From Western to English - Page 3

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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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        08-13-2009, 10:07 AM
    I've ridden Western since I started riding 5 years ago, and it has taken me 5 years just to learn the basics..and no im not a slow learner, I just think there are a lot of things that need a lot of practice to perfect. But as you can see in that video, horses and their riders know each other's buttons and that's what they go off I don't think it matters if you have an instructor or not, but rather if yoou can do it correctly on your own and get that strong bond with your horse so the horse can do it, too.

    As of right now, I've taken up English and I'm not finding it to be any harder or easier than Western to learn, the two disciplines are just different.

    And by the way, I chose to use instructors [I've had 2 so far and I'm hoping to gain another one in the next month or so] and I think it has helped, but it's not necessary unless you are planning to be big-time.
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        08-13-2009, 10:40 AM
    Super Moderator
    Originally Posted by Barry Godden    
    From Western to English
    We British contributors to The Horse Forum read with admiration (and sometimes with amazement) the articles posted by Americans seeking help as to how to cope with problems presented by riding English. Mostly it seems that the rider has moved over from Western to English for some reason never quite fully defined. The rider has acquired an English cut or Australian saddle and wants to learn just how to do it. Often one gets the impression that there is in the locality no expert help in the matter of riding English so it becomes a question of “mount up and see“. One reads about the problems on the web site and one is tempted to try to help from across the pond.. But really it isn’t as simple as that.
    Riding English style on a Western saddle is relatively easy whereas riding Western on an English saddle is a completely different exercise. The Western system is undoubtedly a derivative of Spain‘s Doma Vaquera way of riding as is to be found to this day in rural Spain. It is a working man’s system and is still used to round up cattle or sheep.Back in the days of the old West, many a cowboy had never sat a horse before one day the man took, for some good reason or another, a job as a cowhand. The Western way of riding based on a nice big comfortable saddle fitted with a high cantle and a substantial horn up front could be mastered in a relatively short time. Finding a well schooled mount might have been more difficult. However it is not so easy to fall off a Western saddle as it is a much smaller English cut saddle which has very little in the way of pommel, cantle or knee roll. The rider sits in a Western saddle but on an English saddle. Neither system of riding is the better, they have each developed from a different need. It is what you want to do with the horse that dictates the system to use.
    If the rider wants to compete at racing or jumping in all its forms or European dressage then the rider has to master the English way. If one wants to trail ride, round up cattle or go in for those special Western sporting events, then it is beholden to learn to ride Western. If the rider has only one horse, then the horse has to learn to respond to both systems and incidentally, most horses will adapt readily. But speaking as one who has learned to ride both ways, I can quickly say that the English system is the more difficult to learn. I would also say that without help from an instructor the rider won’t get far without drifting into a poor technique.
    In this little crowded island of Gt Britain, one is lucky in that one is never really far from a school riding centre wherein can be found not only teaching expertise but the school master horses which are used only for teaching newcomers to ride. To learn to ride English, one primarily needs a docile and a forgiving horse - the instructor ‘merely’ stands in the middle of the arena and shouts out words of wisdom. Nowadays other teaching aids are coming into play - the teaching video, the video camera itself and last, but not least, a library of books to read.
    I would encourage anyone who has developed a love of horses to learn to ride English but unless you are one of those very lucky youngsters who have been born with an innate skill to ride a horse you (and your horse) are going to need access to a good experienced instructor to learn to ride English properly. You could of course fly over and stay at a riding centre for two weeks which would help a lot in learning the basics. There are a lot of riding centres who'd be pleased to see you.
    I would also make one final comment. We Brits nowadays are rarely to be seen riding without a good, tough, well fitting, riding hat. You never really know when you are going to fall off but it is not a question of “if” rather “when“. When you buy an English cut saddle, buy the hat at the same time and always wear it when on the back of the horse. The hat might save your life.
    Whatever you do, have fun and enjoy the companionship of your horse.
    Barry Godden
    I have found that, in general people who say western is easier then english have never ridden western and believe that it's a "slap the saddle on and ride" type of discipline which is very untrue.
        08-13-2009, 01:26 PM
    Nicely said troubled tb!! There is deffinately a lot to be said about both disciplines! Also for anyone who says you don't need an instructor keep in mind MY instructor still takes lessons and she has showed fourth level dressage. You can always get better!
        08-16-2009, 05:04 PM
    I think it's easier to sat in a western saddle for an unbalanced, bad rider. Plus there are a lot of fast events. So you get a lot of wanna-be-cowboy type riders in that discipline

