Western-like exercises with English mare; might as well ride her Western, too?
Anybody have experience dual-training horses? I mean, riding a horse for both Western and English in respective tack? My mare was originally bred and brought up Western, for barrel racing, but through change of ownership in the economy went into stadium jumping and English equitation (eventually Eventing with me). We've been dealing with stiffness in her hind end; bone spavins and back spasms, and she's tremendously better, especially since having an excellent chiropractor out recently and changing up the professionals I use. The chiropractor checked and adjusted her out, nothing major, and gave a load of good instruction. I've been putting her over cross rails and drifting away from the collected work she's been annoyed with, still trying long and low though the girl has to constantly be cued every few seconds, and more sprinting. She looks magnificent since the grass came in, too, if any of you remember what she looked like a few months ago!
Anyway, the chiro says to focus on the cross rails, the long and low, and do miles of jogging. I'm thinking, if I'm going to be having her do the western pleasure sort of work of stretching out and jogging for increasing periods of time for a long distance, I might as well start using a headstall and neck reining, maybe get a Western saddle later? I like to throw in variety for her to keep us from being bored, she can neck rein in a double-jointed loose ring snaffle with me holding the reins at the buckle with one hand, it's not as quick and responsive as the Western horses I've ridden. I get the feeling I'm confusing her, though, as I try training her to reach into contact. So, I would think it should be easier/less confusing to put a mild curb bit on her and hold the reins in that style for the Western exercises? Or really, it would be nice to be able to ride her in both Western pleasure/trail classes and English classes. She's a good trail horse, but the local area requires riders to go in Western tack and neck rein. I've always ridden English primarily, but I'm not much of a stranger to Western pleasure and trail.
Also... I don't think she knows how to jog proper now. Her gaits are extended and more like a warmblood's than a paint's. Correct me if I'm wrong, I think if I sit with my butt glued and deeply use my seat, she should shorten her steps and go along slower and smoother eventually on cue.