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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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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.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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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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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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Ha Ha He doesn't look like he's having a very good time. Poor horse
 

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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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@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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@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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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?



Well we don't know if he was able to remain standing after dismounting or ended up curled into a ball on the ground.



@13wolfcl Is your goal to simply ride in an English saddle as opposed to a western saddle and continue riding as you are used to (no change in hands) or is it to actually ride "English" meaning pick up contact and also use leg and try to ride as you imagine English riders ride? You say you have ridden for years but is this just hopping on and riding with perhaps just the very basic lessons or even no lessons or having had lessons for years in a particular western discipline?



Switching saddles but continuing to ride as normal shouldn't be an issue if the saddle fits both you and the horse, you have a stable balanced seat and the slight difference in how your leg hangs can be adjusted to easily. Switching saddles and expecting to ride English with more leg and seat rather than seat and weight shifts with less leg and direct contact with the reins rather than indirect then you could well run into issues, both for you and the horse you are riding if it is only trained in neck reining and seat with minimal leg.



My child rides English and has ridden that way his entire riding experience. Whether he is in the ring, riding cross country or trails he rides typically in an English saddle with contact appropriate for what he is doing. He does have use of an Aussie saddle he trails with but that does not change how he rides. He decided at one point in addition to the English he wanted to try western. I set him up with one of the well know trainers here for basics. Totally different experience. Different saddle, different rein and use of rein as well as a horse that was trained to that style. He was able to pick things up quickly but had he not been on a horse trained to that or had basic instruction on how to use the reins in that manner then he would have had a different experience. Can he ride in a western saddle? Sure no problem. Ride trails without issue if he only switched saddle and not bridle/reins/contact on an English horse? Sure, no problem. Could he look like a western rider and ride to the same level of competence on a horse not trained that way? Not with out a little help.


If you are looking to jump or ride a specific discipline then best is to have an instructor work with you. You'd pick things up quickly on the flat I suspect. Jumping is a whole nother kettle of fish.
 

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Jumping has somewhere in the range of 10-40 times greater risk of head injury. It requires lessons to be safe.

Riding in an English saddle won't require lessons. Riding with an English approach to the reins? I'd suggest lessons:

In a correctly executed turn or circle the horse’s inside hind leg carries more weight than the outside one. Before every turn or circle the rider should prepare the horse with a half halt and transfer his weight a little to the inside seat bone, in the direction of the movement.

The horse should then be flexed in the same direction. The inside rein should guide the horse into the turn, the rider’s inside leg, close to the girth, causing the horse’s inside hind leg to reach further forward. The outside rein should yield just enough to allow the horse to flex to the inside, while at the same time it restrains the horse from falling out over the outside shoulder. The outside leg should control the quarters.

When the horse’s forehand is guided from the straight line into the direction of the turn, the influence of the inside rein is decreased again. The rider should ‘straighten’ the horse with the outside rein, keep the horse exactly on the line of the circle. (‘Straight’ on the circle means making sure that the hind feet follow in the tracks of the forefeet, and that the horse is bent from head to tail according to the curvature of the line.)

The correct distribution of the rider’s weight is most important. In transferring his weight to the inside seat bone he should push the inside hip forward with a deep knee. This will also prevent him from collapsing his inside hip and slipping the seat to the outside. At the same time he should make sure not to leave the outside shoulder behind.

http://www.usdf.org/edudocs/training/basicexercises.pdf
Not a requirement for trail riding, obviously. You would need a horse trained to respond to those cues to help teach you how they work. I've never done a half-halt with my horses, so neither of us would know what was going on.....and my horses would be both confused and annoyed if I suddenly tried to ride like that. But you can use an English saddle with a western horse and be happy - eccentric, but happy:


Australian saddles are fundamentally English ones and I liked mine for trail riding. If I could find a place to redo the stuffing, I'd use it again:

 

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@tinyliny I'm no jumper but I feel like he is looking at the jump to see if it's still up, and therefore his legs are back? At least he's much kinder to the horse's back, not just plopping down. Love the story of Snow Man!
 

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Bad form can work, but it's a case of just because you can, doesn't mean you should. I love reading Denny Emerson's posts about how his position evolved -- even after he was doing absolutely crazy difficult levels of eventing, for years and years.

He's pushing 80 and has better jumping form now than he did in his 20s!

https://horsenetwork.com/2016/03/how-i-fixed-my-jumping-position/
 

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The horse didn't seem to pay that poor polo player much attention. The rider's voice probably went from bass to soprano. He had to be in pain. He did have guts though.
 

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why wouldn't you take at least a couple? everyone needs someone experienced to put eyes on them occasionally and give their riding a tuneup even if they aren't trying something new
 

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IMO, English is much different from Western in a lot of ways, and if you plan to show, you will want to take lessons and learn how to properly ride English. Riding and working with horses in any way is something that is very hard to self-teach and is usually safest with a second set of eyes on the ground.

Especially if you are wanting to do anything like jumping or dressage, there will be a lot you will need to learn from someone knowledgeable and experienced in those disciplines, as well as to help you teach your horse.
 

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I would definitely suggest that you take english lessons. What exactly do you mean with riding english? Would you like to do jumping, dressage or do you just want to ride in a different saddle and differnt style?It is different from western in every aspect. Are you going to ride the same horse that you used to ride western??
 

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Bad form can work, but it's a case of just because you can, doesn't mean you should. I love reading Denny Emerson's posts about how his position evolved -- even after he was doing absolutely crazy difficult levels of eventing, for years and years.

He's pushing 80 and has better jumping form now than he did in his 20s!

https://horsenetwork.com/2016/03/how-i-fixed-my-jumping-position/
I follow him through his FB farm account. He's great, always posting interesting things to discuss with the followers.



To OP.
I ride in w/e tack that fits or no tack. Western headstall, English reins, dressage saddle or western saddle with English stirrups, sun dress & helmet. It's fun to do it your own way. 🤷🏽*♀
Some horses may object to the feel of an English saddle, like they may to bareback.
If the only real change is the tack, there's no real need for lessons.
But if you want to figure out how they technically ride, take lessons.
Oh, English saddles can be quite slippery and there's nothing to help hold out in, front nor rear, so make sure you ride deep, with legs under you.
 
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