Is reining compatible with a dressage trained horse?
 
 

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Is reining compatible with a dressage trained horse?

This is a discussion on Is reining compatible with a dressage trained horse? within the Reining forums, part of the Western Riding category
  • Do reiners respond to constant leg movement
  • Horse Dressage Training Method

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    02-09-2011, 10:44 AM
  #1
Foal
Is reining compatible with a dressage trained horse?

I am new and very inspired by what I have read so far on this forum. I hope someone can answer my question.

I have developed an interest in reining after having studied English riding most of my life. Recently I discovered the western rider who is training one of my green horses rides completely different from me.

For instance in the turn, he torks his hips so the outside thigh presses against the outside shoulder asking the horse to move away from it. And if the horse does not respond he bumps it with his outside spur.

In contrast, I was taught to ask the horse to bend around my inside leg at the girth (cinch) with my outside leg behind the girth to keep the haunches from falling out. My hips should be aligned with the horses hips and my shoulders are aligned with the horses shoulders so there is a slight twist when I ask for bend. We are not talking about a turn on the haunches here - just a simple turn.

My horse can follow my body movement without any pressure from the reins, in fact no reins at all, so the turns are off the body position more than the rein aids.

When he tries to ride my horse he cannot communicate with him. When I try to ride the horse he is training I can't communicate!!

There are a lot of differences in position as well and some fundamental differences in timing and contact - on the bit versus off the bit. That I can understand.

I realize there are different methods of training a horse. The Spanish riding school uses his method but it is rarely used in dressage now as the German and French schools dominate world competitions.

I hear western riders are taking more of an interest in dressage training. So what method do you use to turn a horse? Do you find the differences in training completely incompatible? Thanks
     
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    02-09-2011, 10:49 AM
  #2
Banned
Of all the western disciplines reining is probably the nearest to dressage.

They are not the same, just the nearest to the training and finesse required.
     
    02-09-2011, 11:32 AM
  #3
Trained
In western especially reining all maneuvers are done for the horse to move off pressure. Reins have little to do with cuing a finished reiner.

It is all about body control. Depending on where I put my spur and how I sit will tell the horse what I want them to do. Once I have started the maneuver the cue comes off and the horse will continue with the maneuver until told to stop or do something different.

Also maneuvers like the turn you do not want the horse bent too much. The horse should be fairly straight and moving forward. The back inside foot should stay on a single spot. Does not have to stay planted but should stay with in a small area.

The circles are more taught as a bunch of small straight lines with a light turn. If you really watch closely at to how a reiner is ridden at the circle you will see depending on the speed the hand is in a different spot on the neck. This is asking for the speed be it fast or slow. If you watch the leg and set of the rider they are giving very very slight cues. If you look the reins are not on the horses neck they are not touching the horse. The cues are coming from the leg and seat.
     
    02-09-2011, 02:26 PM
  #4
Foal
Thanks for that response but I still don't have my answer. I ride off my seat too. In fact my favorite style of riding is bareback and bridleless. A slight tuck of the seat is all my horse needs to transition down to a lower gait or halt. Turning my upper body into the direction of the turn will turn him. My outer leg is not involved except for lateral work, leg yield and turn on the haunches or forehand which is always pulsed when the horse's foot you want to influence is leaving the ground.

What I am saying is the actual body position and aids of the body are radically different between this trainer and what I was taught. Looking at some reining videos I see that reiners keep their feet much farther forward than dressage riders do. The saddles are built to put them into this position which in dressage is the frowned upon "chair seat". But the point is more stability during the sliding stop.

Not all reiners ride this way but most of them throw their upper body back and their legs forward in a halt. In dressage the stability of the body comes from the core and you just don't see this exaggerated movement. That different but it is not my question either.

Do you use your outside leg to "push" your horse into the turn? If you are riding a circle why don't you want the horse's body to conform to the arc of the circle so he is tracking straight? I get the impression you are looking for a lift in the front so he is turning like a board flipping around, doing a bit of a roll back.

I also see some reiners sit to the outside of a turn to push the horse around especially in the spin. In dressage we sit to the inside of the bend, never the outside. You need a bit of bend into the direction of the spin so the horse can step across his inside foreleg and not bump into it. I would establish this slight bend by dropping my weight slightly into my inside seatbone and stirrup while you guys seem to do this sitting into the outside seatbone, in some cases tilted off the outside of the horse with the inside leg in the air. I know the horse appears straight but if he was absolutely straight he would hit himself so his shoulders must be slightly bent.

So the question is do you understand what I am saying? If not, I assume you ride like this trainer. It took him a long time to finally understand what I was talking about. He couldn't hear me. Finally he realized my horse could not understand him because of the difference in position, timing, cues etc. I just wonder if there are ANY reiners who ride the way I have been taught. I know there have been a few really famous horses, like Rugged Lark, that were cross trained to do reining and dressage but what is the basic foundation of their training? The woman who trained him, Lynn Palmer (?) studies dressage as a young woman. So it must work - Just wondering.
     
