Western Pleasure

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.”

Developing the Concept of Collection in Your Horse's Brain and Body

With Loris Epis - Collection is not about putting the horse's head down or slowing the speed or tempo of the gait. Instead, think about collection as a well-balanced feel of softness and control through the horse's entire body.

Desensitizing the "Quirky" Horse

By Lindsay Grice - I’ve had several horses in my program that, despite their talent, were extremely frustrating in their early competitive years. After investing many years of consistent training they eventually desensitized to the situations that would formerly set them off. Now, as mature horses, they are successful, versatile competitors.

Teaching Your Horse to Neck Rein

By Lindsay Grice - Moving from direct reining in a snaffle bit to neck reining in a curb is like teaching your horse a new language and it takes time. Like every child graduates from elementary to high school, neck reining is the next step in a Western horse’s education. By the time your horse is six, he must be ridden with one hand and a curb bit at the breed shows.

Basics of Western Pleasure

By Lynn Baber - Western pleasure classes are included in most breed and open circuit horse shows. Horse owners looking for ways to have more fun with their horses often pick the pleasure class as the first attempt in their new show career.