Western training tips for english horse & rider.
So overnight, I decided to put some western mileage on my 10 year old ottb mare. Both my mare and I are from a completely english background. She raced for a single season, had fifteen starts, never placed anywhere ahead of 7th. I've had her for almost 4 years now and we locally show 3'3"-3'6" jumpers. I'm more of a hobby rider rather than competitive so this is by no means meant to send me to the Calgary Stampede, it's solely just to expand her diciplines a wee bit :-P
So can anyone explain to me the basics to introducing western pleasure? I'd just like to have her understand some neck reining and attempt to get a jog or lope out of her. Once I get the basics down, then maybe I'll introduce a bit more when we both understand a bit better.
She's ridden in a french link d-ring, has lots of 'go' but it's entirely controlable. She already moves well off your leg, responds great to light contact, but has your typical chestnut thoroughbred mare moments where she can be a bit snooty. Kissy/clucking chicken noises are a no go with her, she turns into the devil.
Thanks in advance! If you need anymore info let me know :-)
what you do is go back to basics. Get her traveling in a long frame and to do so in little contact (have a loop in the reins). she needs to drop her head and move along in a balance manner. Neck reining in English terms is called an indirect rein. That is what you are asking.
I never had an issue transitioning a horse between disciplines tho the horse tends to be very good at one and not so good at the other. I started ALL my horses the same way.. in a bosal and basic dressage to follow in a snaffle. while I would not say you need to go back to a bosal, you probably need to go to a loose ring snaffle and a longer leg on the horse and teach her she CAN lower her head and still work off hr hind quarters.
Dressage (which is just training) will likely help you a lot.
A good Western Pleasure horse transistions both in a gait and between gaits as smooth as glass... and does so on a very very light rein contact.
Basically, the horse's head will be lower, and if you're thinking western pleasure, the gates will be slower, although a western horse is just as capable of going fast as an english horse, you can still ride "western" with english gates, most people do actually, especially when trail riding. The jog is basically a slower trot, not as extended, so try to keep your horse held back slightly, I don't mean pulling or yanking or whatever, but just lean back and let your horse know you don't want an extended trot. All the horses i've ridden have had the same canter as their lope, it doesn't really change except in western pleasure, where I personally think the lope looks painful, like the horse is limping, I don't like western pleausre, but I am a western rider, I used to ride english and found it too "contacty" I like the reining in western (neck reining) it feels more natural.
I would do a lot of lateral work, and more backing up, too. Imagine that you are preparing your horse for a trail riding competition. Get her to step over logs, sidepass along a log (front legs on one side, hind on the other), back through a simple maze, turn on the fore and hind.
Lots of work like that , then do some trot work and really think "slow". Slow down your breathing and make yourself feel like an anchor, with your feet mentally drawing furrows in the arena sand. This will help to slow the trot of your horse, assuming that you are sitting this trot.
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