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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, I know it seems like all the posts are repetitive on here, and everyone has their own "novice problems"

Well, here is mine :oops:

I have been riding most of my life. I used to barrel race and pole bend when I was a kid, then I worked on a horse trader ranch, then I rode for random people I met offline just to keep their horses exercised. I have only ridden in a western saddle, with jeans and my ariat boots. I know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about english riding. I have never even touched an english saddle, or tried on a pair of breeches.

I have ridden everything from 3-22years old, off the track TB's, to your everyday ranch quarter horses, to an ex eventer morab, paso's, ponies... I mean I have experience with various breeds, personalities, ages, and talents.

Now here are my concerns. I have NEVER been professionally trained how to ride what so ever. Everything I know has been self taught and things I have picked up along the way of my 12 years riding. How hard is it going to be for me to transition from trail riding in a western saddle my self taught ways, to training to be a jumper in an english saddle with lessons? Shoot, I don't even know where to buy breeches or "tall boots"!

I have contacted two stables near where I am, and both seem friendly so I will go out and check them out and make sure english is something I want to do. Do I show up in jeans and boots? Is that acceptable?

I know the rodeo world and the western riding world is a tight knit community where everyone is friendly and it's a "are you thirsty darlin, want some tea?" kind of people, are english riders as friendly?

I guess my biggest concern is understanding HOW DIFFERENT it will be to put my butt in a pair of breeches and on a type of saddle I've never sat in before and listen to a trainer, with a type of people I have never ridden with before. I consider myself a confident intermediate rider when it comes to what I was doing, but to english riding and wanting to get into the world of jumping, I am a COMPLETE novice! Shoot, I have half a mind to tell the stables to treat me like I've NEVER been on a horse, so I can learn professionally from the ground up!

Am I over thinking this?:shock:
 

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Recently I have done the opposite of you - I've been riding English for going on 15 years, and have just started riding in western saddles and getting into that style.

When I went to get on in a western saddle with my helmet and jodhpurs, well my friend made fun of me a bit. So I tried riding with jeans and spent a couple of minutes pulling and moving so my jeans sat right, and leaning over trying to get my foot in a swinging fender stirrup. I probably looked super silly. But it's all pretty easy. It took me about two rides to "give up" my dressage position, and let my leg inch forward a tad so I could do rising trot without bruising my thighs, but now it feels pretty normal.

You don't have to wear english gear to start with, you can still wear jeans and ariats until you get the hang of things, and as an english rider I'd more often wear tight pants rather than proper riding pants, just due to the cost.

I don't know what you're used to but if you're not used to riding with a contact then I think that will be a change. And a much smaller saddle, and really having to choose where you put your legs! I think you'll pick it up fine. A lot of riding is feel, and if you have that you just have to learn the technical stuff.

English riders... well to be honest I don't think they are as friendly. It's not because they ride English, but I think because of the people who get into each discipline. A lot of western riders are country people who, in my opinion, are more friendly in general, where as most English riders in my experience tend to be city people, and people who otherwise live non-horsey lives. And city people never seem as friendly.

I think you're over thinking it, I think you'll be fine, you just need to get the hang of it :-D
 

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Once you ride in hot n humid weather, you'll dump your jeans! I hate to peel denim off when I'm sweaty. I thought growing up the English sect were uppity (have those is the Western world too), but in reality most are not and are very helpful. The thing for me was getting use (visually) to less saddle underneath me than the western saddle. I ride both now and enjoy both! It just ups your riding skills to participate in both disciplines, in my book.
 

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I think you are overthinking. :)

I ride English and hate breeches. I ride in jeans, proper shoes (meaning with a heel) and half chaps. Often the shoes have been ariats. The half chaps protect your inner calves during posting and jumping.

As for friendliness, I think it depends on the barn.

And honestly, I started riding about seven years ago from nothing. You have such an advantage you know how to ride. A horse's mechanics does not change substantially from on discipline to the next. So to have the balance and to be familiar with the gaits is all grand.

