switching from western to english - Page 2

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switching from western to english

This is a discussion on switching from western to english within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Is it bad to switch from western to english riding
  • Does switching from western to English riding cause bad habits

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    01-16-2012, 10:01 AM
I ride both English and western. And it is a huge difference. English is way harder. If you're planning on showing or jumping I would suggest lessons.
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    01-16-2012, 10:03 AM
I switch between English, Australian & western saddles all the time. In terms of rider position, dressage & WP are pretty close. I use more of a chair seat when riding in a western saddle. For Aussie or English saddles, I prefer a forward seat - and if you want to jump, you ought to switch to a forward seat. If you cannot find a teacher to take lessons from, or if money is tight, at least buy a few books and read them carefully. I recommend these:

(see signature for a quote)


Jumping can greatly increase the risk of head injury. The upward thrust of the horse, the landing, and the position create more risk that riding flat. Folks can debate how much, but I've never seen a study put the increase risk at less than 10-fold! Even if money is tight, a half-dozen lessons might save you a big hospital bill later on. Getting it right from the beginning is also much easier than correcting bad habits later...

The essence of a forward seat is to match your balance with the horse's, so that you do not interfere with his motion as he jumps. The books listed above give a lot of detail. Western is probably easier for a beginner to learn without falling. All styles of riding are hard to do well. The challenge in riding is the horse, not the tack.
    01-16-2012, 10:18 AM
Just a note: We recently got a BLM mustang pony. 13 hands. Short back...very short. I couldn't find a western saddle that fit him, so I dug out my jump saddle, put in a narrow-med gullet, and put it on him. It fit his short back well. Got on him with a rope halter.

I guess it felt weird to him, because he took off at a gallop. We did 3 laps at a gallop and 3 more at a canter. Then he stopped, shook himself, seemed to decide "This isn't so bad!" - and then behaved just fine. I weigh around 30% of the mustang's weight, and I'm trying to relearn a forward seat to ease the strain on his back. I also find my other gelding will canter longer, faster and more cheerfully if I use a forward seat when catering in an Aussie saddle. Western saddles aren't designed to be ridden that way, but it has me thinking about ways to make my horse more fluid in a western saddle as well. If I could only own one saddle type, I'd go Aussie as a good all around approach.

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