OTTB, bless your heart.. I honestly am very offended by your post. You may judge Western to your heart's content but don't think that bashing something you don't understand will make others happy. I don't ride English, I did and it's just not for me, but at the same time I respect it and know that while English Pleasure and the more laid back English disciplines aren't as hard as say Eventing but I'm not going to bash any of those because even though I ride Western I respect others and their choices. I'm not going to sit and say that I think English is slow and you all wear your stuffy clothes and no bling.. I can't understand that at all... But, I don't think like that.. I wouldn't wear the clothes or go without my bling but that's your choice and I respect that. That said, if you've never really ridden Western (Not just sat in a saddle and walked around) you have absolutely NOTHING to judge by except what you see. You have no idea what Barrel Racing, Reining, or Working Cowhorse..even the slower Western disciplines are like. Before jumping to conclusions as you did in your post I'd love for you to sit on a nice barrel horse and see that it is FAR more than just "A chair with your feet planted on the ground". It is FAR from that and you couldn't be more wrong about riding in a Western saddle.. Just like with your tiny little GP saddle, Western saddles have their individual purposes for that discipline. The horn isn't something that everyone hangs onto, there is a purpose for it in barrel racing but the absolute MOST important thing in ANY, absolutely ANY discipline, whether Western or English, is to have a good seat. I can run my barrel horses bareback, I don't have to have the horn.. And my little Western horses can play in the jumping ring if I ask them to. Your information you got from books, magazines, and TV are VASTLY different when you actually sit on a Western horse in a appropriate saddle and ride that discipline. If you're doing something RIGHT in a Western saddle there is NO reason to "cheat" and grab the horn if you're in trouble or that it takes no skill and you just "sit there". You couldn't be more wrong, so next time you want to take a stab at something and bash it at least know the facts and have that experience before you make a half-ass educated response and just stir the post between Western and English riders.. You'll find that you are one of the few people who don't have respect for others and their choice of discipline.
I am Sparkly Meanie Doodie Head and I approve this message!