Have to disagree....of course you can compare it! And from my experience....showing or not showing is inconsequential in this discussion.
It was directed at someone's comment. Specifically:
I haven't had the privilege to try western riding yet. I'm hoping I can come to the US next year and try it :) For now, I'm stuck with English or going bareback, haha.
I think I'd like western actually. The people seem warmer and more sincere there. Often people in English competitions look down on you and just care for themselves, at least that is what I've experienced - I'm sure there are lots of people that can prove otherwise. Western just seems to have a friendly atmosphere. Is this true or really depends?
Kyro said that at the English shows, people seem snobby but Western riders seem friendlier and more laid back (but this isn't based off of experience at a Western show).
People who show are often stressed, anxious, nervous, and tend to take their riding a little more seriously than people who don't show. Not everyone, but overall as a group, I think people who show take themselves more seriously because they're working against the clock because of show dates and ribbons and points and all that. Obviously, it doesn't mean that people who don't show don't take riding seriously, it's just different when you're competing and have deadlines.
Now to compare someone stressed out and freaking out a little because they have to get everything perfect for their 6 minute ride against someone who has all day to get it 'right' and doesn't have a bunch of show fees on the line - I don't think that's really a fair comparison.
I see WAY more negative behavior going on at a horse show than at a pure pleasure barn. I've not seen people chop tails or roach manes or spray paint horses at a non-show barn. I've also seen some really, really decent acts of fantastic sportsmanship at competitions. I'm not saying one is better than the other, but they're different enough IMO that they should be considered on their own.