Category: Western

What makes a barrel racer?

Most people in the horse world have at least heard of barrel racing: a somewhat controversial rodeo event that consists of a three-leaf clover pattern around three barrels and the…
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Equine Stage Fright: Fixing Rough Lope Transitions

Transitions are a sticking point for many riders, especially the lope transition. Even if you get everything perfectly set up, asking for a lope transition can often lead to balking,…
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The difference between the reining horse and the cow horse

Reining horses and reined cow horses, the flashy show-offs of the western showpen. We admire them with their grace, beauty, and refinement, but what is the difference between the two…
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Mastering the Reining Spin

There are many methods for achieving a reining spin, but the method we will discuss today involves 3 exercises: the backing exercise, the star exercise, and the spiral exercise. Prerequisites…
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Teaching the Western Roll-back

The roll-back is a vital maneuver for the western showpen, especially for reining and cowhorse class. Fortunately, it is a relatively simple maneuver once you break it down. Prerequisites 1.…
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The Secrets of the Sidepass

Sidepassing is an important maneuver to master for the western showpen. Many pattern classes – especially ranch horse classes – will ask for sidepassing maneuvers. Sidepassing can be done over…
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The Anatomy of Collection

Collection, the great holy grail of horsemanship. It’s the unicorn many amateur riders spend years of practice and thousands of dollars chasing. In its simplest form, collection is raising the…
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Ranch Halter: The Most Overlooked Versatility Class

Ranch Versatility has taken the stock horse show circuit by storm, providing a fresh arena for competitors to flock to. Versatility is generally made up of six classes -- ranch riding,…
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Patterning: Barrels, Poles, and Beyond

There are many different philosophies out there about how to “pattern” a horse on barrels or poles. One prevalent method that I see a lot though is what I refer…
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Slower doesn’t mean collected

There seems to be a bit of a disconnect for some riders in the western show pen. There is still a misconception for some riders that slower somehow means collected.…
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Why being on the forehand is detrimental to your horse

Last week we discussed the importance of knowing the ‘why’ behind everything you do with your horse. Here is an important ‘why’ that is sometimes skipped over because so many…
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1 Exercise To Collect the Trot and Extend the Walk

For some riders, getting that collected western trot and a forward walk that doesn’t look like the horse is wading through molasses is a constant battle. I have found that…
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Teaching the Western Backup

The western backup is one of the maneuvers that is seen as simple by so many, but actually takes quite a bit of training to get all the pieces in…
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3 Exercises Every Horse Needs to Know (Part 3): Yielding the Hindquarters

This is part 3 of a series covering my 3 most important exercises that every horse needs to know to make them a safe riding companion: Lunging Lateral flexion at…
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3 Exercises Every Horse Needs to Know (Part 2): Lateral Flexion of the Poll (not the neck)

This is part 2 of a 3-part series that will cover my 3 most important exercises that every horse needs to know to make them a safe riding companion: Lunging…
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