February 24, 2011

Western or English?

I’ve been reading a book about the complete trail horse. My desire with horses runs along the pleasure riding spectrum with some mild “competition” in the endurance arena. Sure I’m learning basic dressage but shouldn’t everyone? It’s a basis for a balanced seat and getting a horse balanced as well, it can be applied in any type of riding.

Anyhow, this book discusses the personalities of a trail horse and also how to work with a horse you already have to get them trail savy. One chapter discussed neck reining in depth and a lot of things mentioned made complete sense to me from the trail riding side of things. A lot of times having that free hand is vital while riding on a trail and I can see that while trail riding or endurance racing I might want to take on that approach. Can one train a horse to learn neck reining but yet still do direct reining for dressage?

I definitely see me owning a western type saddle in the future, one that would be a good trail or endurance saddle with a horn to hang things on, lots of rings and surface area to attach thing and certainly the horn is good to grab onto during a steep part of a ride or an unsteady step. Many endurance riders use a hackamore on their horses since it’s a long ride and then they don’t have to worry about a bit when it comes time for hay and water. It seems to be the track I would go myself, no bit means a horse may be more willing to drink water at rest stops and then I wouldn’t have to worry about a dirty crusty bit from a horse eating with one in its mouth. Will my future horse be able to be trained in English/dressage and yet go Western and bit-less on the trail?

Being out in Colorado there is definitely a lot more western riding here. I’ve never liked the show type western pleasure or been much into real big cowboy rodeo stuff. I think cutting could be fun, learn how to get a cow out of the herd and moving into a pen or some such thing. I don’t see why I can’t ride both disciplines but my question is do I need two different horses? I’ll have to run these questions by Laurie. No matter the discipline though, I’ll be wearing my helmet!!!


Checkmark115 said...

my dressage/eventing horse is neck rein trained and we go out on trails all the time. We never use a western saddle since I hate them, but he does go in a western bridle and neck reins. It is definitely possible to do both.

Christie said...

Good to know!!!!

lytha said...

i cannot really remember how we taught baasha to neck rein but it never interfered with his direct reining. i never had a western bridle, and you kind of have to neck rein if you ride a horse that is only wearing a halter and lead rope.

i'm with you - i like english but i would sure love to chase cows someday. my last two saddles were wintec endurance pros. i like them because they're affordable and adjustable. and skito makes a perfect match saddle pad for it.

i'm trying to find a horse sport that i might like here in germany and i'm forced to consider western because it is the new cool thing in germany. every western barn i ask says "sorry we don't have any cows." *sigh*

Mare said...

My horse both direct reins and neck reins, as do many of the horses in my barn. Neck reining is definitely a good skill for a horse to have...