Yup, I will be showing western this season, and I really want some critique so I know what to work on. But be nice please, Bear and I are both english trained, so we arent the best at western. As far as I know, this was Bears first ever western ride, and I thought he did pretty good. =]
He seems a bit heavy on his forehand but it could just be that one pic. You might try letting the reins go a little bit. Most western horses (especially in shows) are ridden on loose or even droopy reins.
Just wondering, which picture are you talking about? Yeah, I agree that I need to work on that. We did do a bit of loose rein work at mainly the walk, and he needs work on neck reining, but we will get there! I am going to take him into a green horse class, just two gait, until I feel ready that he is ready to move up to 3 gate green horse. Once he is in the tom=thumb my reins will be looser, as I hate seeing shank bits with tight reins, hehe.
I would recommend relaxing your leg a bit. Your horse is supposed to look like a "pleasure" to ride. The less a judge can see you asking for things, the better.
I know that he's just transitioning but I would try to give him as much rein as possible. Also - no need to switch to a shanked bit just yet. Work him on a loose rein with a snaffle bit. Once he's got the neck reining and light cues down pat, try a shanked bit with even less cueing.
I would really postpone switching bits for as long as possible. I ride my guy in a snaffle on a very loose western-rein and he does just fine. I do, of course, show him in a shanked bit.
Oh trust me, I am putting it off as long as possible! He really does perfer his snaffles, hehe. I am going to do the same thing that you do with your horses, after doing what you advised (I hope that made sense). I perfer snaffles myself, so he will school in that at home after he gets used to the tom-thumb when I move him onto that.
Just wanted to add two things... One, yeah, he is on the forehand pretty bad normally, that is one of the mane things we will be working on once im riding him again. Two, I am so, so in love. =,]
So I should really just drop my reins and work on getting him to drop his head and be lighter. He is pretty lazy, so I normally wear spurs, but I don't want to use western spurs. I am trying to wean him off of spurs, and he is doing a little better, that way if I need them at shows and stuff, it will give him a little extra energy. Does that sound okay?