How do you...

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How do you...

This is a discussion on How do you... within the Western Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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        03-21-2009, 02:26 AM
    Exclamation How do you...

    Train a horse to move so unnaturally?

    Yes, yes - I'm referring to western pleasure.

    It just seems so labor intensive and stressful on the horse.
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        03-21-2009, 08:39 AM
    You don't train them, their bred to do it same as a cutting horse is bred to cut.
        03-21-2009, 11:02 AM
    Not all are bred to do western pleasure that way.
    My horse naturally holds her head a little high.
    It really isn't that hard to teach a horse to flex on the bit, and that is all I had to do to teach my horse to set her head where it needs to be, not too low, not too high.

    Some horses, like mine for instance, naturally move pretty slow. It's all a matter of conditioning. The better shape your horse is in, the easier it is for them to carry themselves slower...Not because they're being forced to go slow.

    It's really not that hard and horses don't really get stressed out too much, henceforth you see pleasure horses calmer than any others.
        03-21-2009, 03:47 PM
    Many WP horses now are bred to hold their poll even with the withers or close to it. They also naturally will be more inclined to move with that western pleasure gait.

    Personally, I hate four beating, peanut-rollers, etc. But there are many WP horses out there that move nicely and are trained with proper methods.
        03-22-2009, 04:54 AM
    I was referring more to the ultra-slow four beat gait, not the way they hold their heads. There must be training involved and I have no idea how one would go about it. There is no way that it's from breeding alone. I've been around cutting horses with impeccable blood lines - a Mecom filly, for one - and even they require immense amounts of training. Genetic memory can account for certain instincts and nothing more. Nothing as complex as peanut rolling.

    Your thoughts?
        03-22-2009, 06:18 AM
    Not all cutting horses require immense amounts of training I've had them since the 60's and some are wining money less then 90 days after they first have a saddle on.
        03-22-2009, 07:33 AM
    Well 90 days of training still means that, while the horse was bred for its craft and got that good "cow sense", some part of it had to be taught - like how to work off leg cues, etc.

    But the genetic memory of a cutting horse includes that "cow sense" - a western pleasure horse can be bred to carry its head low or move slowly, but you can't breed a 4-beat lope (even though you shouldn't be a seeing a 4-beat lope in any western pleasure arena, it's something we see a lot of) into a horse. That's something you have to teach.

    I think Jared was asking how do you start training a horse to lope that slowly, or add a 4th beat to the lope? And I think it was mostly asked out of curiosity, as neither of us have ever been around WP horses, or been part of that particular training experience.
        03-22-2009, 08:04 AM
    A cutting horse's cow-sense isnt a really good metaphor for western pleasure horses. WP horses are bred for their conformation.

    As far as the slowness of the gaits...
    I prefer a horse to step out and into their lopes more than what the stereotypical pleasure horses do. So I can't tell you how that 1 or 2 horses at the show were taught to move so slowly. I would assume its the same training just pushed too far. Abused, like the spur stop. Simply put...what I was taught was to add inside leg up at the girth and add outside leg back more. This would cause the horse to lift its shoulder, move it's hip in, and collect. (thus slowing down) The over canted, 4 beat lopes were a result of riders asking for too much slow.The horses would 4 beat as it was easier for them and gave them the speed that they wanted. Luckily that's being taken seriously now.

    The last Pleasure show I went to the horse's were moving out so much more. It looked lovely and natural for the horses. Effortless. That's the direction its going in now. Not back to the peanut rolling ages. So why continue to bring it up? I highly doubt your interested in the training methods in order to use them yourself. Seems more as though you are trying to start something. Perhaps another fued between the diciplines?
    If so, there are plenty other threads to look at.

    If that's not the case...why not just go to a aqha show yourself? Ask the trainers in the warm up pen. They can show you, explain to you, and prove that it is quality training going into these horses.

    ETA-that's how I learned about higher levels of pleasure btw. Just went to a show and saw it for myself. Its actually really interesting. I always just watch the warm up pens. WP horses have so much training its incredible.
        03-22-2009, 08:41 AM
    I wasn't suggesting that a cutting horse's "cow sense" is a metaphor for western pleasure horses. In fact, I was suggesting quite the opposite - that cow sense is an "instinct," if you will, while the way a WP horse moves is not.
        03-22-2009, 08:57 AM
    Sorry for the Double Post.


    Neither of us were trying to start anything - the fact is, we both (Jared and I) just got back from an APHA western pleasure show (among other things), and it was not something we'd been exposed to in much detail before. I have no intention of creating any sort of feud between disciplines - I think all disciplines in the equestrian world are an art of their own. We were curious. My only experience in training horses is the trail riding world. I break horses to be general riding horses for the trail and for fun. I've never competed in anything really. We've got cutting horses, but they've all been professionally bred and trained for the sport. I'm just adjusting them to life outside the arena. Our questions stemmed from curiosity and interest. WP, or at least what I've seen of it, has a very unnatural look and feel to it - though, like I said, we haven't been exposed to it in great detail.

    Now, if you read Jared's original question, and then my clarification of it, the question was HOW do you go about teaching a horse to move that way? To quote you: "WP horses have so much training its incredible." - so how is it done? Is it something you start at the ground work stage, or is it something that happens after the rider in the saddle?

    "...prove that it is quality training going into these horses."
    - neither of us ever suggested that these horses were not trained in the most quality manner. We were, rather, observing that it must take an immense amount of training to get these horses to move in such a manner.

    Our question was - how?

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