Want to try English
Ok so I have no experience with English riding whatsoever. I'd like to try it and I'm finding all kindve tack and equipment. I want to shift thru the fluffy and ask what would I need just to get started. I've been looking for something like an all propose saddle Ill be doing mostly trails and riding in the arena. Any input from you guys wild be great.
first off, get a trainer. if you want to ride english properly, its what you have to do.
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What TurnNBurn said. Riding English properly isn't just a matter of changing tack. It's a whole different way of riding than Western.
Well I intend to, I am currently looking around for one in this area, but I still need to buy some tack to start out dont I?
Tack is not necessary if you want to just take some lessons and try it out. Most places will put you up on a horse and provide all the tack, I would just ask about it when you are inquiring into trainers. English saddles still need to be fitted to the horse, so buying a random one usually isn't the best idea, and like everything else, you do get what you pay for, so picking up a cheap one usually doesn't get you far. And many people refer to all-purpose saddles as "no-purpose" saddles, as the position they put you in isn't really ideal.
Or if you have your own horse some trainers may have a saddle you can borrow for a few lessons to try before you buy something. If definitely doesn't hurt to ask.
I would take some lessons first to see how you like it, and then go from there, before dropping a bunch of money on tack for a style of riding you haven't even tried yet. Once you get some lessons and get more comfortable, your trainer will be able to direct you better what to look for in the tack department, based on what you want to do.
As everyone else has said, you will indeed want to start off with some lessons.
But to answer your question, when you've decided that English is for you, then an All Purpose will probably be what you're looking for to ride comfortably on the trails. Look for a used quality saddle rather than a cheap new one. Unless you have a bunch of cash to spend, then get something new and good. Try lots of saddles before you buy. Even in the All Purpose category, you'll find flat seats and deep seats, knee pads and knee blocks, or just plain flaps, wide twists, narrow twists, rock-hard and padded, etc. Find what you and your butt like before buying anything. Also note that an English saddle has to fit your horse much more precisely than a Western saddle does. Take a look under Tack and Equipment. There's a sticky called: Does your saddle really fit. Also lots of posts in the tack and equipment threads about saddle fit and sizing.
You'll want a thin pad. In English, the pad is pretty much there to keep the saddle clean, not to make the saddle fit.
You'll need some kind of snaffle bit. In English, you ride with constant, light pressure on the mouth, pretty much just feeling it, and use direct reining. No loose reins, so you'll be wanting to get away from any shanked bit, at least to start out with.
You'll also need 1-piece reins, no split-reins.
And have fun!
Some people also find dressage saddles more comfy than an AP saddle. The seat is a bit deeper and helps to make you feel a bit more secure.
Also note, it is very rare to see an english ridden horse without a noseband. A plain cavesson noseband would be fine to start off with, especially if your horse is used to being ridden without one. You shouldn't need any other type. :)
Bearing in mind this pic was taken at a competition, so you don't have to worry about the saddle blanket being white or anything... but this would be the bare minimum I would have.
A comfy, well fitting saddle
(assuming you already have a bridle...) a snaffle bit
and if you really want to make the switch... a cavesson noseband. You shouldn't need the flash strap if your horse is used to being ridden without a noseband.
Quite honestly, my barn has a saying "All purpose... no purpose." This is because if you want to do jumping, they aren't that great. If you want to do dressage, they aren't that great. Really, the only thing they are good for is trail riding. I agree with everything else said here, good luck! I switched to english and I will never look back!
Hope I was of some help!
Happy Riding!!!!!! :) :) :) :)
When I first started, my trainer provided all the tack I needed (she even had a helmet for me). I didn't start collecting my own tack until I was sure English was what I wanted. It shouldn't be too hard to find a trainer that can provide what you need while you're taking lessons.
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