Talk to me about switching styles... - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 19 Old 10-19-2012, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MHFoundation Quarters View Post
Since you aren't a speed demon maybe show trail? It takes a lot of work, precision body control & rider finesse (might appeal to your dressage side?) and is a lot of fun when you get good at it. It offers a lot for a horse to "work" at, sounds like he is eager to please, might be a fit for him. Any pics of your guy to share with us?
I think that's a great idea! What I also would like to look into is something like a cowboy challenge of sorts. I think that is a great basis for pretty much everything and a horse can never be bomb proof enough (to put this into perspective, my boy is rather spooky at the moment).

I've read in other threads that horses can be too tall for certain disciplines and am kinda pondering on that. I mean, obviously, there is advantages and disadvantages, but i think every horse can be a good barrel racer, Western pleasure mount etc. Or not?
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post #12 of 19 Old 10-19-2012, 03:36 PM
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Ask your trainer for homework to do in between lessons.
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post #13 of 19 Old 10-19-2012, 03:59 PM
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Is there a possiblity that your english saddle doesn't fit him properly? It just seems like if he's not particularly forward in the english tack, he may be uncomfortable. Just throwing a different type of tack on him, in my opinion should not have changed his attitude that much, particularly if you're riding is the same and/or you're not asking for drastically different action from him.
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post #14 of 19 Old 10-19-2012, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kenda View Post
Is there a possiblity that your english saddle doesn't fit him properly? It just seems like if he's not particularly forward in the english tack, he may be uncomfortable. Just throwing a different type of tack on him, in my opinion should not have changed his attitude that much, particularly if you're riding is the same and/or you're not asking for drastically different action from him.

The saddle that's on him in the pic has already been replaced by a saddle that's been fitted by a saddler and fits him 100%. And it wasn't that he wasn't moving forward, it was more than he just "gave in" instead of really enjoying what he's doing. It wasn't a partnership, it was me asking and him doing. Do I make sense?

He's totally different in Western, attentive and participates more actively in whatever we do. It's almost like he woke up =)
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post #15 of 19 Old 10-19-2012, 04:21 PM
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I can understand (althought the saddle fit issue was on my mind, too). Mac is much happier western. He can do dressage so-so, but the contact, he hates.
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post #16 of 19 Old 10-19-2012, 04:35 PM
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I switched because of my horse, too. OTTB, not happy at all doing English. I had a great instructor with background in Eventing so she understood my problems. Boy did I feel like an idiot the first lesson........didn't know where left and right were at the end. And severe lack of balance, without the contact to the bit. But it got only better

I did like trail, so did horse, and nowadays I'd go for cowboy dressage or extreme cowboy race (horrible name), if I'd compete.
I would talk to the trainer if he/she can think of any books/DVD's you could get to stay on track in-between lessons and to learn faster.
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post #17 of 19 Old 10-20-2012, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by MapleAir View Post
I think that's a great idea! What I also would like to look into is something like a cowboy challenge of sorts. I think that is a great basis for pretty much everything and a horse can never be bomb proof enough (to put this into perspective, my boy is rather spooky at the moment).

I've read in other threads that horses can be too tall for certain disciplines and am kinda pondering on that. I mean, obviously, there is advantages and disadvantages, but i think every horse can be a good barrel racer, Western pleasure mount etc. Or not?
The training for trail or cowboy challenges would require him to learn to accept a lot of new things, could be really great for him desensitization wise.

There is merit to the too tall or short part. You don't want a 16.3 cutting horse for example (there are exceptions though in every sport) nor will you often see a 14 hander showing WP. It's not that they can't do it, just that they aren't ideal and at the higher levels if they aren't the ideal you won't get looked at most likely. For me that never stopped me from trying to do everything with mine. My old lady Jana is a great example, she's just at 15hh, formally a reiner but I did it all with her, WP, HUS, Jumping, Barrels/Poles/Flags, Show trail, western riding, showmanship with her was really fun - I loved when we got a pattern with more than a 360 pivot, the ol' reining horse can spin herself silly, I could run and turn with her. Same thing with my old man Hondo - sadly the all-arounder is not as common these days but we did it all with him too, he has AQHA points (and other titles) in 8 different events.

Depending on what level you are wanting to compete at, why not try a bit of everything and see what fits? Perhaps find a local play day show and just try it all for fun. One of our local 4-H clubs has a few 'practice' shows each year as a club fundraiser, no payback just ribbons, everyone wears jeans & t-shirts and uses their training saddles, ride all day for $20 - so everyone close, kid, amateur or pro alike all go to school. It's nice to just spend a little money and have some fun, chance to see how youngsters handle the show pressures on a less stressful level and a good opportunity to find where strengths & weaknesses lie.

Life is like a camera. Focus on what's important, Capture the good times, Develop from the negatives and if things don't work out, Take another shot.
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post #18 of 19 Old 10-20-2012, 10:31 PM
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I rode english for 15 years. I had experience in hunters, jumpers, and dressage. I had bought my first horse back in 2001. For 10 years we rode exclusively english. My mare was a hard worker and tried to please, but she didn't excel. It was difficult for her to move her body the way I was asking her. And trails were an impossibility. She was a bundle of nerves and would aggressively spook at the smallest of things.
I moved her to a barn where the owners and majority of the boarders were western. Although I was stubborn to change at first, I finally bought a western saddle and tried a hackamore. I had a completely different mare. Suddenly I was working with her and the way her body is built rather than against it. She would pick up things much quicker (neck reinning took minutes and it took less then a session to learn to stop from a lope) and took all challenges with a more positive attitude. She loved chasing and herding the cows and was calm when going through rope training. Oddly enough, trails suddenly became fun. When I rode her english, trails were not fun for either of us. However, when riding western, trails we could go out in a group or even by ourselves for hours.

Although I cannot say with conviction that it was the change of discipline that affected her attitude (we also moved barns as well, as she did become more mature), I would understand why she would be happier. Trudi is thick and built like a foundation qh, whereas I was riding her like she was a warmblood. My expectations were far too high. Riding her like the type of horse she was made both of us happier.

For me, although the change was initiated by peer pressure (lol), it was one of the best decisions I made. I was surrounded by people who were more then willing to help me. Because I was able to meet so many people, I have been able to try a variety of different styles; from roping, games, extreme cowboy, to western pleasure and even quarter horse racing.

If your horse is happier under western tack, do it. You will be happier too :)
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post #19 of 19 Old 10-22-2012, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for everyone's help! I appreciate your input!

I have ridden my boy in Western tack twice this weekend, once to fit a saddle (I had 4 at the farm to try out and different pads, it took forever =) ) and once I did actually ride him properly. I tried a bit of neck reining and he seems to be picking it up ok, direct reins still required to help him out but we're working on it. My trainer's small kid got sick on Saturday when the lesson was planned but she watched me yesterday while working with her filly to be started. She supervised the saddle fitting as well and over all, it was a good weekend.

I watched a few videos on the cowboy challenges etc and I'm pretty sure that's something I'd like to try. Especially since my boy is a spook-bug still but very brave when I'm not in the saddle so I assume he's spooky because he doesn't trust me to be a good leader 100% yet. But mind you, we've only been a team for 2 months yet. He's a happier horse for sure and more spirited and that tells me I'm on the right track.
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