I would think more whether lessons go well is more according to how well you take instruction. If you are there to learn and absorb knowledge, you'll do fine. If you are one of those know-it-alls (not saying you are), then receiving instruction is always difficult.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Once you ride in hot n humid weather, you'll dump your jeans! I hate to peel denim off when I'm sweaty.
Lol that made me laugh! I am from San Antonio, and before that I lived in north Louisiana! I know about humidity and peeling off sweaty nasty jeans! Too funny! Truth is that part has never really bothered me! Breeches tho, geez I guess if I am serious about it I might have to get used to them. At least for competing whenever I work my way up to that level!:lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Saskia - us country folk sure are friendly! ;) lol. I have always been used to those kinds of people.

Saskia and Onuilmar - I do have balance. I can ride bareback all day, and I am pretty good at taking instructions! Ha, you can thank the army for that one. I always assumed horse back riding was like shooting a gun. It's easier to teach someone from nothing, then someone who has been doing it wrong the whole time. I'm not saying I've been doing it wrong by any means, but I am saying that the habits I have created during my relaxed western style is probably not something that will transition well to english? Then again, I see the points in already knowing how to ride, and how that could be an advantage. Confident? Yes. Cocky? NO! I am nervous lol. I am sure I will look like a goofball the first couple of times!

I am assuming that a couple private lessons would be the way to go when I get started? I hate talking in future context because I feel like everything I am saying is hypothetical! When I get home next month tho before I go on leave, I am going to check out BOTH barns and see which one is better suited for me. The one that is further away from me seems to be more friendly then the other one, but I don't mind driving an extra distance to feel more welcomed. Southern hospitality is what I enjoy!
 

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It's easier to teach someone from nothing, then someone who has been doing it wrong the whole time. I'm not saying I've been doing it wrong by any means, but I am saying that the habits I have created during my relaxed western style is probably not something that will transition well to english?
That was why I thought it depended on how open to instruction you are. You WILL need to change habits and it will feel awkward at first. But if you are open minded, I'm sure all will be good.

As for relaxed habits, depends on what you mean. Chair seat is a no-no, but lightness in contact is good. The change there might be having contact all the time.

I remember when I first started, my instructor told me it would take two years to learn to walk, trot and canter with grace. (Understand, they had me cantering at lesson 3, which I am gathering here is unusual.) And he was right.

Just riding and developing balance and being familiar with the aides takes so long to develop that already knowing how to ride is an advantage.

So, good luck, have fun and don't worry about breeches at the outset. Only really need 'em for show days. :)
 

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I used to board at a barn that was a mixture between English and western. I was in the middle if saddle training and everyone that was an English rider was always trying to force their methods on me like I was stupid but I guess they just don't understand that western methods can be different and even in the same discipline there are different methods. But my point is they were snooty and looked down on us western riders. I'm sure not all English riders are like this however.
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Learning a new riding style isn't all that hard, it's remembering to implement the changes what is!

I've ridden irregularly for around 15 years, without a single lesson until 2010. I used what I find to be the typical Aussie style - a very relaxed english, but not quite western. When I did get some lessons (as a part of a training course), I was lucky enough that the skills I had taught myself through reading and watching videos were fairly correct. Every now and then, I would find myself slipping back into old habits, namely not keeping contact on the bit and letting my legs slip forward.

Hit youtube and watch some English instructional videos, there are some great ones around that I resort to when I need a touch up or have completely forgotten something.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Tracer! I have been watching videos, mostly on DVD but I will check some out on youtube. The only problem with that is the internet is SOOO SLOW where I am!

And Sarah, yeah that's a concern of mine. I have never done anything with english riders, but they have always seemed snooty! Lol I guess we will see!
 

