Originally Posted by BarrelRacerHeart
Are there any differences between the english canter and the western lope? Or the trot and jog? For a while I thought the only difference was the name, and when I rode an english trained horse in a western saddle and loped, it didn't feel any different, but when I was at a horse show yesterday, watching western trained horses, it looked different. I'm mostly curious.
The biggest problem you will run into when considering terms used by riders and trainers is that they can mean various things. This is the problem with language: the meaning is determined by the usage. For example, two dissimilar words may mean the same thing. Example: flammable and inflammable. On the other hand, the same word can have opposite meanings. The word "cleave" may mean to cut apart. The same word may mean to cling together.
Some people use the terms canter and lope to mean the same thing. Others try to make distinctions based on various factors. Most people agree that the foot falls in the canter and lope are the same. For example: the left lead begins with the right rear foot. This is followed by the left rear and the right front hitting at the same time. Finally, the left front takes the weight as the horse pivots over it and the horse glides through the air while regrouping its legs for the next stride.
Aside from the foot falls, the movement of the horse while cantering or loping may vary greatly. The horse may hold its head and neck at various heights. The back may be hollowed or rounded, although all knowledgeable riders want it to be rounded. The hind feet may be strung out or brought under the horse to various degrees. When a horse brings its hind feet further forward, the horse's pelvis must tilt to help accomplish this. The horse's stride may vary with the horse stepping a longer or shorter distance with each stride. The horse may use its back muscles to a limited extent or it may use them in long, smooth, undulating action. The horse's legs may flex to various degrees.
The desired movement has less to do with whether one is riding in an English or Western saddle than what the rider is trying to achieve. Knowledgeable riders will vary these factors depending on their goals for the horse at the moment.
Similar statements can by made with regard to trotting in an English or Western saddle. However, I have only heard Western riders refer to a jog trot. This is generally a trot of moderate tempo with limited back movement on the part of the horse and low elevation of the legs and feet.