English riding instructor teaching western riding? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 03-26-2013, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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English riding instructor teaching western riding?

I'm curious. I have been taking some lessons from an intructor where I board. She is an english rider...not sure of the extent of her training. I rarely even see her ride really.

I ride western, just leasure trail riding type stuff. I am in my 40's and have only been riding for the past five or so years. I never rode as a child. I think I do well putsing around. My horses seem happy. I learned my leg cues, seat cues etc. from reading and watching.

My reason for wanting lessons is because both of my horses had never been riding by anyone but me. I am trying to gain confidence at the canter. I actually did ride a QH at the canter and was doing fine with it, but we moved away from him now. My two horses are green in the canter. I just want to be sure I am not doing anything wrong in preventing them from cantering correctly etc. I want to avoid any crow hops etc. I also want to have the confidence when out on a trail and others start cantering....and if my horse does, I will be ok.

Since starting my lessons...it has been anything but that. If anything, I am more confused and less confident since I started. I understand the basics of the riding position and have no interest in looking like a dressage rider, nor would my body allow me to do so if I did. So, I am still at the walk working on body position and feel like everything is now so unclear. When talking to other riders, who are my age, they agreed with my initial cues with my horses, rather than the ones taught to me now...which is like opposite. I've even had a couple other riders that have taken lessons from her say it's almost like she keeps you confused to keep you coming back for more lessons...lol.

So, the question is...can an english rider teach western riding? Don't you have to sit differently etc?
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post #2 of 23 Old 03-26-2013, 01:56 PM
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My point of view, having started out with and ridden English for a long time, then switched to Western with an instructor who came from English originally also ( that's Europe for you lol), it should not be a problem IF the person knows what he/she is doing. Same basics are the same, and since there are no rules in western as there are in English, pretty much anything goes as long as the horse goes, so to speak.
I think, this lady shouldn't teach western, she seems to be too tuned to English/ dressage. A correct seat is good, but a little less important when riding western if you don't show.

I don't see nothing wrong in taking some things from one style into the other, could be beneficial. But what it sounds like she's teaching what she knows, and it doesn't seem to be what you want.
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post #3 of 23 Old 03-26-2013, 02:02 PM
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IMO, an English instructor who does not ride Western can teach the basics of good riding. However if you start talking about following a Western discipline then no, a teacher can't teach what they don't know.

If you're confused, ask her for clarification. If its not working for you, find a trainer more suited to you.
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post #4 of 23 Old 03-26-2013, 02:03 PM
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I believe that an english rider can teach a western rider. The very basic stuff really is the same. You still need to sit tall on your seat bones with your heels down and your hands quiet. Honestly I feel like it shouldne't matter you are riding in an english saddle or a western saddle, you should still be riding the same. When I had my horse and took lessons my trainer would have me do both regardless of the saddle I chose to work in that day. I have done m dressage patterns in my western saddle and my reining patterns in my english saddle! Maybe you are confused because she is starting you over from the very beginning and if you are mostly self taught then what she is teaching you probably is a lot different than what you know! Not that what you did before was wrong by any means, but if she is just trying to teach you from a blank slate then I can see where it could be more confusing than just doing what you learned from reading and observation.

Now that being said, you did say that other people who take lessons from her are also confused by what she teaches. Have you even asked her what she knows? In a respectful way of course! She may know how to ride well herself, but may not be able to teach it. If you are getting worse instead of getting better I would suggest shopping around for different trainers/instructors and seeing who you mesh with better then either trailer your horse out there for lessons (If you can) or ride the school horses and see if the other instructor can write down what you did and use that as a reference when you go out to ride your horse.

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post #5 of 23 Old 03-26-2013, 02:05 PM
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It sounds like you and your horse could get really confused. I might look for someone with western experience.
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post #6 of 23 Old 03-26-2013, 02:37 PM
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Why not ASK her what her background is? Perhaps she was actually trained Western. You never know.
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post #7 of 23 Old 03-26-2013, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys for the input. I think I will finish up my last lesson with her, and do it bareback....lol. There is another trainer on the ranch that sounds like it would be more up my alley. She is not an 'arena' only rider like the first trainer. This one will actually go out on a trail with you and ride, if that's what you are looking for, and help you solve issues there too besides the arena.

Yes, I just want to feel secure and confident when I am trail riding mostly. I know you can never prepare for everything, but I just want to feel confident with all gaits in case I encounter a canter unexpectedly or something on my horses.

Plus, riding my percheron is a little different altogether. It's really hard for my body to remain in a perfect position when I am already doing the splits, can't get my short legs around her barrel well, she is sway backed and has a very animated gait....lol. Maybe I should have the trainers ride her first to see what I'm talking about....lol.
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post #8 of 23 Old 03-26-2013, 10:47 PM
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I had a western certified instructor give some lessons several years back whilst I was riding english. She didn't pretend to know more than what she was capable but I learned a lot and I really liked how she was relaxed not like the instructors I was used to as a child. She stopped teaching and I tried a certified english and western instructor and she taught me even more than my previous coach but I still benefited from my first coach. You can always learn a little something from different people. And to that I'm grateful.

I would say if your coach isn't helping you progress and you're getting confused then you need to try someone else. I know its hard to try a new coach but you're paying them to learn and when you stop learning you need to try someone else. If you do a lot of trail riding then a coach that goes out on the trails with you may be more helpful to you. Happy riding!
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post #9 of 23 Old 03-26-2013, 11:58 PM
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Good riding position is good riding position. Any instructor of any discipline should be able to teach you to ride in a more secure and effective manner. I can't say if your actual instructor is good or not, but I don't think that English vs Western background and experience is relevant when considering the goals that you have, which do not sound discipline specific.
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post #10 of 23 Old 03-29-2013, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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I must say, I have become very discouraged. While I understand that riding is not just sitting on a horse, I think it is way to complicated for me now.....jiggle this rein on the inside, while you tap with your foot on the outside, no wait.....change sides now because the horse is going the other way, no, back to the original way, and tap faster because she is not hearing you. At the same time put your reins here on the neck to walk, no wait trot so open the reins off the neck, but wait your pelvis is moving wrong.

There are too many things going on all at once for me....and then there are my poor horses! They have only learned some simple leg pressure and cues from me. I think they are beginning to think I lost my mind and am having a seizure while on top of them with all the things being asked of me, just to ride them around the arena at the walk/trot.

I'm going to always try to learn and ride my best for my horse and their comfort. However, I don't think I will ever ride like real riders! I feel like it may be too difficult for me to retain so many things all at once. God Speed to all of you who DO do all of this.
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