Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
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The differences between balanced riding, English or Western, blurs, and only the tack is really different. It used to be that people that wanted to ride right away would buy a "Western" horse and tack and the folks who wanted to show English Pleasure or Hunter/Jumper or Dressage would look down on them as "uneducated." This isn't really true anymore. It's ALL fair, and there are just as many untrained and unsafe English horses as Western horses out there for sale!!! =b
NOW, so many Western riders post the trot in a Western saddle, that I seem to be the only one who had an older "cowboy" mentor, who told me, "Cowboys don't trot their horses, just walk and lope."
I recommend lessons in English. PLEASE go and check out several places. You are looking for a place that teaches children to ride, bc their lesson horses are less likely to run off with the rider. I learned what to expect from well trained lesson horses, and therefore, what I could reasonably expect from my own horses, when I finally bought them.
When you've put in enough hours under saddle you will find yourself riding sometimes on a slack rein, sometimes direct reining with contact, sometimes riding in 2-point (like Western tack, climbing a steep trail, out of the saddle and holding the mame), sometimes sitting a trot, sometimes posting a trot--you get the picture. The only time you really see a pure example of a discipline is at a National Championship class. All Dressage riders stretch their horses on a loose rein, all Western riders choke up for control at a gallop, and even those with split reins will tie them together, sometimes so their horse doesn't step on them.