Can I ride Western in English tack? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 52 Old 06-01-2017, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
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
Only on trails Smilie. I grew up riding Western, but didn't like the weight or the horn. All my arena work (pole work, trotting circles, my recent attempts to canter) is done on an English saddle as stated.
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post #12 of 52 Old 06-01-2017, 07:43 AM
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(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,
I think that everybody can benefit from learning what generations of horsemen and women have discovered and distilled into a "style" or "best practices". From there, your own personal style will invariably develop, just as it would with driving a car or painting oil paintings.

Why limit yourself to the "family style", no matter how old it is, when you can learn a theory that has been assembled from the work of people who have thought about biomechanics, physics, human and equine physiology, etc.? True, Uncle Tom and Grandma Josephine may have hit upon the perfect recipe, but they may also have solidified some unproductive habits in their riding - because they could get by with it, and the horse didn't complain.

In any case, on OP's subject of "tack and style", I personally use a close-contact saddle because I like how it allows me to "plug into the horse". Stability is provided by my hip adductor muscles. Still, when the horse is relaxed and we are at the walk in easy terrain, she can do with her head whatever she wants, as the reins will be slack. "Rein contact" to us means: "Stay focused now!"

Also, while cantering on twists and turns, I push with my legs, and the hands stay in "a small box" over the withers. It is no use if the head looks left and the shoulders go straight.

My thighs are solid on the knee pads of the saddle, but my calves better stay relaxed, or I'll have a very fast horse very quickly. My stirrups are shorter than for dressage, but longer than for jumping. I need to have long legs for stability, but bent knees for two-point and posting.

I once went on a western-tack trail ride, and I didn't feel like I was on the horse. I felt like I was on a chair on a horse.
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post #13 of 52 Old 06-01-2017, 08:42 AM
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IMO the main issue with "riding western" in "english tack" is you're going to be FIGHTING with the saddle about your leg position. Western saddles and english saddles tend to put your legs in slightly different positions...I just do with my reins whats comfortable for what I'm doing. Lots of english riders will ride without contact when not actually doing something that more so requires it. Also I believe its beneficial for any horse to know how to neck rein or use leg cues. You never know when you may be in a situation/obstacle that you can't use your reins as much.
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post #14 of 52 Old 06-01-2017, 08:53 AM
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You are not competing, so you can pretty much ride however you like. I also would look into synthetic saddles because they're cheaper. My friend has a Western synthetic Abetta brand saddle and I rode in it a few times, it's very comfortable.

Also think about how the horse has been trained too and what cues it is used to/responds to best. You don't want the horse to get confused. LOL.
Once in awhile, I ride Redz in an endurance saddle when I am not working/in a lesson with him. They're comfortable for trail riding/to relax in.

I like them because they are kinda a mixture of Western & English. Very comfortable. But I am 99% English with him. & since he responds very well to leg pressure, I do not have to solely rely on my reins. But when we are working, yes, I apply more contact of course. It all depends on what you are doing.

Call me weird, but posting in a Western saddle just doesn't feel right for me because I'm pretty much always in an English saddle so I'm not used to that. I feel like it's easier to post when I'm in an English saddle. I know people obviously post when they ride Western too (duh!), but it's just a bit different to me. I think I'm just not used to that horn being there. The seat feels totally different...yeah, I'm sticking to my English saddle.

Do what you feel comfortable with. I'd definitely check out some used saddles or synthetic saddles. :)
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post #15 of 52 Old 06-01-2017, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by PoptartShop View Post
You are not competing, so you can pretty much ride however you like. I also would look into synthetic saddles because they're cheaper. My friend has a Western synthetic Abetta brand saddle and I rode in it a few times, it's very comfortable.
Yes, I also own an Abetta Western synthetic saddle. I picked it up pretty cheap. It's fine, as far as comfort goes, but I do prefer my Aussie if I'm looking for something that will "hold me" more. That said, the Abetta Western saddle is kept for beginner riders who want a "pony ride" and like having a horn to hold onto! Not suggesting that's the only use for them of course, just saying we keep it around specifically because it feels more secure for those riders.

It's all what you're used to. I don't like the wide leg panels (fenders) on Western saddles, as I find twisting them hurts my knee over time. But I have old knees :) The Aussie (or stock saddle if that's what you want to call it) has the Western seat, but the slimmer English stirrups and stirrup "leathers" that don't hurt my knees. Just something else to consider.
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post #16 of 52 Old 06-01-2017, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Horsef View Post
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.)
THIS.

To put it in very bad, SE Oklahoma/N. Texas Grammar: We ain't got no fancy ridin' schools 'round here. Ain't no indoor arenas... only arenas you gonna find are for ropin' n'barrel racin', or buckin' one out... but that's usually done in a sketchy, open air, round pen.

Us 'country' folk learn from family, from being around other riders, friends, etc. And each 'clan' if you will does have differences in how they ride, how they handle their horses.

Back on topic, having never ever ever sat in an English saddle, or ridden a horse that had a clue about 'English', I'd never dream of trying it without lessons or knowing my horse was trained to ride either way. I'd say the reverse is true as well. If you've primarily ridden English, I'd make sure I had some basic lessons in Western riding, since the differences in the two styles go much deeper than just the saddle and the reining.

I think you'd be asking to get hurt if you tried riding western in an English set up. It goes beyond 'looking dumb'. English saddles put your legs and behind in entirely different positions than a Western saddle does. I would assume possibly your hands and ergo the reins as well since the different posture would translate completely up your spine. IDK though.

