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Trying western after 15 years of English

This is a discussion on Trying western after 15 years of English within the Western Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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        12-22-2013, 02:07 PM
      #11
    Super Moderator
    Bsms,
    It's interesting that you should say that western riders are not concerned with "headset". They SHOULDNT be concerned with it, but my experience is that the term "headset" and concern with it voiced here is more often coming from Western riders than from English.

    OP, since you are already an accomplished rider, if you want to look at a new approach, I would suggest buying Buck Branaman's "Seven Clinics" video set. It is very expensive, but gives a whole lot to think about.

    You can buy all seven sections, or some part there of. Look to the website "Ecclectic Horseman" and they have the set or partial sets for sale.
         
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        12-22-2013, 02:14 PM
      #12
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by EdmontonHorseGal    
    ...IMO the 'traditional' draped rein and lack of contact is more in the show ring than out on the range working cattle or just riding western for pleasure, from what I have seen, read and experienced...
    That is very different from what I've seen. Outside of a show ring, I've never seen a western rider try to put a horse 'on the bit' or ride with contact. There are moments when all the slack is out of the reins, but that is extremely different from riding with a horse on the bit!

    I'm not talking about the extremely draped reins seen in some shows, but something more like this photo from over 100 years ago:



    Or this one from this summer:

    EponaLynn likes this.
         
        12-22-2013, 02:29 PM
      #13
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tinyliny    
    ...they SHOULDNT be concerned with it, but my experience is that the term "headset" and concern with it voiced here is more often coming from Western riders than from English...
    On a trail or a ranch, I've never heard of anyone worry about headset. In some of the arena sports/shows, you may be right. I don't show, and most of the riders I know are oriented to trail riding. I've yet to meet a western rider apart from the Internet who has used the word 'headset' in my hearing...but I might get an earful if I went to a show...
         
        12-22-2013, 03:28 PM
      #14
    Trained
    Maybe you should get out more?

    It is certainly something that I have encountered over 3 countries now, both in real life and online. It isn't the same as as English headset, but picking up a gentle contact, the releasing when he sets his head right is a constant. As a western rider I want a horse to hold himself together, so I still drive the back end and contain the front, but instead of holding him together as an English horse, I let him find his own headset. He finds it because I keep setting it and rewarding success.
         
        12-22-2013, 04:07 PM
      #15
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Golden Horse    
    ...but instead of holding him together as an English horse, I let him find his own headset...
    If he finds it on his own, it isn't 'headset'. It is balance. Or perhaps it is where his head ends up when balancing and moving in a way you enjoy riding.

    But in western riding, the goal is not a near vertical face breaking at the poll, because it all depends on what you are doing, and the horse gets to figure it out for himself. It is related to vision, since the horse has a fairly narrow field of view with binocular vision, and has to adjust its head according to what it wants to see well. Thus it is related to speed, since a horse moving fast needs to look carefully a further distance away than one moving slow.

    The neck, likewise, moves as the horse chooses to achieve balance, or sometimes relaxation.

    When I think of headset from a western perspective, I think of folks see-sawing on the reins to get a look desired in WP or reining. Or I think of the folks who have read a 'dressage for dummies' book and want to 'collect their horse's head' - which, of course, is abominable pseudo-dressage not related to real dressage teachings.

    If Mia stretches out too much at a canter, I'll bump her reins, or maybe lift them a little and hold until she figures it out. Then she lifts her head slightly, maybe changes the angle of her head and shortens her stride. Then we are back on a loose rein, with her carrying her head anywhere she needs to for her satisfaction. I'm not asking for a 'headset', but a change of balance and stride.

    Someone competing in arena competitions in front of judges may have a different view and a different goal. My comment was for the bulk of western riders. I don't think the bulk of western riders are found in arenas.

    I believe my original statement remains accurate: "The norm in western riding is to drop the idea of 'contact' and headset. Ride with slack in the reins, and let the horse choose its head position."



    I cannot speak to western riders in Canada, or how they ride. I'm in Arizona, and have friends who ranch in Utah. And if anything, I think the absence of 'headset' from their vocabulary means I hang out with folks I can be proud to know and ride with...

    BTW - I still like this comment from the non-western rider George Morris. I still like a forward seat, but don't tell my wife - she bought me the used western saddle I'm using now as an early Christmas present.



    In fairness, there is also a valid western tradition brought over from Spain via Mexico & California, which is the bridle horse. It uses a very different approach that is training intensive. The woman who did so much to help Mia is now taking a 4 year program to learn about it.
    autumn rain likes this.
         
        12-27-2013, 09:30 PM
      #16
    Yearling
    Good luck!! I have decided to transition from english to western. I rode english all my life and started riding western at my college and fell in love with it.

    I'm even turning my Thoroughbred into a western mount!
         
        12-27-2013, 09:35 PM
      #17
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bsms    
    If he finds it on his own, it isn't 'headset'. It is balance. Or perhaps it is where his head ends up when balancing and moving in a way you enjoy riding.
    I'll bow to your many many years, 5 is it? Of experience and extensive book knowledge, and bow out, leaving you to spread what you think you know and understand as gospel
    updownrider likes this.
         
        12-27-2013, 10:02 PM
      #18
    Yearling
    My trainer always taught me to collect my horse up, and make him move nicely. I don't let him run around the arena with his head waving wildly in the air. And if his head pops up, I slightly bump on my reins and bring it back down, and then give a release once he brings it down, and then he pretty much just leaves it there.
    And I was always told, if you don't teach your horse collection, and a nice headset then they are more at risk for swayback later in life

    Posted via Mobile Device
    Golden Horse likes this.
         
        12-27-2013, 10:36 PM
      #19
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Golden Horse    
    I'll bow to your many many years, 5 is it? Of experience and extensive book knowledge, and bow out, leaving you to spread what you think you know and understand as gospel
    Amazing, aren't I! 5 years of riding, and I already figured out that "The norm in western riding is to drop the idea of 'contact' and headset. Ride with slack in the reins, and let the horse choose its head position."

    What is even more amazing is that folks can ride for many more years and NOT notice what everyone around them is doing...

    Oh, and GH...yes, I read books. It is amazing, but a fellow can actually LEARN from reading. You learn faster if you listen from others, including those who wrote books. It is a good habit.
    MyBoySi likes this.
         
        12-28-2013, 12:21 AM
      #20
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bsms    
    Amazing, aren't I! 5 years of riding, and I already figured out that "The norm in western riding is to drop the idea of 'contact' and headset. Ride with slack in the reins, and let the horse choose its head position."

    What is even more amazing is that folks can ride for many more years and NOT notice what everyone around them is doing...
    .
    In my area just because you ride western by no means, means that you drop the idea of a collect headset completely. We still want our horses to collect and carry themselves nicely. You don't learn everything about horses by reading books. Experience plays a big role in it as well, and I personally, would not let my horse run around with his head in the sky. High headedness is frowned upon around here, we want a soft, pretty and relaxed way of carrying their head, all while still collecting themselves (rounded back etc) when you allow a horse to be high headed, they hollow their backs out, makes their gaits choppier and leads to back problems later in life. You can easily achieve a collected horse with a nice headset on a loose draping rein. I wouldn't say at all that western riders ignore the idea of a headset and collection, when it is actually important for all riders.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    updownrider and jaydee like this.
         

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