English to Western and new barn - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 11-23-2019, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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English to Western and new barn

So I've been taking solid English lessons for 3 or 4 years, jumping lessons for 2 years, and I need more horse time, but my current barn won't let you trailer lease horses.

There is a rescue near me that sponsors horse and does lessons. The sponsorship is $300 per month and your the only person to ride, groom, and play with "your" horse. You can trailer the horse to shows or 4H or whatever you want, really. The only problem is that lessons are all western.

I have my own English saddle and saddle pad, and they said if I were to sponsor a horse I could ride English and do jumping on my own. (I'm not old enough to drive so my mom, dad or a friend will be there, so that's not a problem.)

How do I make the transition from barn to barn better? And how do I make the change from English to Western better?
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-24-2019, 09:50 AM
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Toss a western saddle on, put a snaffle in the horse's mouth, drop the stirrup lower than you would use jumping and mount up. If the horse doesn't know neck reining, teach him. Then try to ride with a little slack in the reins as much as possible. Experiment and see how much you can communicate and guide without contact.

Or use your English saddle, drop the stirrups a bit below jump length and do the same.

There aren't any rules in western riding. There isn't a proper position, proper seat, proper much of anything. If it works for you and the horse, fine. Kind of like this:


Or this:


Horses don't know if they are English or western. You can mix it up if you wish. Your horse will adapt to how YOU like to communicate and balance. Just relax, goof around a bit and have fun:



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Last edited by bsms; 11-24-2019 at 09:58 AM.
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post #3 of 11 Old 11-24-2019, 10:16 AM
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I rode only English for 16 years....never once sat in a Western saddle growing up, then out of nowhere, I switched....havent ridden English in 10 years. Regardless of what disciple you ride, its still riding. Sure there are a few differences between the two, but its still riding ;)

Give it a try, be open, and dont stress! Just have fun with it! Best of luck
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post #4 of 11 Old 11-24-2019, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms View Post
There aren't any rules in western riding. There isn't a proper position, proper seat, proper much of anything. If it works for you and the horse, fine.

Horses don't know if they are English or western. You can mix it up if you wish. Your horse will adapt to how YOU like to communicate and balance. Just relax, goof around a bit and have fun:
This isn't exactly accurate or correct bsms...
You admit to doing things "your way" but you are not a taught rider with years of lessons, let alone for the show ring .
You toss on your saddle and go...and that is great, for you.
Your horse makes many of the decisions about what it does and how...not you.
Again, you admit and refer to that in past posts.

There are rules, slight differences and nuances of riding English to western in where you sit, the type and amount of contact you have with the horses mouth and whether the horse is trained discipline specific.
Cues are different as I have learned being a classic trained English rider and now dabbling in western equitation and trail/obstacle so learning a new language of communication with my horses...

With the horse being a rescue, honestly, the rescue may not know what or how the horse was trained as a riding partner.
You may be riding a English trained horse in a western saddle or vice-versa.

One thing you will find is the difference sitting in a western saddle if you are accustomed to English...
Equitation is equitation to learn, a silent harmony between horse and rider is the goal.
Good body alignment is paramount no matter what saddle you sit on...

If you really want to jump, then continue to take those riding lessons English cause you are still learning how and not yet ready to take on being the trainer are you?
You may not want to stop those lessons jumping if you want to increase your knowledge, ability doing over fences work, and keep bad habits away.
You can work much on your equitation though riding on any animal
The horse over time will learn you, your nuances, but it is nice to know and understand their language spoken.

Most places, rescue or not, is/are still going to put stipulations on what you are permitted to do with a animal they are ultimately responsible for...
You also might not be able to just trailer the horse off either unless the barn goes, the trainer at the barn goes or you go with adult supervision of a qualified rider...
Make sure of the terms of what you think is "do as you want, when and what you want" and if you as a minor are allowed those privileges with your age.
Enjoy the journey of horse... a lifetime of learning together!

Never forget either that true rescues are about rehabbing and re-homing animals to new loving homes, so what you ride today might indeed be adopted by someone and leave...that is what rescuing is truly about...fixing the wrongs and finding new loving caregivers so the rescue can do it again and again.
...
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post #5 of 11 Old 11-24-2019, 12:20 PM
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"There are rules, slight differences and nuances of riding English to western in where you sit, the type and amount of contact you have with the horses mouth and whether the horse is trained discipline specific."

For show? Yes, and they vary with the type of show.

"Your horse makes many of the decisions about what it does and how...not you. Again, you admit and refer to that in past posts."

Yes, boast of it even. And in traditional western riding, a horse learning your goals and using initiative to accomplish those goals is normal. It is a positive GOOD.

BTW - in traditional western riding, "on your pockets" is normal. Riding with a bit of a slouch is normal. It is not required and one can ride western with a more forward seat approach. That was common enough too in traditional western riding. Truth is, lots of western riders learned by doing versus taking lessons. Extremely common in the west.

