Western Riding - Cues & Rider Position - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 10-27-2013, 10:10 PM Thread Starter
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Western Riding - Cues & Rider Position

I'm hoping someone can point me in the right direction. I'm looking for information/knowledge regarding different cues & rider position in western riding. I'm going to be working with a trainer hopefully next year in the spring, but also want to learn as much as I can during the winter months.

Specifically I'm looking for information regarding the different cues that can be trained into a western horse. I've heard of Spur trained, Seat trained, Leg trained, but I'm not entirely sure which is which and what each means (and if those are even the proper terms).

I'm currently riding my two Quarter horses and their cues seem to be very, very different. I understand the very basic leg positions and the 3 "buttons" down the side of the horse, but I never realized there were so many variables between the two horses. So here's what I'm working with:

1) Gelding from cutting stock. 11 Y/O. Owned 4 years. Arthritic in Hocks. Goal in riding - loosen him up, start teaching him to round himself and use his butt, etc.

Cues/rider position that he responds to best: Leg contact is needed. Lower leg means lift belly, engage rear engines. Seat position is neutral - not forward not back; right in the middle. Doesn't love steady contact on bit, but understands what to do with it. Goes very, very well off energy from seat. Seems like he can read my mind sometimes because he is sensitive to seat cues. Speed is maintained through seat.

2) Mare from WP type stock. 5 Y/O. Owned 11 mos. Lil' dreamboat with a giant tush. Goal in riding. Catch up to her level. Learn cues better. Don't fall off.

Cues/rider position that she responds to best: (Forgive me, but I just had a first lesson with her over the weekend. Still learning her buttons) No leg contact below knee unless cuing a turn/speed increase. Leg is to remain relaxed, but more forward than I normally carry it on the gelding. Seat is back. Sitting on tailbone. Sitting deep adds roundness from back end. Squeezing with legs for grip = lots of speed and super roundness. (Oy!) Contact with bit is pretty minimal. Correction is quick and followed by a quick release and her face is left alone. Basically a fine-tuned, lovely little mare that knows waaaaay more than I do.

Any info/knowledge you could share would be most appreciated. I never realized there were so many different ways to tell a horse to do basically the same thing. Apparently horses do not come with individual user manuals.

Sorry for the novel, but thank you for reading!
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post #2 of 4 Old 10-27-2013, 10:18 PM
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My mare's mainly seat trained but I find I have an odd way of riding her so take this with a grain of salt. I'm just describing what I do so you can kind of get a feel. (I ride with loose rein and little leg)

My seat is centered in the gait when I'm not giving a cue. To cue for a trot I sit a fraction deeper and tighten my legs (but use no pressure). To cue for a canter at the walk I turn her head slightly inside and just press my outside leg against her, and put my hand on her withers and shift my center forward like the initial hump up has already happened; to cue from a trot I just drop my hand and shift my center forward a little bit.

To cue a small turn I tighten my inside leg without putting it on her and lay my reins against her neck and shift my center sideways. To cue a large turn I tighten my outside leg (no pressure) and do the same with my reins and center.

To whoa I simply sit back and put my feet forward, where to back up I use a slight rein pressure for a few seconds and shift my weight back.

I hope this helps some! If I need to clarify anything feel free to ask, because I am far from the best explainer online.
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post #3 of 4 Old 10-28-2013, 07:03 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you that was very helpful. I wish I had your attention to detail!

I think the way you ride your mare is similar to how mine is trained. The leg is there, but doesn't apply pressure very often. What gets me in trouble is loping. I can grip and hold on a bit with my gelding and he doesn't react. If I tighten my inner leg muscles at all on the mare I cue her to go faster and rounder. So what worked for one horse now cues the other one in a big way.

So I'm thinking the mare is more seat trained and the gelding possibly leg trained? Are those the right terms?

Thank you for your help! I'm going to get this eventually :)
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post #4 of 4 Old 10-28-2013, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
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Bumping back up! Would love more information or links regarding the different styles of training/cues.

Thank you!
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