Switching from English to Western- please help! - Page 3

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Switching from English to Western- please help!

This is a discussion on Switching from English to Western- please help! within the Western Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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        07-17-2009, 11:50 PM
    One thing, with a properly trained horse, you don't have to be in its face all the time with the bit, When you are relaxed the horse should be relaxed, if you ride with the horse you shouldn't have a problem coming off the seat to easy, just remember to sink your butt a bit, and when you go to stop sink your weight into the back of the saddle and in a sense "stop riding" that's a que to slow down and stop. Its interesting though, we do some "english style" training from time to time when training our horses in certain western events, what do you think you would like to do in western? Barrels? Pleasure? Poles? Trail? Just shooting out some ideas to you.
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        07-20-2009, 01:42 PM
    I agree with onetoomany. In NO discipline have I ever gripped with my legs. That will raise you up a bit in the saddle and tense you, and may translate with the horse as nervousness. No matter what I'm practicing or on what horse I am on, there is never any tension in legs at all, unless I'm giving a cue. I tell my students you want to be like a fly on their back - relaxed, with only the contact of your weight. Everyone I've known that grips with their legs rather than balance has major issues getting in synch with their horse, and tends to fall off far more often. Good luck with your new interest, have some fun!!
        07-20-2009, 08:39 PM
    26 years of riding and I'm just now learning I'm not supposed to grip with my leg? I thought one to many had done just that, had one to many, or was wondering if people were paying attention, but Qtswede? You too? Alright, I understand if riding without stirrups, or really long stirrups, your leg should hang naturally down and can be lose below the knee, but being able to grip with your inner thigh is kind of essential. I was checking this out because I'm an english rider who now is working with a bunch of western horses, so I was lookng for tips, but I never expected that. Ok, maybe you shouldn't always be gripping with your thigh like vice, but if a horse spooks sideways, or starts to rear, or I'm even galloping/jumping, I have to grip with my thigh. Now can anyone tell me the proper western cue for each lead? And possibly the flying change? Trying to decifer to what extent a western horse I'm reschooling was actually taught. He may have only been taught to neck rein, because most people want to be able to steer, but no lead commands. Gotten a couple changes on him but they aren't pretty, I was just seeing if it was installed or maybe I'm pushing the wrong button.
        07-28-2009, 05:15 PM
    (Been gone a while)well, tb, being able to grip with your thigh, and gripping constantly are 2 different boats, in my book. Maybe it's just that my horses are cross trainers (lol) and when we're going western or dressage (english work is limited, so I guess I am used to longer stirrups), unless you're giving an explicit cue, I was always taught to just sit up there like a fly on their back, not gripping - it may be because I learned bareback first, as a kid. When I've been training, I can't get away with squeezing (even with thighs) for a spook. It always seems to push them further over the edge. The western horses I've ridden & worked with (unless they don't know there leg cues - boy are there a lot of those suckers) go faster when you squeeze anywhere on the leg. The seat is so deep, and balanced that if you're in there securely, you don't need to grip. Part of that for sure is the longer leg. BUT, we may just be having a 'discipline' miscommunication here. Video speaks wonders. Lol. When I'm galloping, I only give pressure with the thigh to knee when I'm asking for more speed. My jumps have all been over cavaletti and logs, and I just stood up & leaned forward a bit for those (probably not right, but western saddle and all, at the time *cough* well....) When I get a rear, I will grip, just instinct I think.... moving along. Now, The simplest way to ask for a lead change is just to step down in your stirrup. They will move under your weight, and viola! Lead change. Lol. For flying lead changes, do MASSIVE figure 8's, and as you come up to the crossing point, trot them for a few strides, then cue to canter and ask them to tip the opposite hip towards the lead ( if you want a left lead, cue with your right leg to move that big butt to the left) . Chances are, that western feller you're working with hasn't had his buttons pushed in a looong time. They're there, they're just ... rusty.Now, someone like him, you probably grip/squeeze the crap out of all day long and not get much of a reaction. There are a TON of western horses like that. Seems like a lot of 'weekend' riders are lazy as hell, and love those horses that don't take leg cues. They also love when they just stick their nose up the next one's tail. However, they are all started the same as youngsters, with leg cues. It's not until they really get it do they switch over to neck reining. Try some ground cues with him to see what he remembers. It may take a little coaxing to get him to do it again.
        07-28-2009, 05:20 PM
    Sorry for the novel and the dp..... to continue on the flying lead change - that is to start. As he does the right lead, decrease the trot more and more until it's all canter. Then just try giving him the cue at a canter. If he is crossfiring, make him keep cantering until he switches - don't let him go back to a trot. It's much harder to cross canter, and he'll want to switch. Hope that makes sense. I know what I'm trying to say..... doesn't always come out right though. Guess I think faster than I type lol.

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