Riding western- at an english barn?! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 48 Old 09-03-2011, 02:49 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Western Mass
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Riding western- at an english barn?!

Hey all!

I recently found out through a bit of research that my 17 year old gelding has a long history of western riding before I had bought him. Now, he is very very good at English, we placed fourth at our last dressage show and he jumps amazing. He has good distances, a nice tuck, and he never refuses.

I am very curious however about his western past. I myself have only ridden western a handful of times on trails at other barns on a variety of horses (including my old pony) but never ring work. I have 10+ years of riding, and I would just love to just buy a western saddle, put it on, and ride some trails and maybe a little but of ring work, I already know that he has a great jog and lope, sometimes I pretend I'm in a western pleasure class in an english saddle when i'm riding by myself :P

The only problem is that I board at a large eventing and dressage barn. Everyone who boards is either an eventer, dressage rider, or hunt seat rider. One time someone did come to the barn with an appaloosa gelding who did western, and the barn owner was not to keen on it, she even insisted that she ride outside instead of the indoor arena. I just feel like it will be so frowned upon if I even show up with a western to my barn, that I'll cause a huge stink!

What should I do guys? Has anyone been a situation like this? I don't want to cause barn drama :P
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post #2 of 48 Old 09-03-2011, 03:11 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Tell them to shove it and do what you want. Ride in a western saddle proudly. You're paying to keep your horse there.

When my BO bought a new barn and I moved Abby there, I was one of the only people who rode western. Abby is 15.2hh and over 1200lbs. Not a tiny girl. She was one of the shortest horses because they all had giant warmbloods.

They carried around their little saddles in their clean and crisp breeches while I had my, in comparison, giant barrel saddle with dirty jeans and boots. But I walked around and rode with my head held high and it was never a problem.
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post #3 of 48 Old 09-03-2011, 03:51 PM
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Guess it depends on the 'barn'. A prudent person would try talking to the owner of the barn first. It is HER property.

Her business model may include attracting folks for English riding. If so, that is her right. If you had the luxury of riding on your own property, you could do anything you darn well please. But if you don't...talk. Ask.

If the owner doesn't mind, THEN you can ignore the looks from other folks there.

I'm 53. Hard experience has taught me lots of folks will egg you on, then watch you take lumps without lifting a finger. Don't start a fight needlessly, and try to avoid fights you cannot win. If possible, use your mouth to avoid fights rather than start them.

And if the owner REALLY doesn't want you to ride western, and you do - part company amiably. Smile, say thanks for a lot of great memories, and move on.
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post #4 of 48 Old 09-03-2011, 04:18 PM
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I grew up in a barn like this, and I know the feeling. I grew up riding western and English, but always preferred bareback and western, (I used to be a pretty good little bareback rider ) and pretty much everyone else rode English.

While you normally shouldn't have to talk to a barn manager about it, as it is your horse and your money, (unless of course there is some code of conduct / rule that bans western riding at your barn,) it is still her property and it would be a good idea to talk to her. Discuss with her your intentions, and the situation. While she may not be keen on it, talking to her would give you the opportunity to open her up to your ideas.

I also agree with Bsms - if she really doesn't want you to, but you really do, I think it's time to move on. If I were put in a situation where they would actually tell me to ride somewhere else, I would do so - and take my business elsewhere. Luckily for me, the worst I ever got for riding western or gaited horses were some mean words and glares, but hey, I knew I'd done nothing wrong and it was their problem.

Remember that there's always multiple sides to a situation and often several ways to handle things. I think you should choose the way that will sit best with your barn manager if you're afraid of disrupting the peace. I hope I've helped some, and good luck!

Candy | 14.3hh sorrel AQHA mare
Diesel |15hh bay grade gaited gelding
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post #5 of 48 Old 09-03-2011, 05:15 PM
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I ride english at a western barn. I don't 100% fit in lol but my BO could care less what I ride. I would talk to the BO but if she's that restrictive on what saddle you ride in, I would personally not want to be at that barn at all.
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post #6 of 48 Old 09-03-2011, 06:12 PM
Green Broke
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I think if you explain to her that your not planning on switching over completely, just wanna do it for fun then she should be allright with it.

Honestly, the barn owner really shouldnt care IMO. As long as your paying your board and being safe and responsible then why should it matter?
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post #7 of 48 Old 09-03-2011, 06:23 PM
Green Broke
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Id read your board agreement, if nothing is there I'd think Id tell people to mind their own business, honestly it would even occur to me to even wonder or care what anyone else is gonna say.
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post #8 of 48 Old 09-03-2011, 09:26 PM
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Do talk to the barn owner. I'd rather ask first and know before stirring up any ill feelings from the BO.

And definitely mention you're not looking at a complete change, but just for fun on occasion. If it's casual, I can't imagine they'd object.
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post #9 of 48 Old 09-09-2011, 08:31 PM
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I agree - it's best to talk to the owner. BOs can be very territorial about what goes on at their place. Best just to get it straight from the "horse's mouth."
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post #10 of 48 Old 09-10-2011, 01:51 AM
Green Broke
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Originally Posted by Poseidon View Post
Tell them to shove it and do what you want. Ride in a western saddle proudly. You're paying to keep your horse there.

It's not like you're going to back your trailer up and set a dozen cows loose in the arena and then proceed to practice your roping skills.

Most of the English riders I know, trail ride in a Western saddle. They're comfy and they don't want to risk marring the ones they show in.
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