Back in the good old days. - Page 2

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Back in the good old days.

This is a discussion on Back in the good old days. within the Western Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    03-17-2012, 08:34 PM
QH's Dad reminds me of the Canadian rodeo rider who taught me to ride Western - a man called Kennie Ross who came over to the UK in 1942 to fight in WW2 and never went back.

Look at QH's Dad's hands - two hands holding the rope reins. Held high up the chest by English standards. His legs are kept long and pushed slightly forwards. But his back is upright - even though his shoulders are bent (perhaps from ageing).

He obviously looks comfortable in the saddle.

To my eye the reins have a droop and allow the horse free movement of its head in what looks like a slow relaxed canter/lope to the right.
The back of the saddle, behind the cantle, appears to have risen off the horse's back???

There is nothing new in horse riding. The golden age of the horse in society was probably in 1914 before the combustion engine started to make its presence felt. We can learn back from those guys back then who rode for a living either on the prairie, the countryside or the battle field.
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    03-17-2012, 08:41 PM
BSMS, a lovely group of photos - thank you for posting them.

Littauer was almost born for the saddle - his life was that of a privileged officer in a fancy cavalry regiment. His own mount(s) would have been superior to that of the other ranks. He would have been concerned for himself always to appear elegant in the saddle

In Europe in times of war the problem was to keep ready a herd of horses (the remounts) ready to replace those lost in combat. The horse had to match the level of competence of the trooper - hence a common system of riding was devised and taught by the military. Remounts would have received a certain minimal level of schooling so as to be usable within the troop in the shortest space of time. The trooper will have been taught by the sergeants by rote.

In Britain this military system of riding was passed down to the civilians who were rich enough to own a horse kept for riding.

In the US, the cowboy may often have been a recent immigrant who had never ridden a horse before unless he'd been in the army or worked on the farm. Mostly he learned to ride in the saddle on the job. The horses used were expendable and relatively cheap to replace. Anyway - the horse meat could be eaten. Presumably the system of riding will have tended to be the same - after all, one cowboy would have taught the other. The cowboys rode one handed so as to leave the other free to work the rope.

For me, what is interesting is that two fundamentally different systems of riding emerged - 'Western' from the cowboy and 'English' from the cavalry. The reason for the difference can only be the horn - the soldiers did not herd cattle and therefore did not need a horn.

The US Mclellan military saddle is essentially a padded version of an English saddle tree - and was designed to fit a wide range of horses.
    03-17-2012, 11:03 PM
Originally Posted by Barry Godden    
...For me, what is interesting is that two fundamentally different systems of riding emerged - 'Western' from the cowboy and 'English' from the cavalry. The reason for the difference can only be the horn - the soldiers did not herd cattle and therefore did not need a horn...
The horn may be part of it, but the drawings I've seen of cavalry manuals from the mid-1800s would probably look fine to QHriderKE's Dad. Even dressage riders had some points in common:

Look at the long leg, somewhat forward, hips back, feet forward in the stirrups...

Cavalry (if he would just 'home' his feet in the stirrups):

This rather famous US General:

Heels at or in front of the belt buckle would seem pretty normal, as was the long leg.

A sheriff, probably around 1920-30:

This photo has a good story to it:

""This is my Grand-dad Alex McDonald on 'Old Paint' with his son Fred on the back and a neighbor boy. About 1929-30. When he would go to work at the meat packing plant he would give Old Paint a good slap and Paint would go home so the family could use him. At the end of the day a slap would send him back to get Alex."

Historical Horse - Home

And WAIT! Who is this fat guy on the little Appy?

    03-17-2012, 11:09 PM
I like to ride with a long stirrup and slightly forward legs too. I thought that was normal for western. Or at least it's normal for me.

And I was reading somewhere about how dressage riders should aspire to have long stirrups too, and that an accomplished rider should be able to ride with just their toe-tips in the stirrups. Well, I may not be dressage caliber but I do find myself frequently with just my toes in the stirrups by the end of the ride. I am frequently re-claiming my stirrups as I ride because I am mainly riding off of balance and don't put a lot of weight in my stirrups.
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    03-17-2012, 11:21 PM
What would you guys consider "normal" for a western rider?
    03-17-2012, 11:30 PM
I like How Robert Redford rides horses nice an quiet
    03-17-2012, 11:51 PM
Green Broke
I'm in Sask. Canada. (For who asked)

Well, that is an exceptionally good picture of my dad.

Here's the first ride on another filly:

I'm ponying on the black. Not a pretty picture.

Here's a roping pic:

And now compare those to my riding:

This is my first time ever breaking a horse:

And the same horse a year later:

Roping: (I'm on the sorrel)

I can only ride with my feet in the stirrups for so long. If I'm riding for longer than an hour, I ditch my stirrups and ride without them for a while.

So, now that I've completely bombarded you with pics... moving on...
    03-18-2012, 12:57 AM
Originally Posted by trailhorserider    
What would you guys consider "normal" for a western rider?

It would depend on the discipline. A roper is not going to ride like a reiner who is not going to ride like a WP rider who is not going to ride like a cutter who is not going ride like they are out on a trail ride and so on.
    03-18-2012, 01:13 AM
One of the things that attracted me to western riding was that, since I don't do any horse sports, I was free to ride in whatever way worked best for me and my horses. I had read mostly dressage books before then, and the whole thing of 'twist your hip bone here, and support with the thigh while turning your head just so' approach was driving me nuts.

I asked a western rider how he cued his horse for a turn...he looked at me kind of odd, and replied, "I just look where I'm going. Mostly the horse figures it out."

There can be much more to it if one wants, and I've since learned to use my legs before reins...but the simplicity sure was nice. It was also a bit deceiving. It is like the guitar - very simple to learn, but a lifetime isn't enough to learn it all.
    03-18-2012, 01:16 AM
Originally Posted by trailhorserider    
What would you guys consider "normal" for a western rider?

Edwin Sanders, cousin to the photographer Erwin E. Smith, on the Three Circles Ranch in Texas. Three Circles Ranch, Texas., 1906

Who am I to argue? Besides, the fellow in the second photo might shoot me...

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