There is no shoulder-hip-heel rule in western riding. There is in Western Pleasure, but not in most western riding. No rules about toes pointing in or out - outside of shows. The "home" stirrup position is extremely common in western riding. And it is OK. Outside a discipline specific show ring, no one cares - including the horse.

20-30 miles a day, in rough terrain, working sheep. Want to guess how many MINUTES of instruction these guys got? It just isn't something to stress over. Go have fun with your horse and figure it out.




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post #6 of 11 Old 11-24-2019, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms View Post
20-30 miles a day, in rough terrain, working sheep. Want to guess how many MINUTES of instruction these guys got? It just isn't something to stress over. Go have fun with your horse and figure it out.[/CENTER]
Right, but I'll be pedantic here and point out that every single one of those riders is slouching to one side and has their weight distributed crookedly on their horse's backs. Not great for the rider or the horse, long term. And maybe you'll laugh at me for pointing it out, and so would they. But having outside input, and developing a balanced "proper" seat, can help a rider be much more pleasant to carry. Regardless of discipline.
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post #7 of 11 Old 11-24-2019, 12:40 PM
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Doesn't anyone ride anymore just for the fun of it?


If you are showing or something, sure, be all "correct" but sometimes I think we get so hung up on the details we forget that horses are an animal we can have a positive relationship with and just enjoy. I wonder if everyone, in the time before automobiles, was all hung up on lessons, collection, and perfect body alignment? Not that those aren't worthy things, but I just don' think they matter as much as everyone thinks they do.



Last edited by trailhorserider; 11-24-2019 at 12:46 PM.
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post #8 of 11 Old 11-24-2019, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by trailhorserider View Post
Doesn't anyone ride anymore just for the fun of it?

If you are showing or something, sure, be all "correct" but sometimes I think we get so hung up on the details we forget that horses are an animal we can have a positive relationship with and just enjoy. .
This is so accurate and correct...
But the poster who started this thread is looking to jump...and practice, improve her skills.
With that....her form does matter.
It does matter what she asks for, how she is balanced riding, forget approaching a fence, executing a jump and landing that it is done correctly...
For her safety and for the safety of the mount she charges with carting her carcass around and bringing it safely home.

Oh trust me...I slouch too and I do not worry about what I look like on a trail ride...
I still do make decisions of where and how we, my horse & I, are going to get to our destination.
I ask my horse for their cooperation to achieve that..
But you still need to know how to ask...that is your body and leg positioning.
Those are the practices that make taking lessons worthwhile...to lighten the load and work with the horse not fight them while they're trying to please you.
But yes, have fun and enjoy.
If you get enjoyment working to improve you and your ability to ride, to jump fences, go for it.
If you enjoy just wandering around trails...go for it..
The end goal is fun...to me I enjoy the challenge to me to make it look as effortless, pretty to watch and not see...well, we all have seen not very pretty riders and horses not communicating effectively in real life & pictures.
I took years of lessons, still do so I can communicate best with my horse and not be a detriment to him.
...
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post #9 of 11 Old 11-24-2019, 03:07 PM
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"I'll be pedantic here and point out that every single one of those riders is slouching to one side..."

Yes, and they were finishing a 30 mile day, bringing the sheep up 4,000 feet in elevation to the mountains in the top picture and the same trip down, in reverse, in the bottom picture. In the saddle for 30 miles and within a half mile of the finish. They were here about 2 miles earlier:


Different day, one of the same riders:


Lean to the left, lean to the right, move around in the saddle. Tired butts, I'm guessing. And tired horses.

I'm not holding them out as skilled equestrians, either. But they and their horses cover a lot more miles in much rougher terrain than 95% of recreational riders. Having mounted one of the horses the next day, before 5 AM, I can say the HORSE was ready and eager to head out again! So no, I don't think moving around hurts the horse any. I tilt a bit too due to a back injury but my horses don't seem to care. A western saddle is a forgiving saddle.

Riding western is as simple as you like or as complex. It is like playing a guitar. Doesn't take much to strum a few chords and have fun. Or you can spend your life studying and not master it. For the OP: Go have fun!
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post #10 of 11 Old 11-24-2019, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input!

"You also might not be able to just trailer the horse off either unless the barn goes, the trainer at the barn goes or you go with adult supervision of a qualified rider..."

They are very relaxed about trailering, they offered my 16 yo friend to trailer her old lease horse. (Now she owns that horse).

I will be doing 4-H shows, but also just bareback and liberty and things like that.




Is it possible/good/bad for the horse to do a Low Hunter Class, English Equitation Class, English Pleasure, then a Trail Class, a Reining class, Western Pleasure, Western Equitation, and then Single Stake? I want to do a lot, but don't want to tire the horse.

I'm used to keeping the horse on the bit, I know that's not what you do western. How do I fix that?
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