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Arksly 01-24-2011 10:52 PM

Questions About Western Riding
 
Let me begin with the fact that I know nothing of western riding. I've ridden a few western horses and even have a western saddle and use it for trail riding but I don't really know much about that part of the equestrian discipline. I just have a few questions for all of the western riders here.

1. Why are the majority of western horses in shank bits? Why can't you just use a snaffle? From my understanding, most western horses are started with either a rope halter or snaffle.
2. When people say that they ride in a rope halter do they mean a bosal/hackamore or a plain rope halter? If it is a plain rope halter, how do you attach the reins? Do you just tie the leadrope?
3. What do you strive for in your riding? I know, that as a dressage rider, I strive for an even gate with impulsion and a even contact on the reins.
4. Why do they tend to start horses earlier? I went to a AQHA sale and all of the horses that sold for any decent money were two to three years old and could neckrein, walk, jog, lope and one man even took the bridle off of his horse (a two year old mare, she was a sweetheart) and steered her by placing his hand on each side of her neck. Of course, I'm more used to horses being started at three the earliest.

Thank you in advanced for your answers.

tinyliny 01-24-2011 11:04 PM

I am not sure why they start their horses so early. I think that may be a strange remnant from the days out west when horses were many, and cheap. Go through one, get another. Also, Quarter horses may mature sooner than some other breeds. Breeds like Lusitanos aren't even started under saddle until at least 4!

That's a guess, really, and since I am not a trained western rider, I think I shall stop here and let a more knowleadgable person make a better explanation.

Poseidon 01-24-2011 11:15 PM

Smrobs needs to be summoned here.

For the rope halter part: It usually is just a rope halter. I have one that Abby's previous owner rode her in that had loops on the side knots for reins to attach. Otherwise there is a knot you can do to put the leadrope through the lope underneath. I've only seen it after people are done tying it, so I'm not sure how.

It looks like this.
http://www.naturalhorseworld.com/Pro...tHackamore.jpg

corinowalk 01-24-2011 11:22 PM

My answers in bold
1. Why are the majority of western horses in shank bits? Why can't you just use a snaffle? From my understanding, most western horses are started with either a rope halter or snaffle.

Because a snaffle is designed to be ridden on contact. A shanked bit is to be ridden on a loose rein.
2. When people say that they ride in a rope halter do they mean a bosal/hackamore or a plain rope halter? If it is a plain rope halter, how do you attach the reins? Do you just tie the leadrope?
I know people english and western that do the first few rides in something like a sidepull or just a plain old rope halter. If I ride in a halter, I use my swivel snap reins and just attach to the halter.
3. What do you strive for in your riding? I know, that as a dressage rider, I strive for an even gate with impulsion and a even contact on the reins.
I strive for a soft, comfortable gait that covers ground all done on a loose rein. I also like to have a nice, responsive horse that can collect and extend.
4. Why do they tend to start horses earlier? I went to a AQHA sale and all of the horses that sold for any decent money were two to three years old and could neckrein, walk, jog, lope and one man even took the bridle off of his horse (a two year old mare, she was a sweetheart) and steered her by placing his hand on each side of her neck. Of course, I'm more used to horses being started at three the earliest

I think the trend of starting horses early comes directly from the fact that a lot of western horses have an actual job on a ranch. Time is money and waiting til a horse is 4 years old is wasting a good chunk of both. As a pleasure/trail rider, I wouldn't start a horse til long 2, early 3. No hard work til 4

Arksly 01-24-2011 11:28 PM

Hmmm. Thank you for your answers.
I've noticed with most Warmbloods they don't start them under saddle until they are four.
As for the rope halter thing, it has brought up another question.

Why use a rope halter? Why not use a bosal/hackamore? Couldn't riding in a halter cause a horse to think halter=work and perhaps make it difficult to catch them?

Arksly 01-24-2011 11:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by corinowalk (Post 902764)
My answers in bold
1. Why are the majority of western horses in shank bits? Why can't you just use a snaffle? From my understanding, most western horses are started with either a rope halter or snaffle.

Because a snaffle is designed to be ridden on contact. A shanked bit is to be ridden on a loose rein.

But what about the horses that are taught to neck rein? Shouldn't it not matter what they have in their mouth or on them? My understanding is that when a horse is taught to neck rein they are taught to move off of the rein on their neck.

I'm not trying to question your knowledge. I'm just curious. :D

tinyliny 01-25-2011 12:14 AM

Why are high level dressage horses ridden in a double bridle, one part of that being a shanked curb bit? For refinement. The horse needs very little contact on the bit to have it respond. And, it goes with the old days when horses had to be rideable with one hand, so youcould swing a sword with the other.
Most horses just won't be that rapidly responsive on a snaffle one handed.

corinowalk 01-25-2011 12:15 AM

http://www.3gemstack.com/catalog/06908.jpegA shanked bit is designed for neck reining. You are trying to send the loudest signal with the least amount of contact. The goal would be a horse reacting to the twitch of a pinky. It is difficult to get that kind of reaction on a snaffle bit that was designed for contact.

Smrobs can explain this much better than I can. *laugh* It really is all about fine tuning.

As far as the rope halter goes, most trainers would start a horse in a sidepull which is, to me, just a reinforced halter.


Arksly 01-25-2011 05:56 PM

Oh, I see. That makes sense now.

Okay, another question.

What are the basic steps for teaching a horse to neck rein? Just the basics, not too much detail.

Poseidon 01-25-2011 06:07 PM

This was posted in another thread the other day:
It's pretty simple. I've been working on it with my mare and she's caught on pretty quickly.


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