I'm a western rider by nature, and when I first started riding in the english saddle, I couldn't balance in it for the life of me and almost fell off so many times... over time, though I've gotten my balance and am now walking, trotting, cantering, hand galloping, and galloping in the english saddle without having to grab my boys mane and have been trail riding in the mountains and across some pretty dangerous trails and I can pop over small logs and ditches we come across fairly easily without losing my balance most of the time.
Anyway, a few days ago some friends and I were riding... I was on my gelding, riding english... my friend was on his mare, riding western, and his little brother was on my mare, riding western. They wanted to stop and take a break, so I decided to hop on my mare while they were breaking and ride a little bit. My girl was hyper because we'd been doing some trotting and she wanted to run, so I let her go and we ran. We got into a gallop and were coming to a place where the trail either goes straight or you can turn at a forty-five degree angle... I asked my girl to turn, not expecting her to, but she surprised me and did so... my mare turns extremely sharp... she 'cuts' when she turns... normally I'd have to grab the saddlehorn when she turns like that, but this time I didn't even feel off balance and didn't even think about grabbing the saddlehorn... and we took the turn at a gallop and then sped up into a flat out run up the trail for about a mile before slowing to a trot.
My mare was so responsive to me, and she normally isn't... she also normally throws a few bucks at a canter and gallop, but she didn't... it was like she was happy that I was riding her, so she went out of her way to respond to me perfectly... but what got me was the fact that I felt so balanced and secure... And I'm pretty sure that if I hadn't been riding my gelding so much english, I wouldn't be nowhere near as balanced as I was... The only thing I didn't like was that the stirrups felt a little long, even though their suited just for me.
Does riding english really help you balance that much, or am I imagining things?