A western riding horse, just as a pleasure horse, must travel in a blanced frame on a reasonably loose rein, while executing gait transitions and flying lead changes every three to four strides through a prescribed pattern. While the western riding horse can travel at a speed slightly faster than the winning western pleasure horse, he must maintain a consistent rate throughout the pattern.
For horsemanship, you can show your horse on a little tighter rein, as the judging is on the rider, not the horse. In this class, your horse must be very obedient and respond immediately to your invisible cues.
He must be able to walk, jog, lope, back, extend the trot and lope, turn on the haunches or forehand and change leads on command. To facilitate your ability to ride quietly and without too muchmotion, your horse should be smooth to ride.
To prepare for your show experience, regardles of the class, you should spend time on exercises to make your horse supple and soft. If he is releaxed and in a pleasant frame, he will be competitive over horses that travel with their back hollowed out and their hindquartes not engaged. Help your horse learn to travel in a collected manner by spending time riding at all the gaits in large circles, paying particular attention to keeping your circles round. After completing two or three revolutions, stop and execute a turn on the haunches to the outside of the direction of travel, then move right off in the other direction, with your horse bent properly in the direction of travel. This will help him engage his hindquarters. While traveling at the lope, keep his hindquarters ever so slightly to the inside and help him to hold his shoulders up with your reins for two or three strides while driving him up with your legs. Release for several strides, or until you feel the quality of the gait begins to deteriorate, then pick him up again for a few strides, and release again.
Article is printer here with permission from Horseillustrated.com