I want everyone to vote and tell me which I should take lessons for: Basic English riding and work my way up to dressage, or western/barrel racing?
I've had a lot more experience in the western saddle but english seems really interesting. I am leaning a bit more towards barrel racing but I want to know what ya'll think! Vote away!!!
I'd go with basic English. It's great for balance, so if you decide to go back to Western, you'll stick like glue. At my barn, even Western students learn to walk, trot, and canter in an English saddle first. Once they move to Western, they have a load of confidence and security.
Don't "work you way up". If you can afford and can find a -good- instructor get dressage lessons. They ARE basics and will help you a lot on way whether you decide on dressage or jumping or other discipline.
I'm partial to English because that's what I do. I started with english then jumpers and dressage. I did them all because jumpers is so fun and dressage gives you the seat and skills to ride it. I say if you want a challenge and to work go with dressage. It can be very tough. I don't know much about barrel racing but it looks like it's fun.
I am 52 years old, I have ridden Western ALL my life. I know just enough to KNOW, I KNOW NOTHING! I never had classes but rode many different horses when I was a kid. My folks were too poor to take me for lessons "IF" any had been available.
I wish I had lived in an area that taught English/dressage/jumping! What I wouldn't give to have learned these disciplines. THEN I would be able to ride any type of saddle and pick up any differences from what I had already learned.