Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
Recently I have done the opposite of you - I've been riding English for going on 15 years, and have just started riding in western saddles and getting into that style.
When I went to get on in a western saddle with my helmet and jodhpurs, well my friend made fun of me a bit. So I tried riding with jeans and spent a couple of minutes pulling and moving so my jeans sat right, and leaning over trying to get my foot in a swinging fender stirrup. I probably looked super silly. But it's all pretty easy. It took me about two rides to "give up" my dressage position, and let my leg inch forward a tad so I could do rising trot without bruising my thighs, but now it feels pretty normal.
You don't have to wear english gear to start with, you can still wear jeans and ariats until you get the hang of things, and as an english rider I'd more often wear tight pants rather than proper riding pants, just due to the cost.
I don't know what you're used to but if you're not used to riding with a contact then I think that will be a change. And a much smaller saddle, and really having to choose where you put your legs! I think you'll pick it up fine. A lot of riding is feel, and if you have that you just have to learn the technical stuff.
English riders... well to be honest I don't think they are as friendly. It's not because they ride English, but I think because of the people who get into each discipline. A lot of western riders are country people who, in my opinion, are more friendly in general, where as most English riders in my experience tend to be city people, and people who otherwise live non-horsey lives. And city people never seem as friendly.
I think you're over thinking it, I think you'll be fine, you just need to get the hang of it :-D
Last edited by Saskia; 06-17-2013 at 08:13 AM.