    02-09-2011, 04:32 PM
  #5
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by nefferdun    
Thanks for that response but I still don't have my answer. I ride off my seat too. In fact my favorite style of riding is bareback and bridleless. A slight tuck of the seat is all my horse needs to transition down to a lower gait or halt. Turning my upper body into the direction of the turn will turn him. My outer leg is not involved except for lateral work, leg yield and turn on the haunches or forehand which is always pulsed when the horse's foot you want to influence is leaving the ground.

What I am saying is the actual body position and aids of the body are radically different between this trainer and what I was taught. Looking at some reining videos I see that reiners keep their feet much farther forward than dressage riders do.

This is how the saddles are made and how the horses are cued. If you had your leg position back further you would end up over your horses head in the stop.

The saddles are built to put them into this position which in dressage is the frowned upon "chair seat". But the point is more stability during the sliding stop.

Not all reiners ride this way but most of them throw their upper body back and their legs forward in a halt.

They all do some just more then others. Big reason for this is you are asking your horse to drive from the rear further and further every stride and build speed. By the time you ask for the stop you are really going full speed and as you ask for the stop the horse it still driving from the rear faster and faster each stride. Also the cue for the stop is to take your legs off the horse and put more weight into your set. If you sat too fare forward it would make it much harder for the horse to lift the shoulder tuck the rear and you would end up over your horses head. Keep in mind that the sliding stop is much much different then the halt in dressage.

In dressage the stability of the body comes from the core and you just don't see this exaggerated movement. That different but it is not my question either.

Do you use your outside leg to "push" your horse into the turn?

Basically yes. All movement from the horse is away from pressure. If I put any pressure on the horse at any place on his body either with my rein or my leg the horse should move away from that pressure and should do it as quickly as I ask. Depending on the horse the inside leg may stay next to the horses body or it may open up some to give them room to move over. Again the horse is taught to move off pressure. So I can move the shoulder one way with one leg and the rib cage the other way with the other leg all the same time.

If you are riding a circle why don't you want the horse's body to conform to the arc of the circle so he is tracking straight? I get the impression you are looking for a lift in the front so he is turning like a board flipping around, doing a bit of a roll back.

Not quite sure what you are getting at here. In reining a circle is a bunch of small straight lines. If you try and just cue a circle and never take the rein off the horses neck or your leg off the horses side the circle will not stay the same size. They will keep moving into the center of the circle. Reiners are taught to do a maneuver once cued for it until they are told to stop or do something different. Ex. Once I cue my horse for a turn my hand will go back down to the neck and my leg will come off. The speed will come from a vocal cue a kiss in most cases. The horse will keep turning until I say whoa. Then they will shut down immediately.

I also see some reiners sit to the outside of a turn to push the horse around especially in the spin.

There are several reasons for this. If you put your weight to the inside of the turn the horse will swing his hip out. Which is a big big no or he will start to turn on the wrong back foot. Again a big big no no. So there is a reason for that position in keeping the horse in the proper position. Also when you are turning that fast that is about where the force will put you too. I have a mare who turns for fast and hard that if you are not careful you will fall off the side of her.

In dressage we sit to the inside of the bend, never the outside. You need a bit of bend into the direction of the spin so the horse can step across his inside foreleg and not bump into it. I would establish this slight bend by dropping my weight slightly into my inside seatbone and stirrup while you guys seem to do this sitting into the outside seatbone, in some cases tilted off the outside of the horse with the inside leg in the air. I know the horse appears straight but if he was absolutely straight he would hit himself so his shoulders must be slightly bent.

Again the turn in reining is performed differently then it is in Dressage. In dressage the horse does not plant its back foot. There is no pivot foot like there is with reiners. If you put your weight into the the inside the horses hip would swing out. You do not want a large bend in the horse. They should be fairly straight. You should just be able to see the corner of their eye.

So the question is do you understand what I am saying? If not, I assume you ride like this trainer. It took him a long time to finally understand what I was talking about. He couldn't hear me. Finally he realized my horse could not understand him because of the difference in position, timing, cues etc. I just wonder if there are ANY reiners who ride the way I have been taught. I know there have been a few really famous horses, like Rugged Lark, that were cross trained to do reining and dressage but what is the basic foundation of their training? The woman who trained him, Lynn Palmer (?) studies dressage as a young woman. So it must work - Just wondering.
Each trainer and horse is trained differently. I would also suspect that if you asked anyone but Palmer to ride RL it would be very hard for them to do so. Most reiners are trained the same to a large extent. There will be some differences. I know one trainer I have used put slightly different cues on my reiners then the trainer I use now. The one I use now is a more traditional reining trainer in that just about any true reiner could ride my horses with little difficulty.

