Western Pleasure

With Lyle Jackson, By Jess Hallas-Kilcoyne - In reining, rhythm, or “cadence,” is necessary when it comes to executing all aspects of a well ridden pattern. The horse should be balanced and responsive while willingly accepting the riders aids which should appear seamless. Establishing a consistent rhythm which can be adjusted accordingly is one of the fundamental building blocks that will assist the rider in achieving the ultimate goal in reining, which is a horse who appears to be executing a flawless pattern without the interference of the rider.

Matthew Hudson explains collection for the reining horse

With Matthew Hudson - When a horse is collected – which means that he is engaged from behind and elevated up front and light in the mouth – it is much easier for him to perform any required task, especially the demanding manoeuvres of a reining pattern. If we can make it easier for the horse, then, in turn, he will be more willing mentally to try. If you try to get your horse to spin or do a sliding stop when he is strung out, hollow-backed with most of his weight on the forehand, high-headed, and heavy in your hands, it won’t be easy for you or the horse, and it definitely won’t be pretty.

Shaping Your Horse's Canter

By Lindsay Grice - Shaping, in learning science, refers to gradually teaching a new behaviour through reinforcement until the target behaviour is achieved. Have you ever played the “Hot and Cold” game? As the player gets closer to the prize, you yell “Hotter!” telling him that he’s on the right track. When my horse is on the right track, I reward his approximation of the behaviour. I call this rewarding the thought, or rewarding a try.

Improving Impulsion in the Reining Horse

With Jonathan Newnham - All reining horses must go forward powerfully. Good impulsion is necessary for a horse to effectively use the power in his hindquarters and back. A hollow-backed horse will not be soft on your hands and/or legs without the maximum use of his hind end, back, withers, and neck.

Steer Your Horse to Straightness

With Cheryl Mitchell - A horse is said to be straight when he is moving forward with the head, neck, shoulder, rib, and hip in alignment. That alignment can be literally straight if you’re riding a straight line, but if you’re riding a circle, the horse’s body has to bend with the circle line to be considered straight.

Western Performance Horse Bloodlines

By Jess Hallas-Kilcoyne - “Tried and true bloodlines are your best starting point for selecting a prospect, but then you have to go with the horse as an individual because you can have great bloodlines but the horse isn’t always going to live up to the standard of those bloodlines,” says Canadian reining trainer, coach, and competitor Cheryl Mitchell. “Once in a while, you’ll get one without the bloodlines that ends up being a superstar, but that’s less common.”

Choosing a Western Pleasure Horse

By Jess Hallas-Kilcoyne - According to the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) 2012 handbook, “A good [Western] pleasure horse has a free-flowing stride of reasonable length in keeping with his conformation. He should cover a reasonable amount of ground with little effort. Ideally, he should have a balanced, flowing motion, while exhibiting correct gaits that are of proper cadence. The quality of the movement and the consistency of the gaits is a major consideration.”

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