Originally Posted by Ima Free Spirit
So I'm going to train my horse for western when she's all fixed up, and she is a really sure footed horse and very quick learner so I thought trail would be good, and I could just do beginner classes in future.
What are the basics:
What apparel is needed for horse and rider
I have been riding English and self taught myself western so focusing on getting my horse to jog and have a relaxed frame on lose rein or light contact.
There are no western schools around and I don't know if there are any western trainers around.
Well if you are going to compete in Western shows with competitive trail in your area, then of course there will be western trainers around too.
Best thing to do now is to go watch at the shows you are planning on entering in the future. See who scores well. Then approach them to find out who their trainer is, or if they train themselves. Word of mouth is the best way to find a good trainer.
There's nothing wrong with being self-taught, but a couple of lessons can make a world of difference. I'll use myself as an example. I self-taught myself to play the violin. After a couple years I finally took some professional lessons once a week for a couple months, and I discovered I had been holding the bow wrong. And not staying prefectly straight in some of my strokes. There are things a trained set of eyes can pick up, that you as a self-taught person CANNOT.
Check out this video. Obviously it is the world show and the pattern is beyond extreme. But it gives you a good idea of the sheer control you need to have over your horse's body at any given moment.
You need to be able to control every piece of your horse's body: hips, ribcage, shoulders, neck, head and also control each individual foot. This takes years of training.
Each obstacle is handled a little different, and there are "tricks" to getting a good score. This is where a trainer is going to help you the most.
For example: Let's say the pattern calls for a lope on the right lead, and then immediately after you need to stop at a mailbox and open it. That means you should NOT melt down to a trot .... then a walk .... then stop at the mailbox. It means you lope to the mailbox and stop directly and accurately beside it. Little things like that can make or break your score.