Western and English Riding

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As I am in Canada, there are a lot of horses up for sale that are trained in Western (rodeo, roping, barrel racing etc.) and some ad's state "can go Western or English". I was just curious as to how you would train a horse for both, and would they not get confused? How easy is it to train a horse from Western to English?

I have no plans on trying to do this, it was more of a wondering really (plus I am procrastinating at work ;))
 

JFTD-WS

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Many of the basics cross over, and many horses who are schooled to neck rein / work off a loose contact / longer rein can also work on a shorter rein / direct steering aids. I don't do western at the moment, but my mare works into a contact English style and also works off neck reining / no contact. She'd be more established either way if she only trained one way, but that's life.
 
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So if you had a horse that had only ever been ridden in English, and then tacked them up in Western they'd be good to go?
 
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That's what I wondered, I was thinking it's a bit like driving manual versus automatic. A lot of the steps are the same, but put someone in a manual car who has only driven automatic and well.........
 

ycbm

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They likely wouldn't, western horses get a bit worried when ridden on a contact, english horses don't really know how to neck rein.


Perfectly possible to teach them both, a friend has one. I'm pretty sure a horse can tell whether you are putting on a western saddle or an English one, too.
 

ycbm

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So if you had a horse that had only ever been ridden in English, and then tacked them up in Western they'd be good to go?

I did it once with my cob. Her swapped to long and low, jogging and neck reining in the blink of an eye!

..
 

JFTD-WS

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So if you had a horse that had only ever been ridden in English, and then tacked them up in Western they'd be good to go?
I also had a cob I did it with donkeys years ago, he certainly did neck rein, worked in a low frame, jog, lope, very different feel to riding him English.

As with anything, it depends on the training. If a horse is trained well, with the basics, it should be able to be tactfully ridden either way, with a bit of training here and there.
 

Kaylum

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My horse could neck rein it's a very good thing to teach them. He could also be ridden bitless. It is just putting the time in to teach them. It is not difficult.
 

asmp

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My horse was western when I bought him over 10 years ago. Remember his eyes opening wide when I did rising trot for the first time! Got rid of his western bit with a big port and huge shanks and put him in a Cambridge snaffle. He very quickly learnt how to ride English and how to jump. His neck reining still comes in handy opening gates though!

ETA he also had to learn to stand still when being mounted as the Gauchos used to leap on the move
 

Snowfilly

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Mum had a welsh cob who did both, depending on what she tacked him up in. His neck reining and spins made him unbeatable in gymkhana games!

Eventers learn what their different tack means for each stage, and lots of sidesaddle horses can be ridden astride... They're really very adaptable.

Contact is the biggest difference, I think.
 

Palindrome

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Perfectly possible to teach them both, a friend has one. I'm pretty sure a horse can tell whether you are putting on a western saddle or an English one, too.
Yes you can teach them, my reply was to OP's post just above (changing tack without training).
Also for western horses it is a sort of punishment not to get a release from the contact even in a snaffle, some get used it but others still dislike it (they speed up or even try to deck you). You can see it at the end of the video when the dressage rider is leaving the arena and the horse is cow hoping. The reins are too short for his liking, same as if you ride a dressage horse on the curb rein.
 

JFTD-WS

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I think the cow horse is flying changing, in a shorter, more uphill / dressage manner rather than "hopping" as such. Obviously if you get on a western horse, in western tack, and take up a heavy "dressage" contact, you'll come into problems. But if you put English tack on a western horse and take up a loose, forgiving contact, you should be able to ride it, with some minor adjustments in style, happily enough. I don't think the OP is asking if a top level western reining horse could perform at a similarly high level in dressage just by changing its tack - more whether the average horse could work both ways, without too much trouble. I think that's generally true - if the basics are trained well, and the rider is fairly tactful / considerate of the horse.
 

ILuvCowparsely

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As I am in Canada, there are a lot of horses up for sale that are trained in Western (rodeo, roping, barrel racing etc.) and some ad's state "can go Western or English". I was just curious as to how you would train a horse for both, and would they not get confused? How easy is it to train a horse from Western to English?

I have no plans on trying to do this, it was more of a wondering really (plus I am procrastinating at work ;))
My late mare was trained english from 3 1/2 up to about 8, when I started western, she did really well, so i would teach a horse one aspect then introduce another.
 

Orangehorse

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Lots of horses do both - maybe not to championship level at the same time, but they do seem to understand the different tack and riding style. Actually useful to do Western as you learn you don't have to hang on the mouth all the time nor keep kicking.
 

splashgirl45

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i used to take the rides at a riding school and all of the lead horses neck reined because it was necessary if you had someone on the lead rein. when i got my own horse i used him as lead horse as part of my livery and he cottoned on straight away how to neck rein, he didnt need to be taught as such, he just learned on the job...seemed very easy to me. i also rode western when i was on holiday and had no problem adjusting as its almost the same as english IMO..
 

TPO

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It's a misnomer that western horse's aren't ridden in a contact. They definitely are in a "contact" and "on the bit" (not a fan of that expression) if they are properly schooled and being ridden correctly; same as english. It is simply a different kind of contact from that usually seen in English.

It can look like a loose/no contact because there is a bow in the reins. Generally speaking the reins are of a heavier weight and that loop in the reins keeps the shanked bit steady/still/vertical.
 

mule

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It's a misnomer that western horse's aren't ridden in a contact. They definitely are in a "contact" and "on the bit" (not a fan of that expression) if they are properly schooled and being ridden correctly; same as english. It is simply a different kind of contact from that usually seen in English.

It can look like a loose/no contact because there is a bow in the reins. Generally speaking the reins are of a heavier weight and that loop in the reins keeps the shanked bit steady/still/vertical.
I can't imagine a reiner having the balance to do its' work if it had a hollow back with it's head stuck up in the air.
 
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