Western or english??
   

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Western or english??

This is a discussion on Western or english?? within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • English trail saddles
  • Western or english saddle

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    09-09-2012, 03:46 PM
  #1
Weanling
Western or english??

When I started riding again after 40 years (I'm 59) I decided to go western, because I mostly wanted to trail ride. I used to show/train hunters and jumpers, and occasionally rode western, but I figured I would need the security of a western saddle at my age, and for trail riding, western just seemed 'right'.

I wound up with a nice western endurance saddle, and had fun buying matching western gear for it - bridle, real nice felt pad, mohair cinch, etc. I FINALLY got all the gear I wanted/needed. When I rode, I felt a little insecure, partly becasue of my medical disorder, but I thought it was also because I hadn't riden for so long, and I was a LOT older!

Then my husband decided to buy an english saddle to ride in - heaven knows why - he always rode western. Anyway, it is too big for me, but I sat in it and suddenly my balance is back! It was like I was home again and I felt perfectly comfortable and in control.

SO... now I'm probably going to start all over again loking for english stuff that I really can't afford, unless someone can talk me out of it!! Is riding trails in english just as fun/safe/appropriate? ALso, I know I will have a lot more trouble mounting in an english saddle when I am away from the barn - again because of my medical condition. Is that reason enough for me to stick with western?

By the way, I posted this under tack and equipment, but I saw this saddle on Craigslist. It is a Jeffries All purpose for $300.00 including stirrups, leather girth and real fleece pad. Does anyone know anything about that brand or have comments on that saddle? If I get an englih saddle, I know I will probably want to jump a little in the future, so I want a saddle I can trail ride and jump in.

Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks!!
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    09-09-2012, 04:05 PM
  #2
Trained
You could compromise and go Aussie-style. Mine FEELS like my Bates AP, only less bouncy since it doesn't have CAIR - and that is a good thing, BTW:





Plenty of rings to hang/tie things to, I like the horn, easy to stay in if the horse hits the fan, but it really does ride like my Bates.

Haven't tried jumping in it. Sure it wouldn't be good for big jumps, but small ones might be OK.
     
    09-09-2012, 04:14 PM
  #3
Green Broke
Wife went from western to this, Paragon Saddle With Horn and now rides on a postage stamp sized english saddle on trails. You'll never convince her to go back either.
     
    09-09-2012, 04:17 PM
  #4
Foal
I think that western is much more exciting and fun!
     
    09-09-2012, 04:39 PM
  #5
Super Moderator
Jeffries are a really old English company from where some of the best saddles were made - Walsall, Staffordshire, they have always had an excellent reputation but the saddle is only any use to you if it fits you and your horse - will the seller allow you to try it first?
I have been thinking about buying a western saddle - I quite like the look of the Cowboy Dressage competitions and I also thought it would be better for hanging stuff on for trail riding now we are in the US but I honestly didn't find them any more comfortable - maybe less - and they seem so heavy too so for now I'm sticking with my familiar english one
bsms I do like the look of the saddle you have though, I might look into those
     
    09-09-2012, 05:08 PM
  #6
Yearling
I have ridden thousands of miles in my english-type saddle.

I don't think the type of saddle matters, more that it fit your horse and yourself. If either of you are uncomfortable, its not going to work.

You said you have a medical condition that can/may make mounting difficult. If you feel having a horn to grab makes it easier, but grabbing mane doesn't give you the same feeling, you can run a strap across the front of your english saddle between the D rings to use as a support while getting on. Or, even better, you can make sure whatever horse you are riding is agreeable to you mounting from a variety of things (truck bumpers, fallen logs, gates, etc) and then the horn or lack thereof shouldn't matter much at all!
     
    09-10-2012, 08:45 AM
  #7
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by phantomhorse13    
I have ridden thousands of miles in my english-type saddle.

I don't think the type of saddle matters, more that it fit your horse and yourself. If either of you are uncomfortable, its not going to work.

