, inexpensive and don't require an investment in expensive equipment or an expensive horse. If your horse is quick, the speed and games competitions are fun. If you want to specifically compete in pleasure, cutting, reining, or barrel racing; you may need a horse with specific qualities and attributes.
                                        Man plans. God laughs.