05-14-2009, 11:49 AM
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Aside from the tack, there are only a few real differences. A finished Western trained horse will neck rein and is typically ridden on a loose rein and in a shanked bit. Many, many Western style riders use a simple snaffle but still a loose rein.
The Western riders have their stirrups longer then English riders. Rule of thumb is to have the bottom of the stirrup long enough to touch your ankle.
Western riders do try to stay more in motion with their horse and sit the gaits whenever possible, but posting is permissible on a horse with choppy gaits.
The Western trained horse will move a lot like an English Hunter but, again, on a loose rein.