From Western to English

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From Western to English

This is a discussion on From Western to English within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    08-10-2012, 06:50 PM
From Western to English

I've been riding Western for the past year but have been wanting to get into English. So with a change of barn and riding instructor, I made the switch. I will miss those stables, those awesome desert trails, and my lesson/half-lease horse, but it was time to move on.

This new instructor and her 10 year old Friesian mare are what I need. Awesomely trained, sweet, gorgeous horse, and very experienced instructor who isn't afraid to IMMEDIATELY correct you (to the point it might startle you). Not to mention she is closer to where I live and less expensive.

My previous instructor was a nice lady but I began to feel like she didn't have the experience to teach me how to actually ride and I found myself disagreeing with her methods. I've only just began riding with her and I can already tell she is all about using your seat. And that's what I need to learn: more seat, less hands.

For now I'm going to stick with basic English or Hunt Seat until I know what I really want to get into. I'm still at the stage in my riding experience where I don't have anything to commit to. Perhaps eventually I'll do a little jumping, maybe even eventing. And then there is always the endurance riding I want to get into but that's another chapter . Maybe one of these days I'll find something to stick with to the point I can compete.

But honestly, the switch from Western to English is a bit intimidating to me. I think it's in part because I wasn't really given the best "coaching" in lessons until now. I have my second lesson with this instructor tomorrow and, while I've only been riding for just over a year, I still feel like a COMPLETE newb all over again. The only thing I bring to the table is knowing how to post, having decent balance and knowing how to keep my hands still... decently.

Has anyone made the switch to English from Western or Western from English? How was it for you?
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    08-13-2012, 05:19 PM
Hey. Im thinking about making the switch right now. Its a daunting task to say the least...: / I found somebody to give me lessons and im super excited but also so scared of making a fool of myself. I hope my intrustor understands that I basically know nothing. I've been in an english saddle once when I was 9. O.o taking lessons before I make any rash decisions and buy a full tack set for my aunts horse who I ride.
    08-15-2012, 11:31 AM
Originally Posted by alyssaanne    
hey. Im thinking about making the switch right now. Its a daunting task to say the least...: / I found somebody to give me lessons and im super excited but also so scared of making a fool of myself. I hope my intrustor understands that I basically know nothing. I've been in an english saddle once when I was 9. O.o taking lessons before I make any rash decisions and buy a full tack set for my aunts horse who I ride.
Haha, I have the same fear of looking silly and not knowing what I'm talking about. My instructor is a big tough, but I think she understands!
    08-18-2012, 11:37 AM
I have started back riding after many years out of the saddle. I had always ridden western so that is where I began. I have recently switched to an English saddle as I discovered that my leg muscles, in particular the adductors on the inside thighs...were totally limp!! I am finding a better contact and awareness with the english saddle and I am enjoying the change and learning (an re-learning) allot..oh and I am doing pilates and squeezing a ball between my thighs when sitting (like in front of the computer), to gain some strength. Have fun!
Houston likes this.
    08-18-2012, 03:39 PM
I'm debating on getting into Pilates... heard it helps riders out a lot!
    08-18-2012, 05:29 PM
Pilates are great for riders!! My coach recommended it. Good for core strength and breathing :0)
    08-22-2012, 01:36 PM
I rode Western for about 5 years then switched to English and I've never looked back!

It was definitely a huge change, but if you fully embrace it and give it 110% I think you'll find yourself doing better than you expect. Don't be afraid to ask questions! A good coach will always be able to either answer your question or point you in a direction where you can find the correct answer.
Houston likes this.
    08-23-2012, 12:00 AM
I rode Western exclusively for years until I began taking bi-weekly lessons with a lady close to where I live. It's weird to think that I've only been riding English for a short while, really.

Anyways, the change can be hard. An English saddle feels totally different than a Western saddle. But, you already know how to post, which was a major issue with me, so that's great.

However, if I can do it, you can do it! :). Just have patience and remember that you may not ride as well in an English saddle at first.

Honestly, Western is great and all but I'm an English girl at heart :).

Don't be afraid of looking like a fool, that's what your instructor is there for!

Good luck, and have fun switching!
Houston likes this.
    08-23-2012, 09:42 PM
So far so good!

I'm finding that my biggest issues are keeping the horse on the rail using direct reining (seems like a simple, basic thing I should know but I'm having surprising troubles steering this horse correctly- embarrassing ), getting into the canter without bouncing around like a fool during the transition and getting used to those big Friesian steps, and keeping my feet from moving around so much in the irons!

My next lesson is on the trail at a trot in the English saddle and then hopefully I can get a video of our arena work so I can really see how I am...

Very eager to improve. I think I've become obsessive with this English business in my attempt to play catch up and learn. I recently brought the book "40 Fundamentals of English Riding" to help me out!
    08-23-2012, 10:41 PM
I had the same problems with my transition! (Except for the Friesian thing ).

Keep reading and riding, you'll get there in no time!

You might want to post your video in the riding critique section to get people's opinions. It could be helpful! :)

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