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My dilemma: English or Western?

This is a discussion on My dilemma: English or Western? within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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        03-28-2013, 04:13 PM
      #11
    Yearling
    I would go western first... then english... once you learn both, you can choose the one you like best! I was thinking about trying to go english... to jump... but where I live... There are almost NO english riders, and I have never ridden in an english saddle, so I would have to learn everything. So I chose western. There is also a lot more you can do in a western saddle, like ranch work... gymkanna, cattle events, trail riding, rodeo, etc, and with english you got basically, eventing (cross country, dressege, and jumping) and trail riding.
         
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        03-28-2013, 06:47 PM
      #12
    Green Broke
    It sounds like Western is easier and safer, but plenty of people (me included) learn English straight from the beginning and that isn't a problem.

    Remember its more than just getting used to balancing in the saddle though. English uses a different position, rein contact etc. With jumping, while you could likely pop over small jumps without too much prep when they get larger you'll have to perfect rhythm, collecting, extending etc.

    I don't think you necessarily have to choose which one,just do what you like.
         
        03-28-2013, 07:05 PM
      #13
    Started
    Do you have the resources available to take lessons from a good trainer? That's what I would suggest. I have ridden Western for over 20 years and I want to learn Dressage. My trainer is giving me lessons in a Western saddle until my seat and position are secure/correct, and then I'll attempt English.
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        03-28-2013, 07:13 PM
      #14
    Weanling
    I like western. I feel much more secure, and for the things I do, (trail riding in very rough terrain, with some rides are more than a day long), English is NOT practical.
         
        03-28-2013, 10:12 PM
      #15
    Foal
    No lessons here, the only lessons I'm getting are from my friend. Since she's more experienced, and has shown horses at the fair, I'll go by what she says. She can teach me how to jump, but I'll wait a bit before attempting anything like that!
         
        03-28-2013, 10:35 PM
      #16
    Super Moderator
    I rode western for about 12 years until I switched to english. It took a little getting used to, but once I got the basics and was comfortable I found that I much prefer it. As a kid bareback was my favorite way to ride and I feel english saddles offer a much closer contact with the horse, which I appreciate.
    I've had the chance to go back to western, but am happy to stick with my english and aussie saddles (no horn.)
         
        03-28-2013, 11:26 PM
      #17
    Weanling
    I ride both, also. I don't show or anything, I just like both saddles for different reasons. If I'm going on a long trail ride, I prefer the comfort and security of the western saddle, all the way. If I'm just working my horse in the arena, I like riding english. It just depends on what I'm doing or what I feel like on any given day. I want to start taking dressage lessons soon, so I'll be spending more time in my english saddle, but I'll never quit riding western just because my focus is changing.

    I have my horse so used to both, he is such a smart boy. He puts his fancy pants on when we ride with the english saddle, he becomes very concentrated and eager. Then the next time I put the western saddle on him, he gets this great low headset and does a perfect slow jog like he's been in WP his whole life.
         
        03-28-2013, 11:44 PM
      #18
    Foal
    Aww, good boy!
         
        03-31-2013, 04:51 PM
      #19
    Foal
    I started with bareback, then at 7-10 I get more serious in English and rode English til about 14. Then switched to western and I never want to go back.
         
        03-31-2013, 05:33 PM
      #20
    Foal
    You sound like me last year.
    I had ridden English my whole riding career and then I went to a more western stable where I got my horse and things suddenly changed. Basically, don't opt for western because you are nervous or not confident about the english tack/style of riding. It's just a matter of getting used to it!! If you want to learn how to jump, then english is definitely for you! You shouldn't choose something simply for a matter of convenience. You should do research on both styles of riding, watch videos, and find which is more appealing to you. Although you might not be a QH lover like I am, I suggest you search some of the AQHA Youth classes on Youtube, and search the western classes like cutting, barrel racing, etc. and then the more english classes like working hunter, hunter under saddle, search dressage (that's my interest), and see which one you would be more interested in. Keep in mind that while you shouldn't pick for a matter of convenience, you should still have access to a trainer that can help you with that discipline, and you'll need the proper equipment, whether that means buying your own or borrowing from someone who does (I've spent months borrowing other tack, and it's a great way to try something before you commit). I would try both disciplines, take lessons in both, and see which one you enjoy more. Lunging while riding is a great way to practice on your seat in the saddle, but especially since you are new to english, I would do this first with a trainer or someone with ample experience to assure your safety. There are more variables involved and you want to make sure that you aren't in any danger.

    Good luck & God bless!
    Remember, go with what your heart tells you.
         

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