Western Pleasure

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Arena Exercises for Fun & Problem-Solving

If you've fallen into a riding rut, try our 10 basic arena exercises. They'll have you moving in a whole new direction

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Turn On The Lights

While it’s always a good thing to take on new knowledge and learn about equine science, spending time under a reading light will rarely supply the lightbulb moment that kicks in once you get your boots in the stirrups.

Your first impression on the judge in the show ring sets the stage for your performance. This rider’s ready to impress with her clean, professional appearance, her horse’s keen expression, and her overall confident demeanor.

Make a Good First Impression

Andrea Simons shows our reader how to make a great first impression on the judge—and maybe nab that next blue ribbon!

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Sandy Collier's Western Horse Training Secrets

World champion trainer Sandy Collier shares her core horse training secrets in her book, 'Reining Essentials: How to Excel in Western?s Hottest Sport,' adapted for Horse & Rider magazine.

Western Dressage: Leg Yield to Lope Depart

Think dressage is unrelated to the Western riding you do? In this slideshow, Al Dunning shows you a dressage-based exercise, the leg-yield that puts your horse in the perfect position for a smooth, collected lope on the correct lead.

Click 'n Learn: Teach Your Horse Self-Carriage

Watch several techniques to teach your horse self-carriage, an imperative skill for Western pleasure competition.

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Keep Those Shoulders Up: Mastering Self-Carriage

Understanding the concept of self-carriage and how to maintain it will help you instill balance and consistency in your horse--both of which are essential in Western pleasure classes.

Click 'n Learn: Shoulders Up with Karen Qualls

Is your horse a heavy-on-the-forehand jogger? Use this exercise to lift his shoulders and restore his rear-end drive.

Photo by Cappy Jackson

Improve Your Western Horse's Responsiveness with the Forehand Pivot

Trainer David Dellin shows you how to use the forehand pivot to improve your Western pleasure horse's movement and responsiveness.

Photo Gallery: Improve Your Western Horse's Responsiveness with the Forehand Pivot promo image

Photo Gallery: Improve Your Western Horse's Responsiveness with the Forehand Pivot

Western pleasure trainer David Dellin shows you how to use the forehand pivot to improve your western pleasure horse's movement and responsiveness.

Western Riding Lesson with Charlie Cole promo image

Western Riding Lesson with Charlie Cole

Team Horse & Rider's Charlie Cole gives Horse & Rider magazine's managing editor, Alana Harrison, a taste of what it's like to ride a top-level Western show horse. It's harder (and way cooler!) than it looks.

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How to Beat Show Nerves

Nervousness hindering your performance? World-champion pro and coach Carol Metcalf helps you kick those horse show jitters and nerves to the curb.

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Conformation Clinic: Western Pleasure Prospects

Evaluate the conformation of these 3-year-old colts and place them in your order of preference for a Western pleasure prospect, then see how your choices compare with our expert judge's.

Rugged Lark and Carol Harris unwind at Bo-Bett Farm in Ocala, Fla. | Photo courtesy of Carol Harris

Remembering Remarkable Rugged Lark

Take a look back at two-time American Quarter Horse Superhorse Rugged Lark and the women in his life.

Western Pleasure: Does Your Horse Anticipate? promo image

Western Pleasure: Does Your Horse Anticipate?

Drifting into the center of the arena isn't the preferred way to end a Western pleasure class. Re-educate your show horse to follow your directions with these tips from a champion trainer.