Then again, maybe I'm not understanding the question...

The Aussie saddles btw... seem like a good mix of the two, and I myself am looking into getting one, for a myriad of reasons. You might consider one of those as I believe others have mentioned.

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post #17 of 52 Old 06-01-2017, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by mmshiro View Post
...Why limit yourself to the "family style", no matter how old it is, when you can learn a theory that has been assembled from the work of people who have thought about biomechanics, physics, human and equine physiology, etc.? ...

I once went on a western-tack trail ride, and I didn't feel like I was on the horse. I felt like I was on a chair on a horse.
Well, for one thing - the experts don't now the answers either. I've had instructors tell me my toes MUST point straight ahead. The Cavalry said they should be 20-45 degrees out. Who is right?

I've had instructors and experts in books say a straight vertical line from shoulder to hip to heel is critical. While others ignore it.

Lots of folks talk about a horse's back rounding up like an arch - which isn't physically possible.

Lots of how one SHOULD ride depends on where one rides, with what tack and with what goal.

I ride in a 30 lb roping saddle. I've also ridden in a jump saddle and spent many hours in my Australian saddle. FWIW, I have no trouble feeling what my horse is feeling when using any of them. I'd take an Australian-style saddle for security, but my tack choices are always a bit mixed up. Happily, my horse doesn't mind:





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post #18 of 52 Old 06-01-2017, 11:13 AM
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First off, once again, riding on the flat, correct equitation is not different between English and western, plus there is aheck of alot of difference in a modern close contact western performance saddle and those old bulky western saddles with all the excess leather under your legs.
Horses, trained correctly, western, are also not 'confused, when you ride them English
People seem to get the idea, that because the eventual goal is to have a well trained western horse ride one handed on a loose rein, then that horse was never ridden with any contact, with two hands, or direct reined. Completely false as western horses are started in a snaffle or bosal, ridden with two hands, direct reined, just like English, with the only difference being, they are worked toward the eventual goal of being able to keep frame, collection, perform all maneuvers off of seat and legs and that indirect rein on their neck
BSMS, don't get hung up on your toes, but rather heels should be down, with legs in a comfortable position, and where you can easily use leg aids as needed
I always had horses going well western, before I added HUS, to those I kept long enough to make into all around horses. Those horses had no problem being ridden English, as my aids were the same, and also my leg aids. Legs are not in different positions, unless you are riding in the old arm chair seat position, which is often seen in self taught recreational riders
Bottom line, use the saddle that works for you and the horse, and if just pleasure riding, you need not worry about rein contact, riding with two hands on acurb, using a snaffle or any other discipline specific equipment or style of riding.
Also, be aware of correct western riding, where you certainly don't grip with your legs, which are neutral on the horse, except when you wish to apply a leg aid
You also don't stick your legs off the horse, unless perhaps riding gaited
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post #19 of 52 Old 06-01-2017, 11:28 AM
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I have a hard time picturing a 30 pound roping saddle, that could stand up to holding a cow!
I have never been told that my toes should be parallel to the horse. Heels should be down, and far as body aleignment, if you can stand up in your stirrups, without holding on to the mane of the hrose, or your saddle, then your feet and legs are under you, where they should be.
We have been into this subject before, concerning what is correct equitation position, on the flat, without any introduction of speed, riding an equitation pattern, and how that position has to change for various events, so the rider can stay with the horse, or make that position easier for the horse to perform that event
If riding a cutting horse, of course you are going to have your feet foreward, lean back, as taht horse ducks down in front, and moves faster then you can cue, latterally, reading that cow.
Jumping, there is the foreward seat, and shortened stirrups
I don't think anyone in his right mind would expect a person to keep an equitation position , adapted for riding a precise pattern, in various events. That basic position is a basic foundation , giving the rider the tools to build on, versus starting out by thinking an arm chair position, toes up or jammed home in the stirrups is okay
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post #20 of 52 Old 06-01-2017, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
Horses, trained correctly, western, are also not 'confused, when you ride them English
People seem to get the idea, that because the eventual goal is to have a well trained western horse ride one handed on a loose rein, then that horse was never ridden with any contact, with two hands, or direct reined. Completely false as western horses are started in a snaffle or bosal, ridden with two hands, direct reined, just like English, with the only difference being, they are worked toward the eventual goal of being able to keep frame, collection, perform all maneuvers off of seat and legs and that indirect rein on their neck
Not to disagree with you Smilie (I would NEVER do that ) but Kodak was most definitely unhappy when I first started riding her with full contact. And no, I don't pull hard on the reins, ever. In fact, my English coach keeps telling me I need more contact. I do have very light hands, but Kodak would get frustrated and confused, throw her head in the air and run sideways. Now you did say "Horses, trained correctly, western" so maybe that's where things fell apart for her. We should not assume, however, that the horse(s) the OP will be riding are all "trained correctly western".

My point is, a horse that has always been ridden on a loose rein may wonder why the heck you feel the need to have contact with its mouth all the time. It's possible Kodak thought it was a cue for something, like gather up your legs now, and get ready to explode! Regardless, we were able to meet halfway in time, but it did take a lot of time. I still ride with full contact (loose contact on a trail), but am mindful of her sensitivity. She no longer throws her head around and goes nicely in whatever direction I ask her to go in. The OP may have a similar experience.
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