"Western is harder on horses" ?

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"Western is harder on horses" ?

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  • same horse both english and western
  • English or western saddle harder on horses back?

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    07-15-2009, 01:52 PM
"Western is harder on horses" ?

Before I found my current private instructor, I checked out a couple of other training schools. I also talked to a few avid riders who use gentle techniques. They all happened to be English riders. Of course they recommended English. One school offers both English and Western and they asked which one I want to learn. I told them it didn't really matter as I had no previous experience. One of the instructors recommended English because English style is easier on the horses. Another lady told me it would be better to start with English so that I would learn the 'proper' way. I didn't understand what that meant...

Then I checked out a western trainer (cutting horse trainer to be exact). I love the practicality of the western horses but I did not like the way he was with the horses. I told him that I didn't want to be harsh on the horses and I don't do well with yelling. I ended up with one of his apprentices who has a better temper and more patience. :) I asked her what the English riders told me "easier on horses etc" she called it BS.

So what do I believe? I won't get to ask the other instructor as I won't be going back there again.
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    07-15-2009, 01:58 PM
Green Broke
This is really interesting. I do not think that western is specifically harder on horses, because with english, speed and agility are pretty demanding of the horse. In jumping, hunting, XC ect. But in western, there is barrel racing, poles, all the speed events, as well as cutting, reining, ect. So its kinda hard to point the finger at any one discipline.

I do agree however, that english is really good to learn, becuase IMO, it helps a lot with ballance, and really getting a feel for your horse. But I just lover the speed and excitment of western!! Hehe
    07-15-2009, 02:01 PM
Super Moderator
I think the difference is in the training. To have a truley western trained horse, you've got some serious discipline going on. I think if you are comparing a true western horse to a local hunt horse, then that horse has had a lot harder training. If you are comparing a true western horse to a higher level english horse, or a dressage horse, then no, they've got the same amount of training under their belts....
    07-15-2009, 02:10 PM
If you want to boil it down to basic basic basic - a green, unbalanced rider just learning - better off in a western saddle. The western saddle will distribute the weight on the horse better.

Neither style of riding is harder - a particular discipline maybe. Every discipline can have potential issues for the horse (dressage and reining - hocks, jumping/cutting - knees, etc)

As long as the horse is well built, condtioned and cared for - they can be athletic for a long, long time in any discipline.
    07-15-2009, 02:18 PM
I think both are about equal, depending on the rider and what they are training to do. Some of the events of Western are harder than some of the events of English, and vice versa.
    07-15-2009, 02:35 PM
Yes, that would be me. I liked your answer since I've decided with Western :)
Originally Posted by mls    
If you want to boil it down to basic basic basic - a green, unbalanced rider just learning - better off in a western saddle. The western saddle will distribute the weight on the horse better.
    07-15-2009, 02:36 PM
Green Broke
YAY! I lovee western! =D
    07-15-2009, 04:54 PM
BS. English and western can be just as good or as bad as the person riding makes it.
    07-15-2009, 05:35 PM
You have gotten excellent answers! From what you have said, the difference seems to be in the eyes of the different trainers you have visited with.
Some trainers are easier on the horses than others. I think the 2 disciplines are pretty equal in their toll on the horse.
Its up to you which you would like to start with. Some will say start western because the saddle is more secure. Some say start English because its better to learn balance. Personally, I think you should start bareback on a short horse
    07-17-2009, 03:12 PM
Green Broke
It all depends on the horse and the person riding the horse. Period.

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