Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Alberta, Canada
If you're a good rider it wont matter what way you ride or whether you even have a saddle.
That being said, I rode western my whole life up until last year when I thought i'd try english & so far I really enjoy it.
An instructor I had when I was young & first learning to ride told me something similar to your thread. She taught mainly english but did western as well, and she said that pretty much anyone who rides english can ride western, but not everyone who rides western can ride english.
This being that the english saddle puts you in a completely different position than the western. It props you on the horse's shoulders instead of allowing you to sit back & relax. Your stirrups are generally shorter when riding english than when western as well (again, it has to do with where you are positioned).
Also, with many western riders (not all, of course, but many who just ride for pleasure) a western saddle feels more secure. It holds you in better & you have a horn to hold onto if things get rough or the rider becomes nervous.
There is some debate as to which one is more comfortable, and personally I find both to have their pros and cons, but cannot say which one I like better lol. I like the freedom of the english and the simplicity.
However, I do prefer the cinch on the western to the girth on an english, I like riding western when going for long distances & through bush & if working with a young horse as well.
It's also alot easier on the knees than an english because you typically ride with longer stirrups in a western saddle.
"If a horse fails to do something that is because he was not trained to do it. If a horse fails to do something properly that is because he was not trained properly." www.wildestheartart.com