Do I need to take lessons to ride English? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 07-06-2020, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Do I need to take lessons to ride English?

I have been riding western for years and would like to try english for fun. I don't plan on doing shows. Because I know how to ride already, do I need to take lessons for english riding or can I just figure it out as I go?
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post #2 of 20 Old 07-06-2020, 09:36 PM
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Welcome to the Forum...

Since you say you ride western and have for years, you could probably just go sit in a English saddle and "ride"..
If you know how to ride western equitation of aligned body then sitting in a English saddle that is the base of riding this discipline...balanced riding.

Not looking to be a show ring rider, but pleasure ride you should be fine...
Biggest difference for your hands is if you ride a trained English horse they are accustomed to direct reining not neck reining so be gentle and take a loose feel of the mouth but don't hang on the mouth.
If you are riding your horse who is accustomed to western, handle the reins the same just sit in a different saddle.
You should be fine, just find a saddle that fits the horse well, a saddle that is comfortable for you and use a saddle pad that offers correct back protection and go have fun.
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post #3 of 20 Old 07-06-2020, 09:42 PM
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It is a bit different from Western riding, so ideally it would be good to take a few lessons to get the gist of it. I think the biggest change is the contact, bigger/faster gaits, and perhaps the rider position to some degree. I think it could be helpful for you to get a feel for that when trying it.
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post #4 of 20 Old 07-06-2020, 09:45 PM
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What kind of English riding? Trail riding in English tack? Or dressage? Jumping? This reminds me of this video of a polo player trying show jumping... Not all disciplines are interchangeable!

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post #5 of 20 Old 07-06-2020, 09:54 PM
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Ha Ha He doesn't look like he's having a very good time. Poor horse
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post #6 of 20 Old 07-06-2020, 10:19 PM
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If you want to take up jumping, I'd get lessons. There's a lot about it that isn't intuitive, and it can be hard on you and on the horse to teach yourself the wrong way. Plus hard to undo bad habits later.

Also, if you're used to riding on a loose rein, then lessons on how to communicate via a steady rein contact would be a good idea. A lot of that isn't as intuitive as it looks, for example using the reins to control the shoulders, outside rein connection, etc.

But it all depends on what you want to do!!
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post #7 of 20 Old 07-07-2020, 01:09 AM
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@Aprilswissmiss I cannot believe such an amazing rider never, ever had a single ground pole or Cavaletti lesson. And he is an amazing rider - imagine not only staying on after those jumps but pushing forward.

Also - I apologize in advance for stereotyping - but this is such a guy thing to do. “Oh, no, I don’t need to try over sissy small jumps - imma go for the BIG ones straight away”
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post #8 of 20 Old 07-07-2020, 07:59 AM
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@Aprilswissmiss - OUCH! Starting the video I was like - decent control and canter, decent hands, and then he takes that first jump. Poor, poor horse and a saint for just continuing on.
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post #9 of 20 Old 07-07-2020, 09:23 AM
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I'm just amazed he wasn't doubled over in pain after that first erm landing....
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post #10 of 20 Old 07-07-2020, 10:23 AM
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@Aprilswissmiss That's some of the worst riding I think I've ever seen. Poor saint of a horse. Refused the jump because the rider is terrible! Surprised he wasn't dismissed.
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