I find the main difference is the tack and the horse's way of going. As for tack, a simple trail saddle should be fine to start out. If you don't want to be lugging a heavy leather saddle around then synthetic is also a cheaper and lighter alternative - Wintec is a great brand, their saddles are very comfortable, western and English.
I would get lots of lessons on it before worrying about tack but here's my rough suggestions. A trainer should give you a more detailed suggestion.
Bits are a little more in depth. If you only plan on doing western for pleasure riding a simple snaffle is fine. If you plan on showing western such as WP, you'll eventually need to upgrade to a curb. If you are going to need a curb, you'll want to teach neck reining and self-carriage in the snaffle before going to a curb. For introducing a curb, I would suggest a short-shanked, unjointed, swivel shanked bit with the shanks swept back as well. The information thread on curbs and western bits in the Tack and Equipment subforum should provide you with plenty of information :)
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Last edited by EquineCookies; 07-07-2012 at 01:20 PM.