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-   -   New to English riding, tips/tricks/advice appreciated! (

ashmaebarn 11-19-2010 08:42 PM

New to English riding, tips/tricks/advice appreciated!
Hey everyone, I am new to English riding and this forum actually, so yay for my two firsts! I started English lessons last week and have my next one tomorrow and have found it to be MUCH different and more challenging, but also, I think, more fun than Western riding which is what I have done since I was three. I haven't ridden in probably 5-6 years due to college and boys :lol: but I am back in the saddle thankfully! So I am having to relearn everything pretty much. I was hoping to get tips/tricks/advice like it says in my title about my seat, how to pull everything together (like keeping my heels down, hands in the right place, etc). Anything you might think I would need to pay attention to, need to know, or whatever; I am open to any and all helpful advice! Thanks in advance guys!

tinyliny 11-19-2010 09:02 PM

I don't ride huntseat but I do ride dressage and western. I learned western, then dressage and back to western.
I think the thing that most W to E riders find hard is to learn to make and keep contact with the horse's mouth. Since in E riding you will not usually have draping reins, you must learn how to make contact with the horse's mouth and more importantly, how to FOLLOW the mouth ; still feeling it, but not bumping it. If your contact is not draping like western but not tight enough to be able to follow the mouth, your horse will be bopped in the mouthe each time he strides as your reins snap from a bit too loose to taut. You must have enough actual contact with the horse that you will be able to feel the horse's head rythmically moving forward and backward. That way you have something that you can feel and follow.
Eventually, you will be brave enough with the contact to not just passively follow the horse's mouth, but sometimes "hold" passively against the movement to begin to create some collection.
(of course, there's a lot more to collection than that, as ALL the dressage people will say, and they are right.)

And that's the other thing that you may find different; impulsion. English riding is based on a lot more speed and impulsion . Now, a really good western horse will have plenty of impulsion. So, let's just say for the beginning portion of learning English, learn to be comfortabel with a lot faster trot and canter. Don't panic and hold them back. Go with it.

Otherwise, just sit and ride the horse like you would any horse. The horse doesn't know or care what sort of saddle you are using. The basics are the same. Stay on, go with the flow, smile and have fun!

kitten_Val 11-19-2010 10:01 PM

I can't really give tips (as I'm not very good at that and unfortunately too often "verbal" advices are hard to implement on practice :wink:). But my advice would be ride as much as you can and take as many lessons as you can afford. Good trainer will help you with any flows you have. Good luck!

Luvs2jump 11-20-2010 09:50 PM

Calf streches will help with the heels. Just let find a set of stairs, on the first or second step, stand on it, let you heels hang off and drop your entire weight into your heels, then use the balls of your feet to bring your heel back up, start out with a small amount of repetition and then go from there.
I think I explained that right, if not, you can Google heel stretches and can find a better explanation that makes more sense.

PonyMad 11-27-2010 03:32 PM

I ride english, seeing as i live in england.
I have rode western before, and i found that improved my english.
I found that western helped me sit deeper into the saddle, as i used to not sit on my bottom and lean foward.
Although you normally have shorter stirups in english than western, so you might find that more challenging!

If I was you, just think that this is a completely new sport! English has different tecniques which you would find out from your instructor,
so if you try and use western tecniques on an english saddle; it might become a problem!

The english saddles are generally less comfterble then the western, and you dont actually have contact with your horse from your bottom,
its more about the legs and reins.

Gidget 11-27-2010 04:02 PM

I'm am a western rider..or was. I switched over to english/dressage riding.
What I find most challenging is making sure don't lose my stirrups while trotting! That is the hardest thing for me.Now if I have my legs jacked up then it's easier but not the prettiest form,haha.
Make sure you have your elbows bent and hold them back near the dip in your waist.You need to be light in the hands yet hold contact with your horses mouth. My trainer told me to hold the reins like a fist..make sure your thumb is on top though and have your pinky finger don't want to grip with your pinky finger..just have it relaxed. I might not be making any sense.It's easier to be shown how then to tell people how.

PonyMad 11-27-2010 05:36 PM

Oh, also to add,
your shoulders, elbows and heels should all be in line with each other, if you get what I mean?
your horses head, reins, hand and elbows/arms should all be in a horizontal line to each other. straight ____________________
unless your horse is working in an outline (when the head is down and neck arched)
but even then they should be in a straight ish line.
Reins tight! not lose!
Heels down! Stops them coming out of the stirups!

xxBarry Godden 01-03-2011 09:21 AM

Mae. I admire your pluck.

It would help if you could gain access to an English trained horse for the first few lessons - it would be best if at least one of you knew what to do.
But then get on the internet and see if you can find a copy of:

Horsemanship & Horsemastership - education of the rider written by Gordon Wright ISBN 0 87980 222 7

It is the manual of riding as written for the US Cavalry but modified for civilian use. The book is 60 years old but the horse hasn't changed its shape neither has the saddle nor has the human.

The reason why I suggest it is because undoubtedly many a western trained rider was re-trained to ride English - because the cavalry used Mcellen Saddles (which is an excellent simple English style saddle to use because it will fit all horses and all human butts. They are still made in Sth Africa.) The saddle sits on a western type saddle blanket. Its hard, but you'll get used to it.

Then when you understand better the difference between English and Western riding and can hold the reins in two hands then you can swop over to the modern modified way of classical riding.

But if you are doing this all on your own, then this little book will show you how.

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