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Western Riding

Horse Illustrated covers anything you can think of related to western riding, including how-tos, tips from experts, discipline specifics, and more. Disciplines included are: western pleasure, western dressage, reining, speed events like barrel racing, and cattle events like cutting and team penning. Many riders start out riding in this style, especially in the Western states, and then progress into one of the disciplines above. Some of the topics covered include introducing your horse to cattle, how to ride the rollback, how to cue the lope, how to go bitless, selecting a hat for the show pen, showmanship, and much more.

If you’d like to truly "show off” your horse at a horse show, you can’t do much better than to enter him in a halter class. This ground-based class might appear a bit like showmanship at first, but unlike...
It’s no fun to ride a horse that needs to be pushed constantly to stay in a lope. It feels like pedaling a bicycle when you must use your legs in rhythmic cues knowing the horse will break gait...
Whether it’s showmanship, horsemanship, trail, western riding or ranch classes, pattern competition helps show a judge the skills you and your horse have mastered through precision and correctness. If your horse acts antsy in the pattern class, dancing in...
A fast-stopping horse sliding into a cloud of dust is an icon for western riding. Horses in reining classes stop with sliders on their back hooves to accentuate downward transitions. In cow horse classes, the horse’s stop blocks the...
To compete in reining or working cow horse competitions, your horse will need to turn quickly in response to your cues. In reining, the move is a “turnaround,” or spin—the horse moves forward around a pivot foot and continues...
Crossing water is one of those things that’s either fun to do with your horse, or it’s exasperating—there doesn’t seem to be much middle ground. However, if a horse is trained to cross water willingly, it’s easy and very...
Barrel racing isn’t only about going fast. To round the three barrels in a barrel racing pattern with precision as well as a fast time, classical horsemanship skills apply.If you’ve ever wanted to...
In reining or working cow horse competitions, you’ll need to show that your horse can change leads on command while keeping a steady loping cadence. To score well in these western classes, you’ll need to perform lead changes as...
Just because many horses move off when their riders try to mount, it doesn’t mean that the issue isn’t a serious one. It can range from inconvenient to downright dangerous if your horse takes off when you’re halfway on....
"The extended trot, or the long trot, is the signature move of ranch riding,” says trainer and showman Aaron Ralston. “No other western show event requires your horse to stay in a long trot instead of a lope.”In the...
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