Western-like exercises with English mare; might as well ride her Western, too?
 
 

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Western-like exercises with English mare; might as well ride her Western, too?

This is a discussion on Western-like exercises with English mare; might as well ride her Western, too? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    • 1 Post By Cherie

     
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        06-14-2013, 03:51 PM
      #1
    Foal
    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.
         
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        06-14-2013, 03:59 PM
      #2
    Super Moderator
    First of all, you cannot train a hrose to do long and low in a curb. Not really. The curb is not designed for contact, so any work where you are trying to encourage a horse to move forward INTO the contact ( and carry it downward, as in "long and low"), you need to use a snaffle type bit. Even if the horse were in a double bridle, this kind of work would be done on the snaffle, not the curb bit.

    There is a difference between just allowing the hrose to drop their head low and shuffle forward with their head kind of "hanging", and working long and low.

    The purpose of long and low is to both stretch out the back and neck AND to encourage the horse to push more with the hind legs. Therefore, you must have contact with the hrose's mouth, and you must be asking for MORE push than the horse might give if he were just asked to run around with draping reins and jogging freely.

    Most of the Western type jogging on a loose rein bears little resemblance to long and low, as far as I can see.

    I suggest you look into some videos of what long and low looks like and read some descriptions on how to do it. Or start a thread on just that.
         
        06-14-2013, 04:19 PM
      #3
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tinyliny    
    first of all, you cannot train a hrose to do long and low in a curb. Not really. The curb is not designed for contact, so any work where you are trying to encourage a horse to move forward INTO the contact ( and carry it downward, as in "long and low"), you need to use a snaffle type bit. Even if the horse were in a double bridle, this kind of work would be done on the snaffle, not the curb bit.

    There is a difference between just allowing the hrose to drop their head low and shuffle forward with their head kind of "hanging", and working long and low.

    The purpose of long and low is to both stretch out the back and neck AND to encourage the horse to push more with the hind legs. Therefore, you must have contact with the hrose's mouth, and you must be asking for MORE push than the horse might give if he were just asked to run around with draping reins and jogging freely.

    Most of the Western type jogging on a loose rein bears little resemblance to long and low, as far as I can see.

    I suggest you look into some videos of what long and low looks like and read some descriptions on how to do it. Or start a thread on just that.
    *Facepalm*

    Thanks for explaining that xD It makes so much sense. Good lawd what was I thinking.
         
        06-14-2013, 04:27 PM
      #4
    Super Moderator
    This video is good

         
        06-14-2013, 05:24 PM
      #5
    Trained
    Saddles aren't a problem for switching. Use of reins might be. You MAY be able to use a western curb and still teach riding with contact, but it takes a mental shift for you. And maybe for your horse.

    The weight of the draped reins and how much or how little slack they have, multiplied by the leverage of the bit, form a type of contact. When I rode Mia in a snaffle, she always wanted me to fuss with the reins to let her know I was there and thinking. With a curb, I find I can calm her the same way as we go along by raising my hand, or taking some slack out of the reins and then giving it back.

    However, it seems fairer to the horse to use one style of reins and bit. I swap saddle styles pretty regularly and none of my horses seem to care...but the bit is kind of personal. And with my horses, if I start confusing them, I don't see it right away. It can takes months for the damage to be obvious, and then months of work to recover.
         
        06-14-2013, 06:10 PM
      #6
    Super Moderator
    I have had several horses that showed competitively both Hunt Seat and Western. The key to getting this accomplished is 100% consistency.

    When tacked up Western, keep the horse's stride shortened up and teach the horse to stay 'in frame', jog rather than trot and slow lope on a loose rein. Use a curb bit with heavy reins and ride on a loose rein 'bumping' the horse and pushing forward with your legs and seat rather than using a steady contact to keep the horse collected and staying together.

    When tacked up Hunt Seat, use a snaffle and keep a light contact, ask for a medium posting trot and ask for extension on a contact (working for 'long and low').

    When I was training Youth horses (along with their riders) and I was first trying to go from predominantly E or W to going both ways,I would ride one day (or one session -- AM or PM) one way and ride the next day or session the other way -- always staying completely consistent. They would get so good at going both ways, that when they were tacked up and mounted, it took almost no warm-up to get them into the frame and style they needed to go. They could go from Western Horsemanship classes or a trail class into an Equitation Over Fence class as fast as you could get tack changed. Chaps went over breeches, boots were changed and jackets were changed and they went through the gate.

    Since I did this, Western horses have gotten slower and slower and Hunt Seat horses have gotten bigger and lower headed, so there will not be as many horses that are competitive both ways at a high level, but the principles are still the same; just be consistent when you change bridles and saddles.

    Just keep in mind that Western horses have 'carry themselves' with less contact and Hunt Seat horses must shorten and lengthen stride with a contact. Both require a lot of seat and leg to keep them working well off of their hocks.
         

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