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What exactly is English Riding

This is a discussion on What exactly is English Riding within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Interesting facts about english saddles
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    08-31-2009, 09:47 PM
  #11
Yearling
Fox hunting -- as in hunting an actual fox -- is banned in the UK now.

I don't know the etymology of the terms "English" and "Western" and know less about the development of the tack itself, but nowadays it is a social convention to describe the kind of tack you put on your horse and it gives some indication of what type of riding you do. If you say you ride English, the community of horsepeople knows what you mean because these conventions of speech, even if they don't make all that much etymological sense now, have a social meaning. If another horseperson asks you what you ride, you probably give more specific information, such as dressage or reining or jumping or whatever. But if a non-horseperson asks, the answer is often "English" or "Western" unless you really want to explain dressage to the layperson in question.

That said, since moving to the UK I have had questions like, "You ride Western right? All Americans ride Western."
"Um...no, actually."

To my knowledge, "hunt seat" is the same thing as "jumping position," "two-point." It is the seat you would have if you were galloping across fields and jumping things. Did not the show ring disciplines of hunt seat equitation and hunter classes start from actual fox hunting, when the original point of the show was to judge the suitability of the horse and rider for fox hunting? Presumably they have hunter classes on this side of the Atlantic as well, but I'm so out of the horse showing loop here I haven't clue how those compare with the ones in the US.
     
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    08-31-2009, 10:13 PM
  #12
Trained
Quote:
Any sport requiring an english saddle is english riding.
Any sport requiring a western Saddle is western riding.
See, that doesn't work for me... A western saddle isn't 'required' to ride a reining pattern.

Things are very different again over here in AUS. Seeing pictures of HUS horses that Americans deem 'english' always throws me. Here, the ONLY place you will see HUS is at a QH show, along with western. It simply doesn't exist outisde of that circle.

Here in AUS, you don't say you ride english... You just ride. It's more about what discpline you ride.

Most shows here are 'Ag shows' = agricultural shows. They consist of Hack classes (similar to dressage - double bridles, fancy presentation, fancy movement, very collected) and Working hunter classes (The same/similar to working hunter in Britain). They also sometimes have PC classes, and breed classes. This is a hack:



Here is a working hunter:



Apart from breed classes, they are the only types of riding you see at regular shows.
     
    09-01-2009, 06:45 AM
  #13
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by wild_spot    
See, that doesn't work for me... A western saddle isn't 'required' to ride a reining pattern.
You are talking exceptions. Reining can also be done bareback (see Stacy Westfall) as well as in an English saddle. It is not the discipline that makes the difference between English or Western, it is the tack.

     
    09-01-2009, 06:57 AM
  #14
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Godden    

However when reading comments in the Horse Forum I detect that my interpretation of: “English Riding” is that it is not necessarily to do with England - a small state within the United Kingdom. Nor is it even necessarily English: just one of the numerous nationalities entitled to hold a British Passport.
However the expression does bring many of us together which is a good thing.

Perhaps some of our American contributors could define in words what they visualize as “English Riding”. It would also be interesting to know why they themselves took an interest in the system.
Barry G

In Europe it would just be called classical, I don't know why americans term it 'english'
     
    09-01-2009, 07:13 AM
  #15
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by thesilverspear    
Fox hunting -- as in hunting an actual fox -- is banned in the UK now.
That's actually incorrect, although both Scottish and English parliaments mucked about and came up with 'Hunting with Dogs' Acts. It is not illegal to use hounds to follow a fox/hare/mink/etc and drive it towards a gun but it is illegal to allow the hounds to kill the prey. A marksman can, as can a raptor. However, if the marksman who must be there to dispatch the prey does not do so cleanly and merely maims it, then the hounds are allowed to end its suffering The most ridiculous piece of legislation in the name of animal welfare that has ever been written - you can chase it with hounds, but not kill it, unless it has been wounded by the marksman, in which case you can You can of course still poison or gas them too, cos that doesn't have a welfare implication!

Cookies to anyone who has followed this post so far...is it any wonder people think that hunting is banned? Oh, and you can still allow your dog to kill a rat or a rabbit, so presumably they are species that don't feel pain or don't need welfare :roll:
     
    09-01-2009, 07:29 AM
  #16
Yearling
Like all these legislative clusterf*cks, it is more complicated than the BBC or the Telegraph report. A few years ago when Parliament was debating it all you heard about what was the "fox hunting ban" but if it wasn't something critical for you to know more about than the media spin, you weren't bothered finding out what exactly was being proscribed. I suspect a lot of people in Britain think it is banned.

Don't know why Americans call it "English" either, other than it has become social convention to do so. I could guess, however, that the terminology may have developed as a way to differentiate the style of riding brought to North America by British colonists from the way the Native Americans or the Spanish colonists were riding. I have zero data to back that up so it is a very sketchy theory.
     
    09-01-2009, 07:59 AM
  #17
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by thesilverspear    
Like all these legislative clusterf*cks, it is more complicated than the BBC or the Telegraph report. A few years ago when Parliament was debating it all you heard about what was the "fox hunting ban" but if it wasn't something critical for you to know more about than the media spin, you weren't bothered finding out what exactly was being proscribed. I suspect a lot of people in Britain think it is banned.
I have a vested interest in knowing the facts because I am a trustee for a greyhound and lurcher rescue, and the legislation led to a sharp increase in abandoned working dogs It's ironic that the BBC (anti-fox hunting as an establishment) and the Telegraph (pro) should both report it incorrectly - just goes to show you can never believe what you read in the press!
     
    09-01-2009, 05:11 PM
  #18
Trained
Quote:
You are talking exceptions. Reining can also be done bareback (see Stacy Westfall) as well as in an English saddle. It is not the discipline that makes the difference between English or Western, it is the tack.
So in that case if I did reining in an english saddle, it would be english?

For me, there just isn't any fail-safe way to define english vs. western. The way I see it, it's all riding, and you just need certain tack for certain tasks. I realise I have a different view seeing as I am not from the US.
     
    09-03-2009, 03:23 AM
  #19
Started
I'm not sure why we took to calling it English riding..I don't really think anyone is, but I guess it's just something that we've accepted and don't really think about it. With that said, I'd definitely say that the most important things that define Western or English riding are the saddles and the disciplines. Saying that you ride Western generally means that you ride in a Western saddle, but it can also just mean that the discipline that you ride is a Western discipline, such as reining, even if you ride in an English saddle, for whatever reason. The reason that reining is considered a Western discipline is because, while there are a few exceptions most of the time it is done in a Western saddle. So I think that both the tack and the discipline are very important when it comes to determining the difference.

Also, hunt seat is just the form you would use for jumping (shorter stirrups, forward seat, etc), in comparison to say, the seat you would use for dressage (longer stirrups, deeper seat)
     
    09-03-2009, 06:32 AM
  #20
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by wild_spot    
So in that case if I did reining in an english saddle, it would be english?
.
You are confusing the discipline with the style. The discipline is dictated by the job of the horse, the style by the tack and apparel.

There is a video on here somewhere (I'm a little lazy this morning) that shows a Western dressed rider and an English dressed rider (in Dressage apparel) and they both do Dressage moves and then a reining routine (then they switch horses).

The point is to look at the video and think, "look at the cowboy working his horse in Dressage" NOT "look at him riding English" and visa versa for the other rider.
     

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