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pmclamb 09-26-2009 02:17 PM

Learning English...Western Saddle
I bet all of you thought that I was wondering if it is possible to learn English riding with a western saddle. That's not what I meant :)

I would like to start taking lessons, and the English style appeals to me for some reason (which is odd because Western sounds so much easier for beginners, and I like "easy"). The problem is that I want to be able to ride the horse I spend all my time with, but she only has a Western Saddle. I would like to be able to take a lesson once a week but also be able to practice what I learn on "my" horse (with someone there to watch me of course). For a beginner, is it just a horrible idea to learn English, but in my spare time ride a Western saddled horse. Will I be negating anything I learn in the lessons?

I don't know what it is, but I want to be able to really develop balance and it seems like English is the way to go for that. I also have an unexplainable desire to learn direct reining with two hands as opposed to neck reining with one hand.

kelliannejoseph 09-27-2009 12:58 AM


I ride western, I am currently majoring in equine studies in western riding and training. I have riden many horses through out the years. I believe that it does not matter if you ride english or western you have to have balance. I find that riding bare back works on your balance the most. It just depends on what you want to do, and what the full reasoning behind why you want to learning how to ride english. If you want to become more balance in your seat I would encourage you to ride bare back, its hard to start off with, but you will pick up on it really fast. There is also different balancing exercizes that you can do while riding english or western. I would talk to the person that you plan on giving you lesson, about balance, and what they think is the best thing for you.

Good Luck!

cheply 09-27-2009 04:04 PM

A lot of people don't have horses and the ONLY time they ever ride is in thier lessons... once or twice a week.
..... so I assume that riding english in a lesson a couple times a week and riding western the rest of the time would be better than only riding in lessons as MANY other people do.
Riding is riding and the more you do it the better you get no matter what you're doing the basics are the same.

A couple of the girls at my barn ride in western saddles but direct rein because they only have english bridles.
This is something you might consider trying at home to practice this new type of steering with your horse. I don't know if its good to do or not.. but talk to someone about that maybe

farmpony84 09-27-2009 04:07 PM

I ride english in a western saddle all the time...

pmclamb 09-27-2009 11:13 PM

thanks for the replies everyone. appreciate it

xxBarry Godden 09-29-2009 04:01 PM

At your stage in your riding career - just get up on the horse and ride it. The more hours spent in the saddle the better for you.

When you've got some spare cash, then go and see an English tutor and pay for some lessons on her English tacked horse.

The key difference between English & Western is in the way you hold the reins - Oh and the saddle.

The thing that is going to help you the most at this stage is the horse. I hope it is worth your time - for your sake.

Have some fun on horseback and don't ruin the horse's mouth.

Barry G

PS You could always buy a book on how to do it.

pmclamb 09-29-2009 06:37 PM

Thanks for the replies everyone. I've just been riding everyday...just jumping on and working with the horse. I also took your advice kellianne and I started riding her bareback. It helped point out some flaws in my seat and legs.

She also has a western saddle yet is direct reined...Tom Thumb bit. I try to be as easy with my hands as I can, but she's been testing me the last few times and it seems like there is nothing I can do but pull a little harder to get her back on track.

I guess the real reason I wanted to learn English was because there seemed to be more emphasis on balance, but now that kellianne suggested bareback, I guess it doesn't really matter which style I learn. I am just enjoying being on her and am learning a lot. Thanks again for the replies.

pmclamb 09-29-2009 06:54 PM

Oh and I also have Horseback Riding for Dummies :)...don't know how good it is, but it seemed appropriate.

wild_spot 09-29-2009 07:11 PM


She also has a western saddle yet is direct reined...Tom Thumb bit.
Eep! If you are direct reining, get her in a snaffle! NO curb bit is made to be direct reined, they are all made for neck reining. An American tom thumb is often mistakenly called a snaffle, but is truly a curb bit, and in inexperienced hands, can be confusing, and harsh.

I would ask if there is a snaffle you could use when direct reining her.

Good luck!

pmclamb 09-29-2009 07:46 PM

Dang I feel terrible for putting her through that then. If I get a snaffle bit will she adjust to it or is there a training process we'll need to go through?

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