    However, I think to be GOOD at either English or western is just as difficultm just in different ways
        08-16-2009, 06:30 PM
    Ugh - I ride both English and Western, have shown both, and when people start putting down the western style of riding, I really want to sit them down on a reiner or cutting horse that can turn out from under them, or a finely trainer horsemanship, western rider, or trail (show) horse. These horses have just as much body control as the dressage horses do. And just let me say, that it is a blast to take a nicely trained horsemanship horse and start doing the over fences events. Makes those tight eq turns seem like nothing
        08-22-2009, 10:07 AM
    When I started this thread, I had in my mind to say that a Western trained rider wanting to learn to sit an English cut saddle and ride in an English style would find it very difficult unless there was a local instructor. The system has a different basis calling for a change in the way the rider sits and holds the reins. WIthout an instructor, the rider trained Western but a the novice at English, could jump up into the saddle and no doubt ride the horse without falling off but that when they did they might well learn to do "English" incorrectly. Instinctive reactions thereby absorbed by the brain would be very difficult to unlearn later. If someone wants to ride ENglish then please find an instructor.

    I also said that an English trained rider could easily sit into a Western
    Saddle but after an hour or so, that novice to Western would not be riding Western, they'd be riding English style on a Western saddle. They too would need showing the techniques of Western - by a good instructor.

    But I would now add, that most of the English riders I know over here have absolutely no capability to use a rope or lariat - let alone use it from the saddle to round up steers. Neither would they readily offer to barrel race on a Western horse. Nor would they even think of sitting on horseback a whole working day herding a herd of cattle - there are easier ways to earn a living.
    But whereas in the US there are still a lot of folks working for a living and using a horse as part of that work, there is little of that over here - except those folks working as instructors or perhaps as professional sportsmen/women. West Europeans gave up herding beef, goats and sheep with horses decades ago. The 4WD motor bike nowadays reins king on the farms. If we want to herd beef then we fly to the US, or Argentina.

    Noone should ever say that the "English" way of riding a horse is better than the Western method. The two systems were designed for different purposes and they retain to this day their differences in more ways than the cut of the saddle.

    I,ve been luckiy enough to go to a Rodeo a few times and I have watched those riders in absolute amazement. I have also always kept it quiet that I ride horses - just in case someone had the idea that maybe I should get up on the back of a cutting horse. I'd be off with a few seconds.

    Enjoy your riding and your horse - whichever way you choose to do it.

    In another thread I shall describe a typical early horse riding lesson in the UK.

    Barry G
        08-22-2009, 11:06 AM
    But whereas in the US there are still a lot of folks working for a living and using a horse as part of that work, there is little of that over here -
    West Europeans gave up herding beef, goats and sheep with horses decades ago. The 4WD motor bike nowadays reins king on the farms. If we want to herd beef then we fly to the US, or Argentina.
    Erm... who said that we haven't given up herding with horses also? Haha. I know of many many ranches that use 4 wheelers to herd. There are only a few that still use only horses and those arn't as big as they once where. I find that the reason why we still 'use' the horses to do their job is because they are keeping up tradition and love to do it.
        08-22-2009, 07:58 PM
    Super Moderator
    Actually.... I went from english to western and to be perfectly honost, it was a very difficult transition for me. In fact everyone that I have talked to that has gone from english to western has agreed, it's a very difficult transition. Western people seem to be able to transition into english much easier. Now if you are saying put an english rider in a western saddle and go w/out actually trying to do it right, then yeah maybe. But unless you are taking a DRESSAGE rider and placing them in a western saddle... then no, because you have to change your entire way of thinking... (My opinion)
        08-22-2009, 09:13 PM
    Originally Posted by farmpony84    
    Omigosh, you just made me laugh out loud!
    Ditto. Pfftt!
        08-25-2009, 05:13 PM
    Originally Posted by farmpony84    
    I have found that, in general people who say western is easier then english have never ridden western and believe that it's a "slap the saddle on and ride" type of discipline which is very untrue.
    well said farmpony84
    Western and English are very different so saying one is harder or takes real riding is kinda a insult. I have tried to get a instructor to teach me everything but in the long run they slowly stopped and always made excuses to not come so I trained my horse my way I have used what works for me I don't really care if people don't like my riding style but I would appreciate if they would respect it and I think others will agree. SO PEOPLE WE ALL HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON WE LOVE ARE HORSES ENGLISH OR WESTERN!

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