English vs Western - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 06-30-2012, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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English vs Western

I learned to ride on western saddles and have only rode western. How hard would you say it is to learn to ride English?

Ashley Capps
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post #2 of 10 Old 06-30-2012, 04:15 PM
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Depends on your skill as a rider, your trainer and how much you work at it.

It is *totally* doable though. I went from never having had a lesson and only riding trails in Western to riding English and doing all sorts of bizarre things that strike my fancy in an English saddle.
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* I'm often reading and posting from mobile and Siri loves to make a mockery of the English language.
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post #3 of 10 Old 06-30-2012, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Your riding sounds like mine. I never really had any lessons, just got on and learned, so there's a lot I'm learning as I go.

Ashley Capps
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post #4 of 10 Old 06-30-2012, 04:47 PM
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With English, it is DEFINITELY helpful to have lessons. Position is more vital in an English saddle and you have a lot less tack to hold you in place so it is super easy to develop very bad and incorrect habits that will take ages to untrain. There's also a lot of little nuances in how to do things correctly that videos and verbal explanations don't always help with.

* I'm often reading and posting from mobile and Siri loves to make a mockery of the English language.
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post #5 of 10 Old 06-30-2012, 05:27 PM
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in all honesty, taking lessons in any discipline is a good thing. Some of that you learn in English translates to Western, and viceversa. Such as , sitting up straight and looking ahead, keepin your thumbs on top and your elbows next to your side, keepting your heel down, but not jammed down, having you leg under you , not in a chair seat, giving an aid and then stopping the aid when the horse complies, and on and on. Just because you have ridden trails in a western saddle, even for years, does not mean you know how to ride Western. you could take western lessons and still learn something that you may have missed in your career as a self taught rider.
I am not dissing being self taught. Just saying that not to assume that Western does not have compexities, too.
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post #6 of 10 Old 06-30-2012, 05:54 PM
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As far as learning to keep the horse between you and the ground, English isn't too much different than Western once you get the feel for the freer movement of the stirrups and the missing saddle horn. If you want to really gain some finesse, most people benefit immensely from even a few lessons. A lot can be accomplished through self-teaching and trial and error, but there is really no substitute for some constructive criticism from a qualified instructor.

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A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #7 of 10 Old 06-30-2012, 06:31 PM
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If the only change you want to make is to be sitting in an English saddle instead of a western one, it is a pretty easy change. However, most English riding involves riding with contact on the bit, which is a different approach that is hard to learn from a book or forum. It is possible to mix it, and use an English saddle with western reining. An Aussie-style saddle is basically an English saddle with Mickey Mouse ears, and I ride mine with slack in the reins or neck reining.

Also, if you use a jump saddle, you would probably want to switch to a forward seat. That also has a very different feel. The flip side is that you can ride with a forward seat in a western saddle. I do when I want to go fast, but the lady who gave me lessons in western riding would probably run for her rifle if she saw me do it...

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #8 of 10 Old 06-30-2012, 08:34 PM
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Self taught leaves some gaps in your riding, which an instructor is quick to hone on and help you to improve. In any discipline in any style, it's imperative to take a few lessons every so often so you can ride at your best.

Per your question, English will feel a little "exposed" for you but it's great fun and nice if you can swap riding styles every so often to practice and learn and apply what you know :)

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #9 of 10 Old 07-01-2012, 10:37 AM
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I switched from Western to English. For me personally, it was a little bit of a challenging transition, but it definitely can be done!

Good luck!
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post #10 of 10 Old 07-01-2012, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. I may have to look into taking some lessons when the weather is better. Maybe an early birthday gift? :)

Ashley Capps
Sweet Gum Mini Farm - Easley, SC
Grace (Paint), Sugar (QH) & Jazz (QH)
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