Can I ride Western in English tack? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 52 Old 05-31-2017, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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Question Can I ride Western in English tack?

I was looking to get my first saddle soon but I'm having trouble deciding on which one to get. I've mostly ridden in Western saddles (using direct rein, oddly enough) but there have been a couple times that I've ridden English when I was young. I feel a lot more secure in a Western saddle than I do in an English saddle (there's more to keep me on, lol) but Western saddles are a lot more expensive than English and I don't like the look as much.

I was wondering if it was possible to ride in a Western position (grip with legs, stretch legs out.. as well as loosen up the reins) in an English saddle? The reason why I'm not going with a Western saddle right away is that I've always wanted to try out English tack, as you can prolly tell. The pros of Western, though, are the comfort, security, and versatility it offers. I'm 250lb-ish as well, so maybe Western would support me better than English?

Would I look dumb riding in a Western seat position in an English saddle, or is it not as noticeable as if it were the opposite? I wouldn't be competing, just riding around my house and trail riding. By the time I purchase my saddle, I would be living in Texas (currently living in Cali), if that changes anything.

Also, I'm fairly new at riding (not clueless but not an expert either) so please let me know if I'm not aware of something or whatever.

Thanks in advance,
Sara
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post #2 of 52 Old 05-31-2017, 06:20 PM
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Your position, as well as how loose you keep your reins, as opposed to having contact, has more impact on your horse than on you or how you look. Horses can go Western or English, but if you ride an English trained horse with very loose reins, you may find it wants to take off on you! If you ride a Western-trained horse with full contact, it may resist that. Same goes for your leg aids.

My suggestion, as someone who has ridden in both styles and taken lessons in both, is to determine what style of riding the horse is used to first. Then, if you feel better in a Western saddle, look for a used one. There are lots out there that aren't very expensive. Another alternative is a synthetic Western saddle, because they are much cheaper.

I also happen to love my Australian saddle for trail riding. I ride English when I'm doing arena work, but I love how my Aussie saddle (mine does not have a horn, but you can buy them with a horn if you like that) holds me in place on up and downhill trails. I view it as sort of in-between English and Western. Mine is a synthetic Australian saddle and I got it used for 400$.

I think you can find used Western saddles just as cheap as English saddles. But make sure you get the correct seat size for yourself, and gullet size for the horse you will be riding!

There is so much more to buying a saddle than how you will look in it!
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post #3 of 52 Old 05-31-2017, 06:25 PM
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I ride both English and western, although mainly western, riding in my English saddle mostly when I enter shows and go "all around'. on a senior horse
I don't get what you mean, because correct equitation (on the flat ) is the same in either saddle and my stirrup lengths are also the same
While it is true, in western show classes, you jog , thus sit, one can also post in a western saddle, long trotting, as I often do on trail rides
It si also a fact that a lot of dressage is ridden, while sitting the trot
I certainly don't i grip with legs, riding western, nor stretch legs out so they are off the hrose, as seen in some gaited riding, and which I have also noted at times, with Arabians shown western. It is natural for me to ride with heels down, either way, if that is what you mean by stretching legs out
Sure, you can ride any horse on a loose rein, just when showing English, light contact is standard, and if not showing, does not matter
Why not then ride in a dressage saddle? That would be my choice if I wanted to ride English with a long leg
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post #4 of 52 Old 05-31-2017, 06:30 PM
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True, far as saddle cost, as my Stubbin, even bought used, cost me as much as the western trail riding Billy Cook that I bought for Carmen.
Touring Spruce Meadow trade fair booths, where English tack orientated vendors have saddles on display, many of those English Saddles cost a lot of money
Conversly, Green Hawk has a few western saddles, besides their English saddles, and those western saddles are priced pretty low.
In the end, whether you buy an English saddle or a western saddle, price will be more related to quality, versus discipline, and why it is smart, JMO, to buy a well made saddle second hand, versus a cheap new saddle
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post #5 of 52 Old 05-31-2017, 06:42 PM
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I ride in all english tack, as it's what I'm used to and prefer to sit in, but my 'style' of riding probably leans a little more toward western I guess.
I ride loose rein, using leg cues instead to turn etc. As that is what the horse prefers (and was trained) and how I prefer to ride as well.
Otherwise my partner uses stock saddles, which I believe @Acadianartist is referring to as well (I didn't realize they were called Australian saddles over there, how cool ) But that style saddle, is probably the perfect mix of both as well.

