"Western is harder on horses" ? - Page 4

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"Western is harder on horses" ?

This is a discussion on "Western is harder on horses" ? within the Western Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    08-29-2009, 10:57 PM
Well nobody should be jumping a 3 yr old. 5 maybe. I really don't think you can take the Western Pleasure and cutting/reining and single them out as being typical western riding. I ride Western and I have never done either sport. Shoot, Eventing has to be very hard on horses, so stands to reason all English is harder on them. ;)

I suspect there are way more people taking good care of their horses regardless of the discipline than those who overwork them. *not really the term I wanted, but brain is tired.
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    08-31-2009, 08:58 PM
Green Broke
Ah. But reining is very hard on horses. So is cutting, roping, and such. Its always been said its harder for a horse to go slow then fast.

Dressage I think would be the toughest on horses. Considering you have to have a certain breed of horse that can actually perform such movments and are able to with stand the physical strain.

I wouldn't say all english is harder on horses. Depends. Id say WP is harder then HUS. -Shrug-
    09-01-2009, 07:07 PM
That's it, Delete... Comparing individual disciplines is one thing, but the entire style just doesn't work. Compare Dressage to Reining, HUS to WP, trail riding to hacking? Lol
    09-01-2009, 07:25 PM
I think ALL disiplines are equally hard on any horse.
    09-01-2009, 09:41 PM
Green Broke
You cannot just pinpoint what style is harder on a horse. Its all opinion. We will just go in circles. Pointless.
    09-02-2009, 09:07 PM
Neither are harder on the horse. It's the peson that makes it that way. I personally ride both and it all depends on the rider.
    09-04-2009, 11:35 PM
Green Broke
Sorry this is a long one!

I personally agree with everyone who has said that the 2 disciplines are separate but equal.
Movements in western riding such as the slow-n-low are meant to be used on horses with the proper training and conditioning base so as to not stress the animal, and often you Will see horses in the pasture walking slowly with their heads down in a very relaxed position, of course I realize that this is not exactly like the s-n-l, or level topline training but it isn't THAT artificial.

Also people seem to be saying English movements such as collection or jumping are overly stressful on the horse, but as I said these movements are meant to be used with a horse that is properly conditioned to do them. Look at any exited or just playful happy horse out in the pasture and you will see a collected "upward" gait as it prances around its herdmates. Just like in the western discipline this IS an artificial gait used during riding for the purpose of enhancing the performance and safety/comfort of that horse and rider in their chosen discipline.
Finally I think that riding a horse at all is hard on it. It isnt natural to the animal, foals arent born with people on their backs, so the extent of "damage or harshness" is all a matter of opinion.
btw I am a western rider and I love every minute in my large comfy saddle, on my happy healthy horse
    09-06-2009, 09:16 PM
The answer lies in the handler or rider, the breeding, and the training/conditioning. On top of what everyone else has said about not being able to compare all Western riding to all English riding, much depends on if the horse actually enjoys what they are doing. It's much harder on a horse to do something they don't like to do, than something they love doing. Balance between all of these things in the key, IMHO.
    09-08-2009, 12:42 AM
A few years ago I went to a health of horses symposium moderated by a vet from the Sun Valley, Idaho area. I asked the question "which discipline is harder on horses?" His reply-

Horses that are not in condition have the most injuries regardless of discipline.

Among horses that are fit, he sees more injuries among horses that do the same thing over and over again. He specifically mentioned high level pleasure type horses, both english and western.

Here's the part that surprised me- The horses that he rarely sees for soundness issues- 3 day eventers and reined cow horses. Both perform at a high level in three events. They use different parts of their bodies in each event so any one part does not receive a constant pounding. These horses have so much to learn and among younger horses especially, they are not trained to the extreme that one event horses are trained to.

    09-08-2009, 01:08 AM
Rod, that makes so much sense.. Thanks for posting it.

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