Western Horse Training Tips

Get in the saddle and improve your western horse training skills in Western horsemanship, showmanship at halter, reining, working cow horse, Western pleasure, and more. Find ways to improve your Western horsemanship patterns and trail patterns. From the horse showing arena to ground work in the round pen to trail riding on your horse, we have all the horse training tips for you.

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Speed Transitions, With Trevor Dare

Don’t let an increase or decrease in speed at the lope put you in the penalty box. Learn how to prepare your horse for speed transitions at home so you can show mastery of them when it counts.

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Secrets to Stop a Spin

A precise end to a set of spins keeps you out of the penalty box and prevents your horse from developing bad habits.

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Take a Stab at Working Equitation!

Working equitation is a fascinating equestrian sport imported from Europe. Try this fun exercise to give you and your horse a taste of what it’s all about.

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Destination Addiction

There’s a common misconception among horses and humans that what we want lies somewhere else. It’s why horses graze on the other side of a fence when the grass is just as green and lush on their side. And why humans long for something—tangible or not—that we don’t have. I call focusing on that other place or thing we want “destination addiction.” Here I’ll discuss why destination addiction can hamper your training and riding progress and how to move away from it once and for all.

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Riding With a Hackamore or Bosal

The hackamore plays a pivotal role in traditional training for reined cow horses, following the snaffle bit. It allows you to use direct-rein cues, just like a snaffle, but begins to introduce the concept of neck reining. That concept is further honed with the two-rein setup and then eventually the bridle. But the hackamore isn’t exclusive to reined cow horses. You can incorporate it into your training program, no matter your area of interest.

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Effective Gait Transitions

Whether you’re a beginner or advanced, ride trails or rails, effective speed transitions are an essential part of your horsemanship. Controlled, smooth changes of gait make for a more enjoyable ride for you and your horse—less bouncing around, fumbled cues, and confusion for your horse. And they net you a better score if you compete. Here I’ll explain how one of my young riders works on her transitions to eventually make them effortless and almost invisible.

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Simplify the Turn

There’s a secret subtlety when it comes to turns for any type of riding. It involves you following your horse’s movement and staying out of his way. Really—it’s that simple. Your horse notices everything you do in the saddle, so you can inadvertently get in his way without even knowing it. Here I’ll explain how something as simple as turning your torso away from the turn hinders your horse’s turning ability.

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The Finer Points of Fencing

Use this schooling technique for the right reasons and in the correct way to improve your horse’s rundown and stop.

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Get Your Horse Moving

This exercise challenges and promotes your in-saddle balance so you can begin to develop a truly independent seat.

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Ace Your Pivot

Perfect your horse’s turnaround with these helpful tips and troubleshooting pointers.

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Effective Gait Transitions

Whether you’re a beginner or advanced, ride trails or rails, effective speed transitions are an essential part of your horsemanship. Controlled, smooth changes of gait make for a more enjoyable ride for you and your horse—less bouncing around, fumbled cues, and confusion for your horse. And they net you a better score if you compete. Here I’ll explain how one of my young riders works on her transitions to eventually make them effortless and almost invisible.

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Ride Off the Rail

It’s easy for you or your horse to become dependent on the rail when you’re riding. Break out of your comfort zone and ride off the rail with these exercises.

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Fix Showmanship Dullness

Leslie Lange offers advice on how to fix dullness and achieve light contact in showmanship patterns.

Confidence and correctness will help you improve your showmanship score at your next horse show.

Showmanship Tune-Up

Mastering the showmanship starts at home. Here I’ll offer some advice and share different exercises you can practice with your horse to improve your score.

Precise halter fit enhances a horse’s features and improves your handle in a showmanship, performance halter, or halter class.

Best Show-Halter Fit

Adjust your show halter properly for an eye-appealing look and precise function in the competitive arena.

Schooling at horse shows has increased dramatically—and that’s fine. But remember to respect the judge, the spectators, and your trainer’s program by keeping a professional appearance.

School With Class

Schooling is one thing. Disrespecting the judge and the spectators is another.

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Your Horse-Blanket Problems, Solved

Readers share their blanketing concerns, and we help solve them. Learn from their situations to pick the right cover for your horse this winter.

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Hackamore Tie Rope

An integral part of the hackamore, the mecate tie rope served a historic function for vaqueros that lives on today.

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Gallop Poll: Number of Western Saddles You Own?

Western saddles come in countless variations for different types of riding disciplines and breeds of horse. How many Western saddles do *you* own? Please let us know by participating in H&R’s Gallop Poll.

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Snaffle-Bit Smart

This simple, go-to piece of tack has more going for it than you might know. Learn about proper use and different styles of snaffles.