Western vs English from the horse's point of view - Page 2 - The Horse Forum

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post #11 of 16 Old 12-30-2013, 02:42 PM
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I ride english and mainly do jumpers, trail riding, and eventing. I have thrown a western saddle on my horse and played around. She still rode like an english horse. Actually I have ridden "western" in an english saddle. At a fun show I competed in barrel racing for the fun of it. I had never done it and didn't have time to untack and switch saddles. So I ran barrels in an english saddle and breeches. Thing is, I got 4th place which made me really happy since it was my first time. I would say have an idea of what discipline you want to do before you buy the horse. But just because a horse has been trained for one discipline doesn't mean you can't be adventurous and cross train them. It may take time and effort but I love horses that know both english and western disciplines! So versatile!
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post #12 of 16 Old 12-30-2013, 02:51 PM
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Both western saddles I own make it hard to have any contact with the lower leg. One needs to intentionally bring the lower leg against the horse, and it would be uncomfortable to hold it there constantly. It is quite different from the English/Australian saddles I've used.

Some horses won't mind the feel of the lower leg, and others can panic. Our Appy had been viciously spurred in the sides and still has scars 5 years later. He was very sensitive about being touched there, but eventually got used to it.

None of my horses have become upset about switching from western (what they were used to) to an English saddle. Switching my mare from several years of English/Australian to a western saddle seemed to puzzle her for about 10 minutes, and then she seemed happier in the western saddle. I'm sure others would prefer English, but it doesn't seem to make a big difference to any horse I've swapped saddles on. Just a few minutes of "Hmmm...that is different" and then they get on with being ridden. Having a saddle that fits is more important than what style of saddle!

Using contact vs no contact with a bit would get a bigger reaction from my horses than saddle type or leg use.
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post #13 of 16 Old 12-30-2013, 03:48 PM
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My daughters lease pony is quite impressive in how she can go either way – my daughter thinks it's quite hilarious to switch from western neck reining to traditional English contact reining in the middle of a ride and her pony reacts perfectly every time.

Her pony does seem to "switch gears" when neck reining however - that's her previous barrel racing experience shining through I suspect. When bit reining with normal contact she goes traditional perfect English, but when you switch to neck reining she suddenly switches into a "Woohoo let's go let's go!" mode.

This is all using English tack as well, We have never tacked her Western. Other then duller leg cues I don't think she would necessarily care that much either way and when her brain switches to "western mode" she would likely be indifferent.
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Last edited by PrivatePilot; 12-30-2013 at 03:53 PM.
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post #14 of 16 Old 12-30-2013, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSpark View Post
if you ride English, no breast collar
There are actually many kinds of breastplates used in English riding

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post #15 of 16 Old 12-30-2013, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrivatePilot View Post
My daughters lease pony is quite impressive in how she can go either way – my daughter thinks it's quite hilarious to switch from western neck reining to traditional English contact reining in the middle of a ride and her pony reacts perfectly every time.

Her pony does seem to "switch gears" when neck reining however - that's her previous barrel racing experience shining through I suspect. When bit reining with normal contact she goes traditional perfect English, but when you switch to neck reining she suddenly switches into a "Woohoo let's go let's go!" mode.

This is all using English tack as well, We have never tacked her Western. Other then duller leg cues I don't think she would necessarily care that much either way and when her brain switches to "western mode" she would likely be indifferent.
So the pony is bi-lingual :)
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post #16 of 16 Old 12-30-2013, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by frlsgirl View Post
So the pony is bi-lingual :)
She really is an awesome pony with a GREAT personality - always wants to just please.. Even smiles for photos - she SERIOUSLY knows what a camera is I'm convinced. ;)

FWIW, further to my reply above, my lease horse is clueless when it comes to western cues - I have tried to neck rein him on occasion when I needed a free hand for something else and he's just totally oblivious. Not surprising since he was primarily a hunter jumper all his working life and had zero exposure to anything even remotely related to western.

As soon as I break contact he takes it as an invitation to loose focus - I can neck rein him all I want and he just totally ignores it. Eventually he more or less slows down or stops wondering what to do since he's not receiving any input anymore. I can keep him moving with leg cues and even steer to some extent with leg yields, but eventually he starts to wander like a drunk driver if I just urge him forward with legs but don't have steering contact anymore.

It was an interesting experiment after my daughters results.

It depends a lot more on how the horse was schooled vs what kind of tack you have on the horse. A horse that understands what you're asking of him or her (be it english or western cues, or both if they understand) will aim to please regardless of what the leather looks like.
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Last edited by PrivatePilot; 12-30-2013 at 08:54 PM.
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