I just finished my last year of 4-H, and I plan on applying to be an assistant leader with my club in the future, so I have a lot of friends through my 4-H club. I'm really the only
English rider in a club of Gamers, maybe a few do WP every now and again. One of my closest friends and I regularly "argue" and debate whether English or Western is "better." He knows that he can dig at me and get it going (usually over "those stupid pants"), and I know that at the slightest scent of anything being potentially better than gaming he's going to pounce, so we pretty frequently have this discussion (I always win
). It's all in fun, and kind of a running joke, but we usually each end up conceding that something is cool about the other one's riding style, whether he says that watching horses "jump big" is cool, or I say that a fast barrel pattern is awesome, it all evens out.
I don't usually hear anyone discounted for riding English, usually if I hear anything it runs the other way around, English riders berating western riders for not riding English. I do have to say that after switching to English, there's not much that a horse can do that will remove my rump from a Western saddle, and if I ride western too many times I feel "sloppy" in the English, but that's just me. I do think that English riding tends to be seen as more "formal," if that's the right word, at least here in the US. Rider position is more heavily emphasized, there tends to be more mechanics and theory discussed vs. a similar level of Western.That's not at all to say that the mechanics and theory don't apply in Western
, just that they seem to be more discussed and "beaten in" in English, at least in my experience.
Neither is better than the other, and there are fantastic riders from each style and every discipline.