Western Riding Basic Principles


Are you into Western riding but you don’t know its basic principles? Do you wish to learn its basic principles? If so, then stop right here!

In this article, we are going to discuss everything that you need to learn about horsemanship. We have jotted down some of the most basic principles of Western riding. Also, we are pretty sure, by the end of this article, you’ll be able to learn them.

Even the most basic tasks that we perform around our horses take a lot of time for both the horse and the rider to understand.

Routine tasks such as leading, haltering, and tying are the most important basic tasks that need to be done correctly. This article contains all the correct steps involved in western riding.


So, without delaying much let’s move ahead to the principles.

Here the list of some of the most basic principles of Western riding

Speed Control While Walking

In this program, the full focus is on the position of riders in the saddle. The focus stays on where and how the rider keeps his/her weight on the saddle. Basically, it tells the speed to slow down or pace up.

Catching a horse:

Catching a horse is not as simple as it looks. The horses have sharp sight and they are pretty sensitive to the human touch. While catching a horse, it involves the three steps or stages. When you want to catch a horse, it means approaching him and then cautiously placing the halter around its neck, by following all these steps:

Organizing Stage :

The very first step is organizing. In this, you are supposed to keep the halter ready. Catching starts when you make your rope and halter ready.

Approaching Stage:

In the next stage, you slowly and safely move next to the horse. This is the most significant part of catching a horse.

Haltering Stage:

And in the last stage, you finally put the halter around the neck of the horse.

Three Snake Trails

In Mayhew’s educational Western riding DVD he explains all the basic principles of the western riding and how he performs a pattern in zigzag that is now called three snake trails.

Direct Bends:

The very first trail is known as the snake trail for direct bends, in that he shows the horse to take a step using his/her front leg.

Reverse or Indirect Trail:

Moving on to the second trial, it is called the reverse or indirect snake trail. In this trial, the horse is taught to take steps all across the ground using his front leg only.

Hip Displacing:

And the last and the third trail is a snake trail known as hip displacing, in the third trail the horse is supposed to move his/her hip.

Besides, in the basic program, all these three practices are very significant. Without these three trails, horse riding is impossible because these trails are the foundation for getting the horse ready.

Circle work along with push-off

This exercise is for the horse to stop their shoulders from dropping and also to put the ribcage of the horse over.

In this basic principle, the riders are supposed to learn one simple thing about seeing a line with the most basic solution.


In the Jogging principle, the horse’s face is softened and squeezed using the legs to assist the horse in lifting his back and to step ahead. After this, the horse is turned loose. Basically, this technique or principle is used to help the horses to slow down and to come at a Jogging speed.


In this exercise, the horse is meant to give his hip without letting his shoulder drop. This helps the horse to take the right lead.

In two-way tracking, the horse is supposed to be straight in every way, from its head, shoulder, neck, ribcage, to the hip and the horse’s face remains soft all along.


So here we go! In this article, we have tried to list down some of the basic principles of horse riding. They are the most important principles which a rider must follow to be good at riding.

We hope that these are helpful to you.