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Western or English - a continuing debate.

This is a discussion on Western or English - a continuing debate. within the Western Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

     
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        12-06-2010, 05:07 AM
      #11
    Weanling
    Barry,

    To echo the other comments, excellent story. I enjoyed reading your post.


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Barry Godden    
    But honestly, which of us has the better deal?

    The great advantage of the Western way is that any rider with few words of instruction can sit in the big comfortable saddle and ride a well schooled western horse.
    This misunderstanding, I think, is the crux of your dilemma.

    A well trained horse is a well trained horse. Good riding is good riding.

    I know plenty of "western" trained horses that I would _never_ pair with "any rider with a few words of instruction." Even a well trained western horse can be a problem for a rider that has heavy hands - in that case many english "school" horses would be a better choice because they might be more tolerant to inexperienced hands on the bit.

    If you train a horse to be an arena horse, it will be a potential problem on trail. If you have a well rounded horse, it will be more forgiving of different situations and different riders. I don't think this is an english/western thing. At the risk of over-generalizing, I would say that some english schools emphasize the "arena" work while most "western" training emphasizes a more rounded approach. These approach is more consistent with the goal of the training.

    On the other side of the coin, compare a horse that knows nothing but western pleasure to a horse that does hunter pace and fox hunting. Which one would you think the better trail horse?

    I think the problem also lies in the rider's goals. A young rider taking lessons to show dressage or jumping doesn't want to think "outside the ring." If that competition is popular in your area, the instructors will concentrate on doing what they need to make the student competitive. They are not training horsepeople - they are training kids in a specific sport. The approach is more linear. The higher the level one aspires to, the more focused and linear that training becomes.

    While western riders may be more laid back in their approach, some are not without the same mindset. There are barrel horses and reining horses that never see the outside of a ring either.

    Quote:
    As it is, I am even hesitant to ride DiDi in front of the perceptive eyes of her current instructor. After almost 40 years of riding I am reluctant to take my own horse along a country lane because I know she will be skittish in a close urban environment
    After 40 years of riding you shouldn't give a hoot what anyone thinks of your riding. :) You should ride to please yourself, not others. (And if you aren't happy with your current skills, work to improve them).

    In the same vein, after 40 years I am sure you have the skills to train your horse for a ride along a country lane. It is just a matter of getting in the saddle and working on it.

    The only danger is that once your horse discovers the wide open world out there, she may realize how terribly boring ring work is. Then she will be the one asking to move to Texas. :)
         
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        12-06-2010, 07:33 AM
      #12
    Started
    TD
    Fundamentally I agree with all you have said. As I received your post I was in the process of writing another article on similar vein.

    By letting my horse go off to do something she appears to be good at - competitive dressage - I am allowing her to be coached for instant and almost blind obedience which are qualities not always relevant to the world outside of an arena. Maybe I should let her go.

    My mare now seeks the bit and the restrictions imposed by the shortened reins - it absolves her of the responsibility of carrying us herself and her rider safely out on the trails. She can shy at a bird flying up from a bush and claim the bird interrupted her concentration. She can startle at a cow because it has horns. And pigs smell.

    But you folks out in the land of Oz ( presumably that is where you live) gives you a unique perspective - half Western, half English and wholly Australian.

    We Brits are an inhibited race in many ways. Perhaps it is because this crowded little island is filled with so many people and divided up by all the fences, some which were created a thousand years ago. The inhibition shows in how we choose to ride our horses.

    Nowadays, we share the tiny lanes with the traffic amd the horse can be sued for kicking the car's paintwork.

    Barry

    PS If you look up the photos posted by Paint Horse Mares you'll see that maybe I ought to think of moving to Utah instead of Texas.
         
        12-06-2010, 09:19 AM
      #13
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Barry Godden    
    TD
    By letting my horse go off to do something she appears to be good at - competitive dressage - I am allowing her to be coached for instant and almost blind obedience which are qualities not always relevant to the world outside of an arena. Maybe I should let her go.
    If a child has the talent and desire to become a concert pianist, we shouldn't force them to be a rock guitarist.:)

    Quote:
    But you folks out in the land of Oz ( presumably that is where you live) gives you a unique perspective - half Western, half English and wholly Australian.
    I am curious what gave you the impression I was from down under? Sometime I feel like I am living in Frank Baum's Oz, but I am from New York. Surround by "english" riding, being a western rider puts me in the minority.

    Quote:
    We Brits are an inhibited race in many ways. Perhaps it is because this crowded little island is filled with so many people and divided up by all the fences, some which were created a thousand years ago. The inhibition shows in how we choose to ride our horses.

    Nowadays, we share the tiny lanes with the traffic amd the horse can be sued for kicking the car's paintwork.

