My dilemma: English or Western? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 03-27-2013, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: SE Washington State
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My dilemma: English or Western?

I have been riding for a while, and I can't decide which to ride, English or western? I know I could just do both, but I would like to have a "main" way of riding. I definitely like western better for two reasons:
1. My seat feels much more secure and I always have the saddle horn to hang on to if I feel out of control.
2. It's the main way of riding in my area. We are about as western as you can get unless you live right on the coast! Although, lots of people here still ride English.

I would like to ride English for this reason:
I want to learn how to jump. You can't jump western unless you have a special saddle, so I would have to ride English to jump. My friend jumps horses and it looks so fun, and she says it is! I really want to do that, but I REALLY need to work on riding in general before I try anything more than a walk or trot in an English saddle. I can canter and do whatever in a western, but it feels like I'll fall of if I try a canter doing English. Oh, and my friend suggested that I ride her horse English while she lunges her. Would this help me focus on my seat rather than my seat and controlling the horse at the same time?

Anyways, as a summary of all my rambling, I love western and English is ok, but I have to learn English if I want to jump! Should I just learn both and get as good as I can in both? Actually, I already know that I should... What do you think?

Oh, and when you post your opinion, include why you like and don't like both English and western if you want. It might help me!

"There is no better source of energy than when you're doing something that you love." - Man in a dream
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post #2 of 21 Old 03-27-2013, 06:02 PM
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Welcome Mercy
I ride I ride English and western and love both for different reasons

Country Woman

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post #3 of 21 Old 03-27-2013, 06:06 PM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: British Columbia
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Welcome to the forum! Like Country Women, I enjoy riding both English and Western but I have a main focus which is Hunter/Jumper & Dressage. Both Western and English have their benefits!! Love both. And have competed successfully at both!

~A Cowboy's Chance~
Rest in Peace

Last edited by Fulford15; 03-27-2013 at 06:08 PM.
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post #4 of 21 Old 03-27-2013, 06:06 PM
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Learn one reasonably well, then add the other. Since jumping pretty much requires a forward seat, and since it involves significantly more risk of injury (1,000-4,000% increase), I'd probably focus on western. When you are completely comfortable with western, all speeds, tight turns, etc...then get someone to teach you a forward seat & jumping (which is a subset of English).

Or, use an Australian style saddle for a while. You can get one with most of the benefits you've mentioned for western riding, but ride with a forward seat.

You also might want to think about your approach to reins - contact vs neck reining. FWIW, I've always been curious why they don't teach jumping with neck reining, but since I don't jump, I may never learn the answer.

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #5 of 21 Old 03-27-2013, 09:39 PM
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Yes. If you have the option to, definitely learn both.
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post #6 of 21 Old 03-28-2013, 09:01 AM
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And yes her lunging the horse while you ride will help alot!
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post #7 of 21 Old 03-28-2013, 09:57 AM
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No need to choose! Plenty of us love riding and/or competing in both. There is ALWAYS something else to learn in each discipline - flatwork, jumping, dressage, western pleasure, reining, roping, cutting, extreme trail, bridleless, etc.

LOTS of transitions (walk to trot, trot to walk) will help you "gain your seat" and make you feel better balanced when you are ready to canter. Riding on the lunge line, with or without stirrups, can be excellent practice too. Have fun!
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post #8 of 21 Old 03-28-2013, 10:21 AM
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western!! :)
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"You'll never earn a nickel if you can't stop on a dime." -- Shawn Flarida
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post #9 of 21 Old 03-28-2013, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: SE Washington State
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Thanks, everybody! In another forum, everyone was trying to tear me down, not build me up like here! I'm not going back...

OK, I'll take all of your advice. If you have anything else to say, please do! :p


"There is no better source of energy than when you're doing something that you love." - Man in a dream
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post #10 of 21 Old 03-28-2013, 11:46 AM
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Location: Northern Illinois
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I'm partial to Western but you do not always have to choose one or the other. Experiment with both. Learn one really well, then focus on learning about the other. :) Welcome to the forum, by the way! :)

.*. Let a horse whisper in your ear and breathe on your heart. You will never regret it. .*.
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