Learn English or Western First? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 21 Old 10-21-2016, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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Great to have all these thoughts! Especially to hear that it may not matter too much. Was starting to think I'd been too impulsive again about deciding suddenly that we should try English and then having all this worry about how to figure out and get all the right gear. We'll stick with what I've got and probably it will work out for the best.

I'm a real worrier about safety, though, so since staying with the western saddle, am considering getting the tapaderos from statelinetack.com, about $65. Any thoughts about those from anyone?
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post #12 of 21 Old 10-21-2016, 10:44 AM
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A word about Stateline Tack. I have ordered from them for 40 years and not had trouble. You just have to read up on the products and know your brands. They have a good return policy, just sayin'.

The "snaffle" bit the pony was ridden in is not a snaffle if it has shanks, however short. You should not direct rein with a shanked bit. You can direct rein riding a Western saddle, reining has nothing to do with the type of saddle when just riding, but showing, it would make a difference. Neck reining is something that is taught to the horse, he won't respond if not taught. Direct reining is not just pulling a horse around by force, it has to be taught as well. It will be fun to learn everything, good luck!
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post #13 of 21 Old 10-21-2016, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by farmpony84 View Post
Hee hee... I disagree on the "easier to move from english to western". I rode hunter/jumper style english for about 20 years before moving to western. That was a hard transition for me. Letting go of the rein contact that I was used to and then sitting up more centered than the forward hunt seat, using my legs to control the horse rather than using my hands to steer. It was really hard. I think western to english is easier... that is IF you are really learning western and not cowboying.
I think it's interesting that you think it's the other way around (not in a bad way, but because as I said above, I'm having the opposite experience). I'm sure it's completely dependent upon what you're used to. Like you, I've been riding and showing my discipline for about 20 years. I am not and never have been a western movie ("cowboying") rider either.

Now that I think about it, there was an exchange student from Germany my brother was friends with who missed her horse so bad and wanted nothing more than to ride. So he brought her out to ride ours. She was so excited to try a real Western saddle on a real QH, and I remember her bouncing around a bit out of control, giggling and saying how hard it was. I thought that odd, as she showed us pictures of her show jumping and cross country riding and was clearly a good rider. I had always thought of Western as easier. But she had so much fun!

Anyways... just had to reply. Sorry.

I do also agree with BSMS, that if you have a western saddle right now, start with that. But I would still encourage you guys to try both Llama.

Duggan & Miss May
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post #14 of 21 Old 10-21-2016, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by LlamaPacker View Post
...I'm a real worrier about safety, though, so since staying with the western saddle, am considering getting the tapaderos from statelinetack.com, about $65. Any thoughts about those from anyone?
I'd pass. English or western stirrup, I prefer a boot with a good heel - minimum 1" and preferably a little more. Then make sure your stirrup - they come in different sizes - is one your boot and foot combined cannot physically slide through. I ride in cactus country. Even here, I've never seen a trail rider using tapaderos. However, if I went back to English, I'd be interested in trying those cages you see a lot of endurance riders use.

BTW - this style actually looks dangerous to me:

If things get rough on a horse, one's position can go out the window. I could easily see my boot slipping into the opening in front and getting caught. If I ever buy tapaderos, I want the sort that have no opening.

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #15 of 21 Old 10-21-2016, 12:53 PM
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Thinking from an instructor's position, I'd rather a kid did NOT have tapaderos. I'd want to be able to see those feet easier to know if her heels are down and her leg is in proper position. Good boots with a heel (1" as mentioned) are safety equipment. That heel prevents the boot from going too far through the stirrup. Just make sure that the stirrup isn't so big that her whole boot can go through it. Any stirrup that came with a child-sized pony saddle should be fine.

I have one question and one warning on the bit. You mentioned a snaffle with shanks -- that's likely to stir up all kinds of debate. Technically, a snaffle can't have shanks. You have a "broken mouth curb bit." (I know, a mouthful. I call them shanked snaffles too, but I know it's incorrect, and I want you to know, too.) Now my question: what shape are the shanks? If the shanks are straight, it's a tom thumb, the most hated bit on this forum. If the shanks are bent, you have a "broken mouth curb with swept back shanks," a perfectly good bit for western (neck reining) riding.

The problem with tom thumbs (or any other curb with straight shanks) is that it partially rotates in the mouth without any rein pressure. That means the curb strap is partially engaged before any cue is given. That takes away the horse's warning. Curbs with bent shanks rotate slightly in the mouth before the curb strap makes contact, allowing the horse to respond to the tiny signal and avoid nearly all bit pressure. A tom thumb does not have that warning period, making it a harsh bit, even though it looks like an innocent snaffle.
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post #16 of 21 Old 10-21-2016, 04:55 PM
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From what I'm reading, I'm going on the assumption that you are really just wanting to teach very basic skills. If that's the case, with a horse that isn't already trained to neck reign and a child as the pupil, my suggestion would be to put the horse in an every day snaffle with a nose piece. An english bridle would be fine to use and the reason I say that is, if the horse isn't used to a harsher bit and the rider is a beginner then I wouldn't want that kid yanking and banking on anything but a mild bit. In the beginning kids generally hold the reins too tight and will have their hands too wide, too low, too high... turns will be over exaggerated and transitions will be jerky. And then they will have the reigns too loose and then too tight and up and down and blah blah blah....

