From Western to English - Page 2

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From Western to English

This is a discussion on From Western to English within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    10-09-2012, 06:22 PM
Think of it as learning to ride a bike. The first many times, you had no balance, had to use training-wheels, and when the trainers came off, you probably tipped over and hit your knees and head several times before your brain started teaching your muscles to react to the movement by shifting your balance without you even thinking about it. Muscle-memory is what keeps you upright on a bike.

Same thing going to English. You're going to be wobbly to begin with. Soon you'll be sitting solid without even having to think about it and wonder how you ever could have been wobbly.
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    10-09-2012, 11:06 PM
Originally Posted by KJsDustyDash    
Also, myw05419, I really do have to get over my fear of falling. I've come off a lot riding young greenbroke horses, but on older horses I become afraid. Any tips to get over that?
Well, getting over the fear of falling off takes time and happens differently for different people. I was terrified of falling at first but once it happened I knew it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. When I fall, this might sound weird, but I kind of go in slow-motion almost. I can feel myself falling so then I plan on how to fall so I don't get hurt. I usually end up curling into a ball and rolling away haha. Every fall isn't the same but, what you have to remember is to get back up there and try again. Never not get back on the horse after a fall, unless you really can't get back on (if you've broken something). Older horses have probably also had a lot of riders fall off them before so they'll be careful when you do fall.
Don't worry everyone falls off at some point! Just remember it's never as bad as you anticipate it to be and get back on that horse!
    10-10-2012, 12:21 PM
Freia, your ideas and tips are great. Logically I can see how I coul retrain myself efficiently with them. One problem...vthe sheer thought of not having stirrups sends me into a panic. And posting without stirrups? I nearly cried just reading about it. Although I think it might have the added benefit of getting me over my fear of falling.
Jeez when did I get this nervous about horses? Before University I would just try anything with hair...
    10-10-2012, 04:29 PM
Originally Posted by KJsDustyDash    
One problem...vthe sheer thought of not having stirrups sends me into a panic.
Baby-steps. Put the saddle on a hay-bale, with something under it to support it to protect the tree and to get the position right (cantle slightly higher than the pommel). Sit on the hay-bale-saddle without stirrups and get the feel for it. Don't hold the saddle with your hands. If you don't want to look stupid with your arms out, then rest your palms on your thighs. Have someone come and yank the saddle around a little bit and try not to get dislodged. First session on the horse, just sit there without stirrups until you're not panicked. Don't walk until you're calm and comfortable. Don't even think about walking or the next step. Just sit there as long as it takes to be comfortable. Then move on to walking. If it makes you more comfortable, have someone lead you the first time, until you're comfortable, then move on to walking on the lunge-line.
Don't rush it. Do only what you're comfortable with. I think you'll find you'll get very quickly bored and will want to move on to the next step. When you haven't done the first small step yet, posting w/o stirrups will seem impossible, When you do one step at a time, by the time you get to sitting the trot without stirrups, posting will just be the logical next step. Only think of the step you're at.
I took away someone's stirrups this morning, and her seat and position immediately got 10x better. When her horse spooked, she didn't budge.
    10-10-2012, 08:12 PM
Well, today we had a breakthrough. I was talking to an English riding friend and expressing how hard it was to find my seat and really feel secure. She suggested that I get a pair of paddock boots, wash n wear half chaps and riding tights with knee enforcement. I had been riding in jeans and cowboy boots. She said that it might be easier to ride without worrying about bulky jeans and boots. Wow, was she right! I didn't get rid of the stirrups, yet. But I had a friend lead my girl around in my small riding pen and I think I really found my seat. This weekend is supposed to be nice and I have people to ride with so it will be time to lose the stirrups. Wish me luck!
freia and BrieannaKelly like this.
    10-10-2012, 08:33 PM
So just a question, would it also help to gain balance and muscle memory via bareback pad? Isn't that the same idea as removing the stirrups? Understandably the seat of an english saddle is different then bareback pads.
    10-10-2012, 08:51 PM
Originally Posted by BrieannaKelly    
So just a question, would it also help to gain balance and muscle memory via bareback pad? Isn't that the same idea as removing the stirrups? Understandably the seat of an english saddle is different then bareback pads.
I've never used a bareback pad, but I would think, yes. When I was a kid, I had to do all the exercises I mentioned bareback before I was allowed to have a saddle at all. They did give me a strap around the horse's neck to grab onto. They made me do it several times when I was a teenager too - just to humble me, I think . In English you rely mainly on your balance, ability to feel (hence anticipate), move with, and respond to the horse's movements. The horse takes its cues from your subtle weight-shifts, which it can easily feel through the saddle. You don't rely on your saddle to stay on and be in the right position (though it's a very useful tool). That said though, a crappy, poorly balanced saddle can really mess with your position and balance.

And Kj'sDusty, yes, you have a point. We don't all wear those oh-so-unflattering breeches and tights because we think we look cool. Sticky-pants do make a big difference! And the seams on your jeans can really do a number on the seat-leather on an English saddle as well.
    10-15-2012, 06:37 PM
I'm sort of in the same boat you are, KJ - I've been riding Western 'forever' (I don't know when I officially started riding, so it's been pretty much my whole life and I'm 29) and I decided to give English a try. I've only taken two lessons so far and I'm not sure if I'll take more before spring, but I felt so off balance!!!

I don't currently have my own trailer so I used one of my instructor's horses. He was a very nice gelding but he was just different. Plus a little bit taller than my mare (not a lot, he's hardly a 'big' horse but when you're also in an unfamiliar saddle those few inches feel a lot bigger!) so I was definitely afraid of falling off.

In the spring, once we have our own trailer and I don't have to worry about icy roads or snowdrifts in the arena, I'd like to start taking my own horse to lessons and I think that will help.

It's good to know that the paddock boots and half chaps made a difference - so far I've been riding in cowboy boots and jeans too, perhaps I'll have to find some new boots and some half chaps before springtime :)
    10-18-2012, 06:57 PM
It goes both ways - when I ride western I feel trapped in one posistion and feel like a mere passenger because I don't feel like I can use my seat aids or put my leg on the horse at all effectively. It's okay for a quiet trail ride, not so good if were riding fast or the horse is difficult/green - I want to feel that back if the horse is squirrelly.
Have your coach make sure that your saddle fits the horse and you properly - if it isn't sitting level you'll be constantly fighting for your balance, and that your stirrups are the correct length - they do need to be shorter then you'll probably be used to.
    10-21-2012, 03:54 AM
I did it the other way round, being in England rising or "posting as you call it" was not the issue.

I found having the horn in front weird, really strange and the fenders and at the beginning my mare wanted to always to the uk trot in a western saddle, it was so bouncy Until she learnt the western paces.

I would suggest just to keep practicing and to get a good instructor. You have to make sure the horse is trotting in a faster pace and its to hard to rise to the jog.

As for jumping as long as you have a good fitting comfortable saddle

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