Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Canberra, Australia
I guess its hard changing the way a horse carries itself and balances itself and all that but personally I don't think there is a huge difference between English and Western. Its always been my opinion you can do almost anything with any horse regardless of breed (except the draft and other exceptions). I presume you are riding in English tack and such. What I would do is just keeping going. Dressage isn't an insanely complex discipline, it is just the principles of riding, and they are practised and perfected. Its a matter of a horse responding to aids and showing he will work in harmony with the rider. All horses can do that, some can show it better, or have better strides, but the basic stuff any sound horse can do.
Work on contact, flexion, aids and circles, these are not things that really need to be taught for a horse or rider to get. I don't know if there are things like half halts in western, but these concepts are pretty easy to get. If you like your horse there is no reason to get rid of him because he isn't doing what you want now.
Jumping isn't something that needs to be "taught". All horses can jump, some just do it better than others. To be able to jump higher and wider jumps better things such as collection, extension, rythm and balance need to be improved, but these are things all horses can do, not only some.
So what I am saying is I don't think your horse can't do it, I just think he needs some time and work. If he's been ridden western all his life he can't just become and english horse straight away. If you feel that your instructor is not addressing your needs get another one, its not to do with how nice an instructor is or how good they are, its got to do with the way you learn, and the way they teach.
As for leasing your horse out or lending it to people, I can understand why people do it, but I would never do it myself. It takes a while to get a good solid relationship with a horse, to where you know when they are going to move and how, and if you put your leg in a certain spot what will happen, and it takes a while for a horse to know you, so letting other people ride your horse is like ruining all that work.
If I have a horse that I want to ride and compete on I do not let anyone else ride it. And I don't know why other people do either. No two riders ride the same, and that can confuse the horse.
Anyway my advice would be to stick in there, do what you feel is right. But if you feel that this horse isn't right, then move him on, get one that you enjoy and want.