Would a horse that has only been trained in western riding have a hard time transitioning to english riding? Do you have one horse that you ride both english and western? Or two separate horses?
Just wondering... I think when I eventually get my own horse that I might want to try some english riding, but most horses around here are trained in western riding.... would they care that the tack is different? lol
I don't plan on competing really... maybe something at the county fair every year, but mostly just for the fun of riding both ways... are the pleasure classes very different or no? I guess that would be a good question to ask as well. :-P
My horses are both AC/DC, so to speak. My youngest daughter prefers to ride western. I prefer English, although I sometimes use an Australian saddle for more security.
The gelding will neck rein, but is also content with direct contact and a snaffle. He seems happier moving under an English saddle, but he still has plenty of get up and go under western.
The mare hated bits when I got her 2.5 years ago and has been ridden bitless - but I put a snaffle in her mouth yesterday, used very light pressure and she seemed VERY happy with it - chewed the bit constantly, but stretched out with head lowered and ears forward and went forward with enthusiasm. It was hard to believe she was the same horse that 2+ years earlier had taken me 3 days to get a bridle on and acted terrified when the bit finally went into her mouth.
However, she still acted terrified of releasing it when taking it off, so maybe I know now what her bad experience was...
Other than the mare not knowing how to neck rein, I can't tell much difference to them in the style of riding. I can put an English saddle over a Navajo blanket on the gelding and have him neck rein, or a western saddle with bitless on the mare, or any other combination that happens.
In the end, good riding is good riding. Are you balanced for the type riding you are doing? Does the saddle, regardless of type, fit? Do you have light hands? Do you give the signals to the bit (or bitless bridle) with your finger or with your arm? Do you pay attention to your horse? Are you active, or do you think a horse is an ATV?
English saddles put more pressure per square inch than western. Western bits are easier to abuse than most English, although people can savagely abuse a bitless bridle as well. But the basics are close enough that the horse can quickly adapt. After that, it is just training and learning what the horse is best suited for and what you are interested in doing.
Thanks so much for replying. It was helpful. :D
Will the Horse chase foxes as well as it chases cattle
Your horse should have no difficulty moving from Western to English and back - a horse is a horse. But you will have to learn to ride the horse differently because the difference at the basic levels lies more in how you ride than how your horse responds.
Looking from an English point of view, you can use the same bit - a simple ring snaffle will fit most English bridles and Western bridles - but with English you'll ride 'collected' - ie in a light constant contact with the horse's mouth whereas when riding western you allow the horse its head and hold the reins in one hand. Reins are easy enough to swop over.
The saddle is a big swop. The Seating position is different as is the way the stirrups are used. Personally I would like to see you learn to sit in the English way first, but I would wouldn't I. The seating position as used in English gives you the capability to use the small footprint of the English GP saddle, then when you sit in a full western saddle it will seem like an armchair.
Another difference is that English riders tend to use a whip or crop as an aid, whereas the Westerners use a rope or lariat. (After all my years riding I can't use a rope).
the two systems are slightly different but both allow a human to sit a horse so they can't be too dissimilar. My own horse is highly trained English and very sensitive to the aids, but I suspect that if I bought a Western saddle with a deep seat, she would adjust very quickly and I would be much more secure in the saddle when she spooked, as invariably she does.
My old horse could - I am sure she could.
I am confident you can.
When I start taking lessons I will ask her if I can ride in the english saddle for a while. I've never sat in one before! I know she has one though. lol I can't wait until spring! Sooo much snow here... I am really excited to start my lessons! The waiting is killing me! I'm just trying to get as much basic knowledge as I can before I get really involved so I don't seem like a moron. hahaha! I know her well, but I still don't want to look stupid. I've been trying to read up a lot on horses, riding and horse behavior until I actually get on a horse again. I miss their smell and everything. XD I've not had any real formal riding lessons before, so I'm ready to learn and hopefully get my own horse later. I used to have 3 when I was younger, but had to sell them when me moved. :( Can't wait to have another for myself.
Look out for diagrams as to how you should sit:
Upright, head high and looking straight ahead.
Natural curve in the spine
On three pelvic bones, balanced evenly side to side
Legs hanging down,
Toes turned up slightly to fit into the stirrup irons which have been adjusted to your leg length.
Feet parallel with eachother and spine of horse
Lower thighs off the flanks of horse
Reins, held lightly in both hands lying in a straight line, thru forearm, hands and reins, from tip of elbow to horse's mouth.
If you can adopt the correct seat in the saddle, then you will be able to adjust to ride
An English General purpose saddle, A Western saddle, A Spanish saddle , An Australian saddle or indeed any other saddle you might for once in your life be privileged to try.
Your seating position decides everything and if you adopt an incorrect postion at the start of your riding, then before you can learn to adopt the correct position as a matter of course, then you have to first unlearn the incorrect position you have adopted and that is not as easy as it sounds.
Get someone to video your riding or even better set up a mirror in the arena and ride towards it.
If you can ride English, then you can sit on any Western saddle and ride English as though you are sitting on an English saddle. My favourite Western rider is Clint Eastwood - watch him in the old spaghetti Westerns -as a young man his riding was impecaable.
There is a thread on the Forum, going back to early last year: "Why heels down and not up". It debates the reasoning of why you should sit on a horse in an upright but relaxed posture.
Add it to your reading
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