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rexing93 12-06-2012 07:15 PM

To take English lessons or not?
I've been struck with a difficult decision just recently.
Lately I've been searching around in hopes to purchase my first mount, which would be a Western trained trail horse. Nothing more and nothing less. I currently live in an English dominant area with many riding facilities (many professional) right down the road from me and have been struggling with whether or not to take English lessons instead.

About six years ago I was introduced to the English aspect of riding as I was able to ride at a walk. The trainer at that facility had said I had potential and I was offered lessons, however didn't get to take hold of the opportunity as I moved weeks after. Then just a year ago I was able to ride English once again, but this time was able to trot and again the trainer at that facility said that I had potential and offered to set me up with training--and again, I ended up moving.

Now I'm not planning on moving any time too soon and living in an area surrounded by English trainers and am curious if I should go and try out English lessons since I've been wanting to for the past six years.

So, current English riders, what are the Pros and Cons you've came across? Perhaps there are previous Western riders who had a change that could give me insight to which style of riding they prefer?

Also-I'm not sure on how built/fit you'd have to be in order to be an English rider seeing as I'm approx. 5'7.5" and weigh about 105lbs (tall and skinny) and not too terribly muscular, but I'm somewhat fit--and there is definite room for improvement on that (New Years Resolution to get more muscular on the top half anyways x]).

So to the English riders out there, what do you enjoy about English riding (Pros and Cons)?
What events are more fun and rewarding (in your opinion)?
If you've previously ridden Western, which do you prefer?
Any other insight/advice you'd have.

Thank you to all the help! :)

waresbear 12-06-2012 07:26 PM

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I ride & show both english & western. I take lessons both english & western. I used start & train horses, both english & western. There is no cons to english riding, or taking lessons, only pros, lots of them. Whenever you can manage lessons from a good instructor, take them!!!

Rachel1786 12-06-2012 07:54 PM

I grew up riding western and about 2 years ago I started riding English(14 years western). I absolutely love English, particularly dressage. I've ridden western a handful of time since and I gotta say, I just can't get comfortable in a western saddle anymore :-P be careful if you go English, you just may not want to go back! It is a lot harder at first but once you get it you get it :-)

MyHorsesGurl 12-13-2012 12:02 PM

I ride both English and Western i prefer Western at the moment it is more relaxing and comfortable less rules and its funner but English is great too, English will help build balance and core strength and Western is more of a style with working purpose or fun in mind- completly my OPINION no offense to anyone

MyHorsesGurl 12-13-2012 12:03 PM

I still LOVE both Styles though

beau159 12-13-2012 12:14 PM

I grew up riding Western and recently started taking English lessons for the purpose of learning something new and different.

I feel knowing a bit about both disciplines can only increase your knowledge as a horse person. However, I don't even forsee myself making the switch to English. I love my comfy Western saddle and I love speed events and gaming. However, I am hoping to learn how to jump in my English lessons.

One "con" of English riding is if you do want to show, you don't usually get any prize money for winning (at least that is what I have been told by English riders). Whereas for Western, I can go to a gaming show and win back my entry fees and win enough extra to fill the truck with diesel (always a plus!!!).

But why not do lessons in both? The more education the better!

JustWingIt 12-13-2012 01:49 PM

I've ridden English for 8 years and jumping is my primary discipline. I recently had the chance to take a handful of lessons on a VERY well trained western pleasure horse. I have to admit that I prefer English, I think it's because I feel more connected and in closer contact with the horse when I'm riding English. Just my opinion :)

If you have the opportunity I say go for it, it's always fun to learn something new:)
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Corporal 12-13-2012 02:04 PM

Take the lessons
The differences between balanced riding, English or Western, blurs, and only the tack is really different. It used to be that people that wanted to ride right away would buy a "Western" horse and tack and the folks who wanted to show English Pleasure or Hunter/Jumper or Dressage would look down on them as "uneducated." This isn't really true anymore. It's ALL fair, and there are just as many untrained and unsafe English horses as Western horses out there for sale!!! =b
NOW, so many Western riders post the trot in a Western saddle, that I seem to be the only one who had an older "cowboy" mentor, who told me, "Cowboys don't trot their horses, just walk and lope."
I recommend lessons in English. PLEASE go and check out several places. You are looking for a place that teaches children to ride, bc their lesson horses are less likely to run off with the rider. I learned what to expect from well trained lesson horses, and therefore, what I could reasonably expect from my own horses, when I finally bought them.
When you've put in enough hours under saddle you will find yourself riding sometimes on a slack rein, sometimes direct reining with contact, sometimes riding in 2-point (like Western tack, climbing a steep trail, out of the saddle and holding the mame), sometimes sitting a trot, sometimes posting a trot--you get the picture. The only time you really see a pure example of a discipline is at a National Championship class. All Dressage riders stretch their horses on a loose rein, all Western riders choke up for control at a gallop, and even those with split reins will tie them together, sometimes so their horse doesn't step on them.

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