Down the Line: Western Riding with Leonard Berryhill
In AQHA’s western riding patterns, riders weave back and forth across the arena with plenty of time to change leads. But in every pattern, at some point, the rider must go down the line, changing leads more frequently between closely set cones. For some, it’s terrifying. I’d like to share why it doesn’t have to be.
Slow It Down
According to the AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations, the distance between cones is 30-50 feet, which is plenty of room if you’re walking, but when you’re on a horse, it comes up quickly. The patterns in the rulebook show the desired areas for the lead changes, with penalties for riders who change outside of the desired areas. My goal is always to help riders slow the course down in their minds so they have the composure to change leads in the center between the cones every time. I want the rider to think about cadence, timing, and looking forward to their next spot.
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