Transitioning Horse from Western to English - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-09-2015, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Transitioning Horse from Western to English

I'm just wondering how difficult it would be to transition a horse used primarily in western trail riding to English pleasure?

When looking for a horse, and wanting to focus on English riding, do you only search for those trained under an English saddle?
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-09-2015, 05:33 PM
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A well trained horse is a well trained horse. Period. It doesn't matter what tack you have on their back.

When you get more advanced and specialized for a certain event (reining, dressage, barrel racing, hunter, etc) then of course there will be slight differences in how you want the horse to travel and how you will cue them to do as such. But BASIC fundamentals are the same, no matter what discipline you ride.

Are you wanting to show? Or simply enjoy your horse with English tack?

If just enjoying your horse, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

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post #3 of 9 Old 04-09-2015, 05:35 PM
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Your question leads to many other questions. The most obvious are:

How was this horse trained for Western trail riding?

and

How do you plan on training the horse for English pleasure riding?

The saddle itself is of little significance. The language used to communicate between rider and horse is the most important factor.
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post #4 of 9 Old 04-09-2015, 05:49 PM
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Agree with what's been said, we need much more info. But in the end tack is just tack.

All western horses should be trained to both direct rein (two hands) and neck rein (one hand). When starting a young western horse under saddle, the animal spends some time in a snaffle bit doing direct reining. Then, once the horse has a good understanding of steering the rider adds leg, seat, and neck rein cues to begin their neck reining training. Once their neck rein is good in a snaffle, they are graduated to a curb where they neck rein ONLY. But this doesn't mean that they have forgotten how to direct rein - the training is still there.

If your horse's background is western only, and you currently neck rein, then your horse should also understand how to direct rein.

Either way your horse can direct rein. If your horse can direct rein then you can go English with zero problems. I've never had a problem going back to direct reining, even on a horse who had only been neck reining for years. Direct reining is very straightforward so the horse will pick it back up very easily.

Have fun!
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post #5 of 9 Old 04-09-2015, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillowNightwind View Post

All western horses should be trained to both direct rein (two hands) and neck rein (one hand).
Just wanted to add that even though you may not ride an English horse one-handed, most well-trained English horses do know how to neck rein and should be trained for it. Your outside "supporting" rein is very fundamental for your rein aids for the English horse and they know how to move away from it.

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post #6 of 9 Old 04-09-2015, 06:32 PM
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I will say I think the hardest part of transitioning is constant contact as is often seen in English horses.. BUT you do not need to ride with constant contact and as long as you go slow the horse will learn (assuming the rider is also used to this and has good hands)
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post #7 of 9 Old 04-09-2015, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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My main focus right now is just working on building my skills as a rider, but eventually I may want to show just for fun.

I would be working with a trainer, so I thought it shouldn't be much of an issue as long as the horse had the temperament I was looking for, I figured we could learn together.
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post #8 of 9 Old 04-09-2015, 07:29 PM
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It really just starts with different tack. Take it from there. What specific discipline do you currently do and what are you looking at? Or just riding lol
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post #9 of 9 Old 04-09-2015, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Yogiwick View Post
It really just starts with different tack. Take it from there. What specific discipline do you currently do and what are you looking at? Or just riding lol
Not doing anything YET, lol. I meet with the trainer this weekend. The one that interests me most is Hunter though. I've been looking at gaited trail horses because that is foremost what I love to do, but I've never been a fan of the big bulky western saddles and as a kid, preferred to ride bareback most days. The few times I've worked with a trainer have been English and with American Saddlebreds.

There's supposed to be a big horse event this weekend that the trainer wanted to hang out with me at so I can get a feel for some of the different events, but it's likely going to be canceled due to bad weather.
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