    Cultural differences... I can't deny they exist. While I will trust you on the "inhibitions" I also seem to recall dressage being descended from the old knights and their warhorse training. Prancing around a battlefield in full armor can hardly be called inhibited. Perhaps you just need to awaken your "inner knight." :)

    I too live on a crowded little island amid traffic and people who will sue at the drop of a hat. That doesn't stop me from riding my horse down a busy street and going to the fast food drive-thru... or down to the local "pub" and tying my horse to a makeshift hitching post while my friends and I have a beer.

    Be a rebel and surely you will find others of a similar mind!
         
        12-06-2010, 09:30 AM
      #14
    Gus
    Banned
    Western all the way. I was in the (western) saddle before I could walk and had my own pony when I was 2. I even bout my own western saddle at like age 9 or 10. I do barrel racing/pole bending. I don't have fond memories of english....but I do use our old racehorse exercise saddle when I don't feel like throwing the giantic western saddle on my horse hahaha. I don't know if that counts as "English"
         
        12-06-2010, 09:45 AM
      #15
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tazmanian Devil    



    I am curious what gave you the impression I was from down under? Sometime I feel like I am living in Frank Baum's Oz, but I am from New York. Surround by "english" riding, being a western rider puts me in the minority.



    Must admit, I was thinking you were an Aussie as well, given your username Although given that it is spelled with a 'z' rather than an 's' I guess it is a reference to the Warner Bros. Character rather than the real thing?
         
        12-06-2010, 11:16 AM
      #16
    Banned
    I ride english and western. I want to show English, but I want to do shows for fun and not the competition. I always hate the thought of "I'm better than you." Just have fun with what you're doing.
         
        12-06-2010, 02:28 PM
      #17
    Weanling
    I'm kind of mixed. I ride western in an english saddle, if that makes sense. I grew up riding and showing western, as well as trail riding. We had our "show horses" and our "trail Horses" and the the two groups never met.

    Now as an adult I am trying me best to see that my mare is well rounded. She was started western, with a reining foundation, but after discovering how comfortable dressage saddles can be, she is ridden under an English saddle, with a western bridle. Tacky? Maybe. But it works for us, and I can hit the trails, run barrels, and wouldn't shy away from a western pleasure class.
         
        12-07-2010, 08:55 AM
      #18
    Gus
    Banned
    I'd like to learn English, but I don't necessarily want it to be the center of my riding. During my bad experience (long story short) They threw a english saddle on my horse (that as far as I knew...never did english!) and they slapped the helmet on my head and said, "Get on, Jump this." I'm all, "......WHAT?!" So bottom line they made me jump it and I fell.....twice....in one night -.-
         
        12-07-2010, 09:26 AM
      #19
    Green Broke
    The majority of English riders around here are trail riders 6 days a week. They usually spend one day training for competition, and the rest they are "happy hackers."

    It's the Western riders who are the arena freaks, in my area. The WP riders here are some of the most uptight people, but of course there are exceptions in both areas.

    I DETEST discipline stereotypes.

    I am an English rider, although I grew up riding Western. I bought Sun to be an Event horse. Does that mean she won't go on trails? Of course not. I adore trail riding, as do many of the other English riders here.


    There are Western riders who, as soon as they hear that I ride in an English saddle, suddenly assume that I'm a stuck-up, rich brat. Far from the truth.

    If all I cared about was winning I would have bought a trained eventer, not a $500 long yearling that needs two-three years before she sees a jump.

    Those assumptions make me sad, and disgusted.
    I don't assume that you're a back country hick because you choose to ride Western, so don't assume I'm a ribbon-happy brat because I choose to ride English. Ignorance is NOT bliss, it's ignorance.

    I don't view one discipline better than another. I have my preferences, but that doesn't mean the others are any less worthy of respect.

    In either situation, you are putting yourself on the back of a 1200 pound, unpredictable animal, and that deserves respect.

    This isn't directed toward anyone, just my sentiments on the whole debate.
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        12-07-2010, 10:23 AM
      #20
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gus    
    I'd like to learn English, but I don't necessarily want it to be the center of my riding. During my bad experience (long story short) They threw a english saddle on my horse (that as far as I knew...never did english!) and they slapped the helmet on my head and said, "Get on, Jump this." I'm all, "......WHAT?!" So bottom line they made me jump it and I fell.....twice....in one night -.-
    Ugh... that is terrible! Sounds a lot like the first time I rode in English tack... "Get on, this is how you post, that is what 2 point is, now do it over that jump".

    I didn't fall but it was a very close one and it really soured me on english. I was sour on it until last summer when a friend let me try out her dressage saddle for a long trail ride. After 7 hours in that saddle and no soreness I changed my tune and bought one for myself!
         

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