I'd use the western saddle that you already have in order to save money. You can teach a kid to post in the western saddle and you can even have them ride in correct english position if you want. I know in the AQHA world, most of the people I know (myself included)... we ride in western tack 24/7 and only pull those english saddles out on show days....

Again, I'm not sure exactly what level of teaching you are doing.
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post #17 of 21 Old 10-21-2016, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by LlamaPacker View Post
New 4H Club starting, 5 girls 3rd-6th grade. I'm taking a neighbor girl so as to have someone to ride the nice pony I got in mid-July (just one of those had-to-get-a-pony-types of fever that kept hitting me every spring, as am at age where long-ago passion wants to override good sense). May eventually be for my grand-daughter to ride, so this 4H Club seemed like a good way to keep the pony used to being ridden by kids. Mostly she learned to carry a pack for hike trips this summer and lead-lined little kids.
I thought I'd better ask......is this pony broke to ride for a beginner? Was she demonstrated at a walk, trot and canter by the child riding her? Was she ridden outside a ring and alone with no other horses? Is this actually a green broke pony you are wanting a beginner child to ride? The thought occurred to me because of the above that I bolded, just want to be sure I understand what level of training and experience the pony has.
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post #18 of 21 Old 10-21-2016, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the thoughts! Re bit: Thought I'd been reading up, but clearly not enough, as did not realize that was not a real snaffle. I have a real egg-butt snaffle, I think (D-shaped rings at sides, little roller in middle of bit), as got a lot of misc. tack from an old person going out of horse-training when I thought the little mule might be ridable, which is why I have the western saddle, also. Think it was a regular horse-size bit (the mule has quite a large face), so possibly it is too big for the pony.

Re pony's skills: She's Welsh/Qtr mare, 12yo, 12-2h, beautiful thing, has brothers and sisters winning at pony shows that I found when looking up her sire, but she was said to have probably always been a grandma's pony and probably not really ridden much, sold from breeder (who I talked to on phone) at 18 months, so really only had professional ground-training that we know of. I have not seen the pony trot or canter except on a video with 10-year old child on her and I have only done trot on her, as am riding her bareback, only about 5 times now, since trying to work up my leg strength and enough balance to stay on. Been about 45 years since I've ridden, except to get bucked off a few times by previous Shetland bought for nieces 15 years ago (nice at walk and trot, just bucked at lope, sold him to someone else with full disclosure for pasture companion). That was a cheap pony (also kicked the niece); this is an expensive one, hope I've done a better job at choosing. She seems willing to walk around with me on her and go the direction I point her in, jumped but did not run when deer suddenly appeared 30 years away. Am kind of hoping that this 4H Leader will help the pony learn what is needed in our group sessions, as she charges $40/hr for training and that's way more than I've ever earned, so seems steep to me and being semi-retired now, am feeling pretty stretched with lots of unexpected horse costs, one reason decided will go western, thanks to you all!

Re tapaderos: Thanks, bsms, will save my money and instead go right now to take girl to Wal-Mart to get pair of boots with at least 1" heel. Will have to measure the stirrups and see if need smaller ones for her feet, but probably not, as she's 11 years old. The saddle is 14", as wanted one that would fit me, plus maybe someday the grand-daughter (she's age 7, totally turned off to any riding now that I let the mule buck her off, which is why I'm taking neighbor girl.)

In fact, have to run now to pick up the girl and go get her boots, so will answer any other questions my new friends horse-y friends come up with later. Am so excited to have found this place with all of you willing to give so much good information. Obviously, I'm a fast typist, so sometimes tend to run on too much, but again, Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! --LP
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post #19 of 21 Old 10-21-2016, 10:27 PM
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My BO has bought 2 ponies and a horse by watching videos of them being ridden and they were unable to be ridden when they arrived at her barn-----very sour, not really trained, etc. Many times people making a video will be riding the horse under some sedation to mask problems. I sure hope this isn't the case with your pony. I would be concerned about a young girl of 9-11 riding a pony that is not trained. Even a seemingly nice pony can go south in a hurry when not trained and experienced. I hope I am misunderstanding this situation.
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post #20 of 21 Old 10-21-2016, 10:37 PM
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Buying used tack is your friend when you are just starting out! You can get a lot more tack for your $. There are a ton of very active Facebook groups and there are always saddles. There may also be consignment shops in your area. If not, there are often tack swaps organized by local groups.

I rode Western as a kid and am learning English as an adult. I think English is a lot harder, or else as a kid maybe I just didn't do western right. Admittedly other than a trail ride I haven't ridden western since I was about 14. The barn where we ride starts all of the kids in English. However, I agree that as long as you have a good instructor, for beginning lessons, it won't matter much!
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