MY definition of western/english riding - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 06-09-2009, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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MY definition of western/english riding

To me, the type of riding you do is not about the tack, or the discipline... The way I think about it is the horses way of going.

See, to me, HUS is western riding. By this I mean the 'way of going' in a HUS class. If you rode like that at an english show here in AUS, you would not get a second glance and someone would probably laugh or b*tch. The way of going, with the low headset and super slow gaits, is not 'english' to me at all.

When I think english way of going, I think more of a dressage way of going. Not always that far, but more forward gaits, a higher headset... You couldn't go around a jump course very well riding like you were in a HUS class.

The only real difference I see between WP and HUS is the tack and the one handed/two handed reining.

I think labelling whole disciplines as one or the other is a bit exclusive... It gives the idea that if you don't have a western saddle, you can't barrel race, or chase cows, and if you don't have an english saddle, you can't practice dressage... Which is not true.

I would classify myself as english, I guess, but I barrel race, and I chase cows, and cut them from mobs etc, but I do it all with the 'english' way of going. Forward gaits, higher headset...

Hmm. Just my thoughts on the matter.

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post #2 of 10 Old 06-10-2009, 12:29 AM
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I personally think that in the western world, it depends more on whether you show or not too. My idea of what western pleasure should be is completely different than the "understood" WP picture. I prefer my horses to have their heads at or slightly above level with alert ears and eyes. I like for them to have a calm, ground covering gait. To me, it is not a pleasure to ride a horse that moves so slow. I usually have a job to get done and even if I am just riding for pleasure, most places I go are miles away and I don't want to take all day getting there. I agree, there is not much difference in HUS and WP. I don't personally care for either one of them. I am like you. I prefer a forward horse instead of a dragger. Not everyone feels secure on a forward horse though.

I think it matters where you are from and what "horse community" you are from too. Show people see things differently than rodeo people and they see things differently than trail riders and they see things differently than cowboys. I consider myself a western rider but sometimes my horses carry themselves like an "english" horse. IDK, it is all so confusing.
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post #3 of 10 Old 06-10-2009, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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Ugh I know, there is so much 'classification' in the horse world.

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post #4 of 10 Old 06-10-2009, 02:44 AM
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My personal definition of western and english riding is that you're doing the same thing, riding a horse, just in a different way/tack. It's like driving a car, you have either standard or automatic, but you are doing the same thing.
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post #5 of 10 Old 06-10-2009, 06:05 AM
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I think when you say english or western you are speaking about the tack in general. If you think about it you have so many different ways of going for each discipline, I'm not sure you would ever actually hear a dressage rider say "I ride english". I think you would hear them say they ride dressage. It's very different then hunt seat. And hunt seat is very different from HUS. Just as reigning is different from WP as a trail horse is different and so is a barrel horse or a cowhorse. It's all in the same tack, but it's different ways of ways of going. NOW if you look at the commands and the ques for these different ways of going, you are looking at pretty similar stuff all the way around, from dressage all the way to a ranch horse. You are still using your seat and you still want the horse on the bit and moving from the rear... even if you are poll bending.... So really, if you say it generally like that, you are just talking tack.

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post #6 of 10 Old 06-10-2009, 01:36 PM
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I've chased cows on my Percheron in an English saddle. And I did it better than 2 stupid girls with high dollar quarter horses that were supposedly trained to herd cows, but spooked when one got within 15 feet of them, while my horse didn't even flinch when a cow ran right into her. :)
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post #7 of 10 Old 06-10-2009, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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^ Lol, I love it when those things happen!

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post #8 of 10 Old 06-11-2009, 01:12 PM
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Interesting post.
It has a lot to do with the aids and generally how the person rides, too. In English, the rider is using two hands and ideally has her weight sunken down in her heels. The aids are more complicated and your seat and posture is different. Western is generally more relaxed with the obvious differences.

I agree, HUS and WP don't look pleasurable at all. I honestly don't see the appeal of sitting on stick-legged horses that are about as fast as molasses and have their heads so low it looks like they might trip over their own faces. I don't understand the attraction when your horse's nose is in the dirt.

If you look at HUS, almost every single exhibitor is leaning in front of the vertical and they all have draping reins. Which shouldn't be acceptable, but they all do it and the judges have to place somebody. I don't know about you, but my trainer would eat me alive if I rode like that.

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post #9 of 10 Old 06-11-2009, 02:15 PM
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I don't show but if you are talking about a loose rein, that is common in all western riding. I have seen Western Pleasure and I agree it is painful to watch and I have no sure for it.

A good cowboy always has a better horse at the end of the ride, a poor cowboy will be afoot reguardless of the horse.

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post #10 of 10 Old 06-12-2009, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Jessabel View Post
I don't understand the attraction when your horse's nose is in the dirt.
That is a very old view of Western Pleasure.

In the AQHA circuit, most Western Pleasure horses have to walk, jog, extended jog, lope and extended lope.

The peanut-roller look is gone. Now horses are to move naturally, with their polls at approximate wither height, an ear length above or below the poll is best. Yes, they are slow-going, but it is their natural gait.

To the OP: I get what you're saying. However, I disagree with some posts saying the aids are different. I have ridden many different discipline horses, and other than slight differences, all aids were the same.


Last edited by Sixxofdiamonds; 06-12-2009 at 03:01 PM.
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