Ask an Expert

A Great Western Riding Horse

December 7, 2010

Learn what AQHA Professional Horseman Charlie Cole believes it takes to make a great western riding horse.

Question:

What do you think is the difference between a good western riding horse and a great one?

Answer:

I think what makes the difference is their quality of movement and just their general way of going with their expression of their ears, for a great horse that’s what they need to have. A nice western riding horse just does the pattern and is consistent, solid and does the pattern correct, but those that stand out are the good movers and the ones that really enjoy their job.

When you are working with your clients, what are some of the changes they have to make to transition from western pleasure to western horsemanship?

It’s mostly their body position. A pleasure rider tends to sit back and is a little more relaxed in the saddle, whereas a horsemanship rider sits taller and tighter. They keep both arms up and in a square position. In western pleasure, they have the arm relaxed. So it’s definitely body position and sitting up taller and tighter for the horsemanship.

- AQHA Professional Horseman Charlie Cole