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I've been doing dressage with my greenie for about a year now.. still working on basic suppleness and contact, getting on the bit without being braced/stiff (she has arthritis even though she's only 6 which provides a bit of an issue to really drive from behind sometimes), etc.

We used to do plenty of trail riding when we were back in our non-serious English pleasure days and I think it would be fun for both of us to get back on the trail. Yeah, I know I can in a dressage saddle, but honestly with some recent spooks (one of which resulted in a rather uncomfortable fall), I would feel more comfortable in a western saddle, especially considering the fact that I would often be going out alone and I would rather be safe than sorry.

Do you think it would confuse her to use a western bridle/saddle instead of the dressage bridle/saddle, to do some fun trail crosstraining and have some fun in that way together? I think it would do some good to get out of the ring, as long as we are both comfortable with it... or is that sort of crosstraining too big of a jaunt from the dressage training? Thanks!
 

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No, all my training is in dressage principles. That goes for my dressage horse and my western pleasure horse! The only time I put a curb in my WP mare is at the horse show.
 

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I train and show low level dressage...hoping to continue move up.... and trail ride too. When on the trail I use my endurance saddle and a bosal. It has not hurt my dressage training a bit. I think the cross training keeps my horse fresh, relaxed, and happier.

Go for it!
 

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Ultimately, no, it will not mess up your dressage training by trail riding in western tack. I would stick with a snaffle bit though. In fact, you could work on your dressage training on the trail. On wider trails while walking try leg yielding from one edge to the other. If you get good at that then go from one edge directly back to the other edge by leg yielding. Or in the walk, do haunches in for a short spell, both sides. Or shoulder-in. Or just work on getting a really active forward walk with connection so that the horse is really stepping up and under and has to round their back. <br />
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The tack (assuming snaffle) doesn't matter. Now if you're going to switch out the bit to a curb, or something, then that will prevent you from teaching the horse about contact while on the trail. It's not a bad thing to do (as long as you don't make them scared of the bit), but then the time spent trail riding is not as conducive to dressage training. Personally, I like to sneak in dressage training on the trail. It helps keep my horse attentive to me, and it allows me to relax the horse and change his/her frame of mind if the horse is nervous. Plus it's fun for both of us.

eta: I'm training Third, showing Second.
 

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A trail is no different to the horse whether it's in a western saddle or a dressage saddle. A trail is a trail, it is not training for a specific discipline.
No reason in the world why it would set your Dressage training back - many Dressage horses including my own go out on trails regularly.
Look at Valegro, he goes out twice a week.
 
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