Switching from Western to English?? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 01-28-2012, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Switching from Western to English??

I've ridden English my whole life. I've just heard that a lot of people have a hard time riding English after riding solely Western for a long time. Is that true? So yeah, anyone's personal experience or thoughts?? Thanks

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post #2 of 4 Old 01-28-2012, 02:19 PM
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If you're a good rider it wont matter what way you ride or whether you even have a saddle.
That being said, I rode western my whole life up until last year when i thought i'd try english & so far i really enjoy it.
An instructor i had when i was young & first learning to ride told me something similar to your thread. She taught mainly english but did western as well, and she said that pretty much anyone who rides english can ride western, but not everyone who rides western can ride english.
This being that the english saddle puts you in a completely different position than the western. It props you on the horse's shoulders instead of allowing you to sit back & relax. Your stirrups are generally shorter when riding english than when western as well (again, it has to do with where you are positioned).

Also, with many western riders (not all, of course, but many who just ride for pleasure) a western saddle feels more secure. It holds you in better & you have a horn to hold onto if things get rough or the rider becomes nervous.

There is some debate as to which one is more comfortable, and personally i find both to have their pros and cons, but cannot say which one i like better lol. I like the freedom of the english and the simplicity.
However, i do prefer the cinch on the western to the girth on an english, i like riding western when going for long distances & through bush & if working with a young horse as well.
It's also alot easier on the knees than an english because you typically ride with longer stirrups in a western saddle.

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post #3 of 4 Old 01-28-2012, 02:26 PM
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Define hard time.

Harder than someone who hasn't ridden? Not if they are open to new ways of doing things. But will they ride like an experienced English rider right away? No. Also, English includes both jumping and dressage. Those are different styles, too. A dressage seat is in many ways more like a western seat.

During my military career, I switched aircraft types several times. The biggest problem was that your trained reactions for one aircraft might be counterproductive in another. In an emergency, you might make an inappropriate response for the plane you were in because that response would be RIGHT for the previous plane.

With horses, you add in that the 'plane' has a mind of its own, and its own training. A horse that isn't used to constant leg contact may get confused, or vice-versa. A horse that doesn't know about neck reining may become confused if the person reverts to it in a pinch.

But any rider will have better balance than someone new, and will be better at reading the horse.

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #4 of 4 Old 01-28-2012, 06:47 PM
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I rose western for 10 years before switching to English last year. I wasn't a very good rider before switching so I felt very unsafe at first. I actually took a really bad fall when my mre spooked just a bit. However, I learned to love the feel of the English saddle and now western feels weird to me! I think if any rider has had good instruction it isn't too difficult to switch styles.
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