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Hello! I am needing help training my western reiner to switch to english dressage full time! She is a 6 year old! She is very stocky, and she is very smart and is a quick learner! I鈥檓 not sure what else to say, but hopefully that is enough. Please ask anymore questions about her if needed馃槉
 

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How long has she been reining? Did she show? If she is a well-trained reiner, then it's not really a matter if she can do it, but more of a matter of if you can do it. How much experience do you have with dressage? I suggest getting a dressage trainer to help you. There are a lot of aspects in dressage that are similar to reining, but there are also lot of aspects that are different. For example, your hands. Reiners tend one-haded and drape (the reins) and ride mostly off seat and legs. Of course, dressage riders use their seat and legs, but they also tend to ride two-handed and in contact. Having extra, high-quality eyes on the ground is a good thing, even if you do know what to do.

Keep in mind the "dressage" means "training." Almost all horses can (and should) do at least low-level dressage. But to be good at it, conformation, mental attitude, and fitness play a part. Dressage horses are horses that should be okay with accepting a lot of aids from the rider. Cutting horses, for example, tend to be more independent when cutting a cow. Yes, they are well trained, but they also know their job and can do it well with less aid from the rider. Reining horses usually are okay with accepting a lot of aids. So, if she is a good reiner, she probably has the mentality/personality for a dressage horse. She is also probably okay with being in an arena. I bring this up because some horses do not like to be "micromanaged" or "took control of" for most of the ride; some like to be more independent. Some horses also despise the arena; they do best on the trails. Mentality/personality does play a part to help find a discipline that your horse enjoys doing.
 

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For what i鈥檝e known if she has been a reiner ever since she started being saddle broke, Yes she has shown quite a bit, i have am currently a hunter and will be moving to a new barn and a dressage trainer. i used to do dressage a few years ago, but i have only done intro level. I am just wanting to start the very basics with her. She is very accepting about aids. Thank you!
 

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For what i鈥檝e known if she has been a reiner ever since she started being saddle broke, Yes she has shown quite a bit, i have am currently a hunter and will be moving to a new barn and a dressage trainer. i used to do dressage a few years ago, but i have only done intro level. I am just wanting to start the very basics with her. She is very accepting about aids. Thank you!
Good! Then I think that you're all set!

What bit is she in? Don't reiners usually ride in a curb? When starting a horse in dressage, most people like to use a snaffle of some sort. Here (link 2) is a guide to dressage-legal bits.
 

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I now have a western pleasure gelding and I ride dressage so he is now doing that. The one big difference is the contact. He was responsive to seat and leg aides but riding with contact was something that took a bit of time. Also moving forward at the trot was a bit confusing for him, we handled that best by going out in the fields and just letting him move out, no canter but encourage the trot to be forward and he got the idea and seemed to like it.
In schooling, pushing the trot took a bit of time as he would think I was asking for a canter.
We are doing ok now but I didn't rush him as it was a different style for him.
We did well this year at virtual dressage shows but he will never excel and go on to higher levels as he just doesn't have that impulsion and natural forwardness, he does his best but it was not what he was bred for. But for lower levels he will do ok.
A reining horse may be better suited for dressage. Enjoy your horse and many good rides together. A trainer/coach can help a lot too.
 

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Not all horses are cut out for or care for the job you assign. If you wanted to do dressage and knew you wanted to compete then that is what you should have looked for. Why buy a reiner? It doesn't make since. A coach isn't going to head for ballet class to find his next star quarterback. Sure a quarter back can be asked to do ballet. A dancer can be asked to play football. Would either be truly happy if their heart and passion weren't in the task set before them?


I suspect a very young rider that needs a trainer and perhaps a different horse if expected to compete.
 

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Okay, first of all, this horse was a very good horse for me right now. Only one that worked out and didn鈥檛 buck me off. I am not trying to do higher levels of dressage, and she loves learning new things. She is ready for a new discipline and i chose dressage. At the moment i am a hunter jumper and will be moving to a dressage barn in a few months... I鈥檓 very confused what you said about her being happy? She is very happy and i don鈥檛 understand why you care so much about her being a reiner and isn鈥檛 possible for her to do dressage.. I believe she can.. I am also confused on that last sentence..
 

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My first horse did dressage, English, western, speed events, trail, parades, drill team. He wasn't perfect but he could pin in everything we did. (Well... maybe not the speed events because he had a tendency to rear) but we did EVERYTHING. I dabbled in it all and he was a willing participant. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with switching up the disciplines. Especially if you are talking local level stuff. By the way - there is NOTHING wrong with local level stuff.

It's about having fun and building relationships. When you are ready to move up and pick a discipline that you want to stick with then you can consider if you need a different horse but for what you are asking. Totally fine. Enjoy. And if your horse is in a snaffle then you shouldn't have any issues.
 
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Most horses can do lower level dressage, if the rider wants to do low level dressage. No reason why a reiner couldn't do training-1st level. Just might take some patience and time, depending on how she was trained.

I've retrained horses from other disciplines for dressage, I actually don't think it is that difficult to convert a reiner to a dressage horse. Saddle seat to dressage is really difficult to convert but the ones I've converted from western to basic dressage were pretty straight forward. Contact can take a little time and understanding half halts and the different aiding system but to me I sort of approached it like they're a green horses with some miles and broke the aiding system down and didnt over pressure. Western pleasure, reining, cutting, gaming, and trail horses. And when I say convert, trained them to training-1st. They weren't really built to go past that, mostly just rode them in balance and on contact and didnt ask for much.
 

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I had a nice Appy/Arab that I showed in multiple classes. Western pleasure, equitation, reining, western riding, trail, eng pleasure, eng equitation, hunter over fences and open jumper, he placed in all classes and won year end awards. my goal with this horse was to win the English overall Championship and the Western overall Championship all in one year, came very close to doing it;
Most horses can do different disiplines in lower level classes it just takes a little time to learn to work together and consistency with the aides.

most of my horses could go to local shows and show successfully in both English and Western classes
 
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