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englishcow

WP, HUS, AND Dressage?

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Hi everyone! Lately I have been thinking about showing in WP and HUS. Tonka was trained for 30 days for HUS (I know, not that much). I think both WP and HUS are fun "disciplines" and Tonka, in the past has enjoyed the loose rein, slow jog and collected lope. But he also will move out and be forward and lengthened. I would love to show Tonka in WP, HUS, and Dressage. Is this possible? Is the change in contact from the bridal and difference of gaits a problem? Has anyone ever been able to train a horse in all three and have great results? The main issue I am concerned about is Tonka, in the past, has had an issue with running off, this was during his dressage training with my last trainer. Would the change in styles and the different feel of the bit and reins confuse him and just encourage him to run off? I know a lot of this is very random, but I have always wanted to show in a breed recognized APHA show. But I don't want to give up dressage. Is any of this possible? [Question] Thanks guys for any opinions! [smiley Wavey]

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I think his dressage training will make him much more athletic and you won't have to work so hard keeping him under himself and together (vs strung out and shuffling) at the slower gaits.

Work with him at home in the bit you'll be showing him in and see what he does. You may have to ease him back into the drapey-rein thing gradually for WP, since he may try to reach for the bit, but I've found that when I put Pokey back into his western "attire" he completely remembers what it was like to be a cow horse and I can feel him settle and just go with it.

For HUS it sounds like he's already able to frame up. You'll need to see if he'll accept a lesser amount of contact (as opposed to what you need in dressage) and still stay consistent and long. I would use a different bit than you're using for dressage, not a tougher one, just a different one. For example, if you use a smooth snaffle for dressage, try a french link or a slow twist, just something so that he can tell he's got some different hardware going on. And it may give you a tad more control if he should try to run off or take advantage of you.

Different bits shouldn't be a problem. You'll have to show WP in a curb anyway.

I know several of my formerly western pals who have taken their rail-wise QH's into dressage and back into the western events with lots of success. It can be done.

[big Grin]

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Thanks deequeue so much for your response! The change of tack is a great way for him to differentiate between the disciplines. I followed your advice, and I rode in a western saddle today and asked for the "jog" not trot. He learned quickly. Fifteen minutes later I changed to my dressage saddle and I asked for the trot, and he didn't even try to jog, he just trotted, a nice forward, with impulsion trot. It was wonderful! Plus, he was so soft in the bridal for dressage after the western, he also did wonderful walk/canter transitions. I think he really enjoys the different disciplines as he is smart and enjoys being challenged with new things. I do however plan to get different bridals for each discipline. For dressage, D-Ring Snaffle bit with flash noseband and caveson dressage bridal with dressage saddle. For Western Pleasure, western bridal, not flash/caveson, curb bit, and western saddle. And for Hunter Under Saddle, english bridal with caveson, no flash, and a loose ring regular snaffle, with my Wintec AP saddle. So far he loves the change of pace and variations of training. I'm so excited! So many new things to learn! Although, I will have to talk to my trainer about the curb bit...I've never used one before. So before I buy one I'll have to consult either my trainer or someone else about this bit. Otherwise, I can't wait! Thanks so much for your great advice and suggestions! [smiley Wavey]

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I have done all of that with my horse, and with great results! We are currently showing first and starting to school 2nd, and he is an awesome HUS horse! I am planning to show him on the APHA circuit just once or twice this year. I probably won't show him in the WP though, becuase he isn't "competitive" enough. Good luck!

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you SHOULD do dressage. Dressage wont hinder the WP or HUS one bit. Dressage isn't about forcing your horse into a frame and having himself only carry himself that way. It should supple him up, balance him and all that good stuff. You have to work in a long stretchy frame in dressage too so your horse wont ever forget that. It should make it easier for him to stretch out into the WP / HUS saddle long neck when you give him a looser rein just by stepping under himself, being more balanced and not just leaning into it which is.. common with HUS.

I ride dressage on my hunter all time.

Yay for dressage! Do it! [smile] haha

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I think the change of tack thing works, but I think horses are more sensitive to your body language. If you are consistent with your aids, he will know what you are asking regardless of the tack. I would think your seat would be change enough.

You might have to try a few bits before you find a good curb he is comfortable with. My gelding who has always gone in a snaffle doesn't like a curb. I saw one at the tack store the other day that I want to try. The shanks are made out of aluminum so the overall weight of the bit is amazingly light. Also, find something with a mild mouthpiece. He may be more comfortable with a broken bit or one that has some flexibility to it. Good luck, I'm at the same stage looking for the right bit.

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Thanks everyone SO much for your replies and advice! You all are so helpful! [Not Worthy]

masterpeace-I am really cautious about putting Tonka in a curb. I've never ridden in anything but a snaffle and same with Tonka. But isn't a curb required in WP? I know the younger horses can be ridden in bosals and snaffles but Tonka is almost five [Frown] Ughh....I'm talking to my trainer on Saturday about the curb bit for him. I guess I'll see what she says! But I'm glad I'm not the only one in this situation! Thanks for your support! [Huggy][smiley Wavey]

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