It's really all about preference if you're not showing, find what makes you and the horse comfortable and run with that!
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post #6 of 52 Old 05-31-2017, 08:40 PM
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Well, for clarity, the saddle in the front is pretty well identical to mine. As I said, I did not want the horn, because I don't need it, and it's in the way for me. I found this to be a wonderful compromise between the Western and English styles, though it's not actually evolved that way. And honestly, people who see them don't know what the heck they are, so they can't tell you if you're sitting in them wrong or not! They're just not practical for a lot of arena work that involves things like posting over poles. So I use my Wintec AP English for that. Someday I might invest in a high end saddle, but that day is not here yet.
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post #7 of 52 Old 05-31-2017, 09:27 PM
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You can ride anyway you want in any kind of tack, English, western, bareback. If you want to try out an English saddle and ride loosey, goosey, do it.
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post #8 of 52 Old 06-01-2017, 01:25 AM
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To me it is obvious when a person is riding western in an English saddle but who cares? I make a note of it and I basically think "Oh he's riding western" - end of. Unless you are competing, do whatever is most comfortable for you and your horse.

(Rant: Around here there is an obvious difference in style between city folk and country folk. City folk have all had lessons in English while country folk have their own particular style, passed down the generations. I get really miffed when city folk look down on country folk for their equitation. Is the horse going? Yes. Is the rider secure on his mount? Yes. Stop flapping your snobbish mouths. I'm city folk, in case anyone is wondering. Sorry, had to get it out.)
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post #9 of 52 Old 06-01-2017, 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
Well, for clarity, the saddle in the front is pretty well identical to mine. As I said, I did not want the horn, because I don't need it, and it's in the way for me. I found this to be a wonderful compromise between the Western and English styles, though it's not actually evolved that way. And honestly, people who see them don't know what the heck they are, so they can't tell you if you're sitting in them wrong or not! They're just not practical for a lot of arena work that involves things like posting over poles. So I use my Wintec AP English for that. Someday I might invest in a high end saddle, but that day is not here yet.
So, you ride in an Australian stock saddle. Funny thing, I just got one given to me by my youngest son. He found it at a garage sale
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post #10 of 52 Old 06-01-2017, 03:46 AM
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I didn't have time to read all the replies.

I have a dressage saddle that is far more secure than any western saddle I have ridded in. Could I rope a calf off of it? Probably not. Could I jump in it? Tried it and not all that well. But I am very secure in it and it is comfortable. When my horse decided that the only style of dressage she would do was "Bobble Headed Llama Dressage", I started riding trail etc. And I ride on a loose rein. I neck rein when convenient and mostly ride with my seat and weight. I ride trail most of the time. I also do obstacles when the ranch leaves them up after a WOW event. I can open and close gates, pony horses and do some real hard core slide on your but trails, all in my dressage saddle.

I recently tried Cowboy Dressage, but once again my horse will only do "Bobble Headed Llama Cowboy Spinning Dressage", so sticking to the trails for the most part now.

The reason I got a Dressage saddle is because it was the only saddle I could find that would be comfortable for my horse. That is always the most important thing. The horse's comfort. If they are unhappy, you will be too.

I will often, when not working, ride in cowboy boots, jeans and t shirt in my dressage saddle. I have put split reins on my micklem bridle and went as far as using my western breast collar with my dressage saddle.

Dressage and Western riding are very similar up to a point. Dressage doesn't have a jog, but most else is very much the same.

You have to think about what the horse has been trained in also. There are plenty of English trained horses running around in western tack and vice versa. Do what is in your horse's best interest first. Make sure what ever saddle you use fits.
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