You said you have a medical condition that can/may make mounting difficult. If you feel having a horn to grab makes it easier, but grabbing mane doesn't give you the same feeling, you can run a strap across the front of your english saddle between the D rings to use as a support while getting on. Or, even better, you can make sure whatever horse you are riding is agreeable to you mounting from a variety of things (truck bumpers, fallen logs, gates, etc) and then the horn or lack thereof shouldn't matter much at all!
Well, now that sort of depends on the type of trail riding you intend to do. If you're just going out for a couple hours at a time on well-developed trails, either will do. But if you plan on heading out for a full day, or overnight, or on poorly maintained or undeveloped trails, you have considerations other than simple saddle fit for horse and rider. While I recognize that your age and health may preclude the kind of trail rides I take, I'll not make that assumption. My dad is 78 and still goes out with me.

For a long ride, you're going to need someplace to hang certain things. I never go out on trail without a halter under the bridle and a long lead attached, which I coil around the saddle horn. I like to have a place to tie on a rain slicker and a jacket or long-sleeved shirt. You will need to hang a canteen somewhere, either on the saddle itself, or in a saddle bag. I suppose a camelback would do the trick as well, but on a long ride, that would become uncomfortable, hot, and create a sweaty spot on me. Where will you carry your hoof pick (you do take one with you, right?)?

I once took a week pack trip in an Aussie saddle with a horn (you see it in my avatar). I liked the ride, but did not like the fact that there was no back skirt or jockey on the saddle, which had my saddlebags riding on the horse's back. I occasionally like to rest myself a little by hooking a leg around the saddle horn and riding sort of side-saddle. Can't do that with a saddle that has no horn or swells. Riding English pretty much requires constant contact with the horse's mouth. I would think that would get tiresome for horse and rider after four or five hours (although not being an English rider, I may be wrong on that). Western riding is generally done with one hand on the reins, allowing a free hand for other duties, such as towing a pack horse or handling a camera or binoculars. Another important point (for me anyway) is that it is easier to stay in the saddle with a western saddle when the proverbial "fecal matter comes in contact with the motorized oscillating ventilator device."

If you are feeling uncomfortable in a western saddle, but fine in the English, try adjusting your stirrups up or down a notch and see how that affects you. Or you might try a different saddle. The problem may be that the saddle does not fit you well. Maybe the stirrups are set too far aft or forward for you. Different saddles are made differently. I can attest there is a big difference in ride comfort with a saddle that fits you well.

These are only a few of the reasons I choose a western saddle for my kind of trail riding. It works well whether I'm just going out for a short jaunt or a week-long pack trip.

Then again, I have to admit that I often have visions of myself in an English saddle, galloping through fields, jumping stone walls with coattails flying.
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    09-10-2012, 10:30 AM
  #8
Green Broke
I ride on the trails in an English jump saddle and we do just fine. Most of the riders at my barn ride in English gear. The one lady that doesn't has big dreams about being a barrel racer but she's just denyIng reality.
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    09-10-2012, 11:24 AM
  #9
Weanling
One of my best friends trail rides in an English saddle (Wintec), and I have known other people who ride in dressage saddles comfortably. There is really no reason why you can't ride in an English saddle on trail, especially if you're already comfortable and have a balanced seat in that style of saddle, and as long as the saddle fits your horse well.

I rode English for most of my life (arena-riding, huntseat, jumping, some dressage) and when I started riding trail I used my close-contact jumping saddle just because that's what I had. Not bad for shorter trips, but it's really not designed for that type of riding.

I ride in a western saddle now (Tucker) though I kind of regret buying a saddle with a horn since it really serves no purpose and gets in the way more than anything. But. . .well. . .it's a Tucker saddle and I love it.

There are several saddle-makers (Tucker included) that do English-style endurance and trail saddles and I would give serious thought to getting one of them.
Corporal likes this.
     
    09-10-2012, 11:27 AM
  #10
Yearling
If you are comfortable with English than do it. There are English type trail saddles that have lots of tie rings.
     

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