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Questions About Western Riding

This is a discussion on Questions About Western Riding within the Western Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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        01-29-2011, 11:21 AM
    Originally Posted by corinowalk    

    QH are started early showing just exactly why smrobs (and TB breeders) say. Because the futurities start at 2.
    Some WP and even HUS futurities are at 2. However mine are started at 2 also and our futurities are not until the end of their 3yo year.

    Starting them early makes it easier and better on the horse. They are not pushed as hard or as fast b/c there is more time.
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        01-30-2011, 01:17 PM
    Originally Posted by Arksly    
    Let me begin with the fact that I know nothing of western riding. I've ridden a few western horses and even have a western saddle and use it for trail riding but I don't really know much about that part of the equestrian discipline. I just have a few questions for all of the western riders here.

    1. Why are the majority of western horses in shank bits? Why can't you just use a snaffle? From my understanding, most western horses are started with either a rope halter or snaffle. You are able to teach neck reining in a snaffle, but the problem comes with the angles of pull and the level of contact needed. I ride my guy on both a snaffle and shank bit and have found if I want to ride on a looser rein then he holds himself better on the shank then on the snaffle.

    2. When people say that they ride in a rope halter do they mean a bosal/hackamore or a plain rope halter? If it is a plain rope halter, how do you attach the reins? Do you just tie the leadrope? I start my guys on the halter and then move to a side pull so you just attach the reins to the side of the halter or the rings on the side pull.

    3. What do you strive for in your riding? I know, that as a dressage rider, I strive for an even gate with impulsion and a even contact on the reins. I strive for is a soft, supple horse that hold it's self, and goes around on as invisible aids as possible (to the outside observer).

    4. Why do they tend to start horses earlier? I went to a AQHA sale and all of the horses that sold for any decent money were two to three years old and could neckrein, walk, jog, lope and one man even took the bridle off of his horse (a two year old mare, she was a sweetheart) and steered her by placing his hand on each side of her neck. Of course, I'm more used to horses being started at three the earliest. Lots of people have given good reasons for this. The horses knees and hocks are closed by the age of 2 so that's when I start. Yes the back is still in development but that doesn't mean you can't start working if you ride properly. Generally speaking the breeds of horses used in western mature mentally much earlier than the breeds used for english. A warmblood at the age of 2 usually has the mind set of a yearling QH or other western bread horse.

    Thank you in advanced for your answers.
    As for what discipline I like the most it would have to be reining :)

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