Reiners do use a lot of dressage work in training a horse. Mostly to get them moving their bodys around. I can get my reiners to do shoulder in and out side pass 1/2 pass and so on. I can control every inch of my reiners so much so that I can take them and move then into any position I want. This works very very well if you like to do a bit of showing in a trail class.
     
    02-09-2011, 06:30 PM
  #6
Trained
I think OP and nrhareiner are meaning the term "turn" differently.

OP is talking about just turning the horse through a corner or onto a circle - not about a spin which is what I presume nrha is talking about.

Dressage and reining are two seperate sports. The terminology, the purpose and the breeding of the horses are all different. OP you might be interested to watch a video which has been posted time and time again - the dressage/reining demo where the riders switch horses. Both are highly trained animals and both are highly confused with the new riders. The dressage horse is tensely passaging around and the reining horse is timidly spinning - a large contrast from the previously confident horses.
This to me is proof that the difference in aid systems is too great to train one horse with both.

To nrha: to "out side pass half pass" is to defeat the purpose of a half pass. In the half pass the horse's body is bent such that the front part of the horse is travelling straight forward on the diagonal line, while the hind legs are crossing. To go more sideways than the bend in the body allows turns the half pass into a bad leg yeild.
The terminology and aid systems of the two sports, imo, are far too different to make them conparable.
     
    02-09-2011, 07:07 PM
  #7
Foal
Now I think I understand. It is incompatible training. Learn something new every day!

Now the problem is I can't ride my poor mare that this man is training. There are so many differences. I prefer dressage.
     
    02-09-2011, 07:36 PM
  #8
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~    

To nrha: to "out side pass half pass" is to defeat the purpose of a half pass. In the half pass the horse's body is bent such that the front part of the horse is travelling straight forward on the diagonal line, while the hind legs are crossing. To go more sideways than the bend in the body allows turns the half pass into a bad leg yeild.
The terminology and aid systems of the two sports, imo, are far too different to make them conparable.
What I was trying to say is that we use all those movements to teach different things. Not that the are all the same thing. I can get my horses to Side Pass, I can also get them to leg yield, I can also get them to half pass. All these things teach the horse to move different parts of their body. Which is needed in reining as it is in Dressage.
     
    02-09-2011, 07:41 PM
  #9
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by nefferdun    
Now I think I understand. It is incompatible training. Learn something new every day!

Now the problem is I can't ride my poor mare that this man is training. There are so many differences. I prefer dressage.
You can you just need to learn what cues he has put on the mare. I have 3 reiners here at the house and have owned many others. Some where trained by other trainers then the rest. Each trainer uses slightly different cues. As long as I remember which cue is for which horse I have no problem riding any of them and getting them to work properly.

Also with reiners as I am sure it is with Dressage horses. The higher level the horse is trained the harder it is to ride for the average person. I have several open level reiners. However they also have earnings with green reiners rookie reiner and so on. However if someone who had no idea how to ride a reiner came and tried to clime on and ride one they would never think the horse was trained at all. The neighbor girl who has been riding my stallion since she was 9 and can get him to do just about anything she asks can not get any of my other reiners to even walk.
     
    02-09-2011, 09:46 PM
  #10
Foal
His riding method seems pretty simplistic so I could do what he does. He just torks his hips in the direction he wants the horse to go, bumps the shoulder with his spur and lays the rein on her neck. I just don't want to change at this point in my life especially when I like what I have learned. It goes back to 400 BC to the writings of a Greek general named Xenophon. He is the one who wrote, "nothing forced or misunderstood can ever be beautiful". How could it not be possible to ride in a dressage seat as a reiner when for centuries horsemen waged war using what is now called the classical position and aids? Baffles me.

There are some things I won't let him do like tie her head down to force a frame. That to me is extremely ignorant. I have tried to explain to him I want her to seek the contact - not back off of it - but he can't get it. In reining, the horse is never shown in the trot but in dressage there are 7 distinct trot movements from piaffe to extended. The nose of the horse should point to where the foot lands which means the head and neck must change elevation. That is impossible if the horse has been forced into a frame. The only way the horse can do this is if it seeks the bit as you lengthen the reins.
One of the most important movements at lower levels is the horse going "long and low" to show that it is correctly trained and not in a head set.

I am not an upper level rider. I aspire towards perfection although I will never get there. It is a bit annoying when someone believes something so difficult is easily attained.
I see western riders who believe they are doing half pass etc but it is very incorrect so it is a very good idea to say that you are just moving various parts of the horse's body and not doing an actual dressage movement.

Reining is obviously not simple either. In both sports it is the excellent rider and trainer that makes it look easy.
     

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