Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel
That simply doesn't work for everyone. I feel more unbalanced and unsafe in a western because I can't feel the horse. My ex-boss had me lease her horse in a western saddle and then an aussie... and it just.. I didn't ride well.
If you are comfortable in the saddle but your balance is off... then you should be on the lungeline.
Now if you feel you'd be "safer" in a western, then try it out!
I really like this response.
First (IMO) you shouldn't be grabbing the horn routinely. I'm not saying I don't love the horn and don't on occasion grab at it, I swear I do. But I try not to. I love the construction of the western saddle because it's so big and comfortable. But I try to make it my business to leave the horn alone. (except when I have to ride standing in stirrups - I have yet to figure how in hell to do that properly for an extended period).
If you wear full seat breeches, on a really good day you might feel completely glued to the seat.
However, it's true about not feeling the horse. I learned on an english saddles and that was the first thing I missed when I made the switch to Western - was that communication between my horse and myself.
On a lungeline, you can practice a million different things to improve your balance, seat and confidence. Someone else will be watching and controlling the horse so you can ride without having to do that.
For example you can do different gaits with no reins, no stirrups, no reins AND no stirrups. You can ride with your eyes closed. You can work on your balance and confidence. You can work on your seat and how you distribute your weight to control your horse's speed and movements. And because it's a circle, you'll learn more control with your horse's head and direction without fear.
I love with tinyliney said as well - falling isn't the end of the world. This is a sport where falling happens. If you do a youtube seach and watch, you'll see every conceivable situation with every conceivable fall you can imagine. I did that and watched because I recently took a bad fall and my confidence was shaken. It put it in perspective for me.
I'd also look into centered riding. You can take a few, just to understand and apply some principles. But the truth is, you can read the books and get into it and apply some of it when you ride your discipline. Visualization is very important in any sport, equestrian as much as any. If you see in your mind what you want from your horse, very often your horse picks up on it. Which is why it's important to be positive and relaxed in your head (even when you're not).
We all get spooky - horses, people, dogs, cats, cows etc . Life is spooky sometimes. Don't be afraid of fear. It's perfectly natural and doesn't mean you're weak.