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Now here are my concerns. I have NEVER been professionally trained how to ride what so ever. Everything I know has been self taught and things I have picked up along the way of my 12 years riding. How hard is it going to be for me to transition from trail riding in a western saddle my self taught ways, to training to be a jumper in an english saddle with lessons? Shoot, I don't even know where to buy breeches or "tall boots"!

I have contacted two stables near where I am, and both seem friendly so I will go out and check them out and make sure english is something I want to do. Do I show up in jeans and boots? Is that acceptable?

I know the rodeo world and the western riding world is a tight knit community where everyone is friendly and it's a "are you thirsty darlin, want some tea?" kind of people, are english riders as friendly?

I guess my biggest concern is understanding HOW DIFFERENT it will be to put my butt in a pair of breeches and on a type of saddle I've never sat in before and listen to a trainer, with a type of people I have never ridden with before. I consider myself a confident intermediate rider when it comes to what I was doing, but to english riding and wanting to get into the world of jumping, I am a COMPLETE novice! Shoot, I have half a mind to tell the stables to treat me like I've NEVER been on a horse, so I can learn professionally from the ground up!

Am I over thinking this?:shock:[/COLOR][/FONT]
This is going to be a huge change for you. The major difference is there is suddenly a LOT less leather between you and the horse. This may or may not be nice. It can be a little starling.. but for the most part you will find your groove :)

Personally check to make sure your boots that you bring are ones you feel happy being in. An english stirrup feels a lot different than a western one.

Jeans are fine, but honestly breeches are so comfortable once you get there. I recently found some jean-inspired breeches for my Western lovin' friend who is learning English with my horse :)

You don't *need* tall boots. Paddock boots are fine, but if you show then some places prefer you have tall boots. I'll be honest.. a good pair of tall boots beats a pair of paddock boots + half chaps. My humble opinion.

As with the world, there are going to be rude people and nice people. It depends on how you approach your lessons. Do not let anyone ever get you down. You know you are experienced.. this is just something new and quite different!

In lessons, there are usually a lot of 'commands' that most instructors bark at you. Don't feel intimidated.. this is their teaching style. Some are more stern than others.

They should, hopefully, have you on the lungeline at some point (hopefully more..) throughout your riding career so that you can get a feel for this new riding style without worrying about the horse.

I'm really happy that you're trying this, though! You're very brave and I'm excited to see how things go!
 

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You need to be absolutely honest about not having ANY English experience, then there won't be any unnecessary pressures out on you and people will be willing to help you.

When I came to Canada from NZ, I knew absolutely NOTHING about reining horses. I happened to get a job at a local barn/ranch and one of the trainers there was a reining trainer. I worked for the barn owner in the morning and rode with the reining trainer in the afternoons (this job ended up full time:wink:) and on my first day of working with her I had to ask her how to 'girth' the saddle up.....duh.....we laugh about it now. I am really thankful of how lucky I was to have that job fall in my lap and the switch was worth it and I'm glad I confessed my lack of western knowledge!!

Ps. Those English saddles can be slippery:shock:
 

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I SHOULD add... the first lesson SHOULD ALWAYS BE an evaluation.

As in, get on the horse, they ask you to do something.. and they watch you. Then they will start to intervene a bit to direct you how to make something better...or they will stop you and break it down on what you need to work on.

So if you have issues with the trotting of the new saddle, then the thing to do would be to put you on the lungeline. Etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This is going to be a huge change for you. The major difference is there is suddenly a LOT less leather between you and the horse. This may or may not be nice. It can be a little starling.. but for the most part you will find your groove :)

Personally check to make sure your boots that you bring are ones you feel happy being in. An english stirrup feels a lot different than a western one.

Jeans are fine, but honestly breeches are so comfortable once you get there. I recently found some jean-inspired breeches for my Western lovin' friend who is learning English with my horse :)

You don't *need* tall boots. Paddock boots are fine, but if you show then some places prefer you have tall boots. I'll be honest.. a good pair of tall boots beats a pair of paddock boots + half chaps. My humble opinion.

As with the world, there are going to be rude people and nice people. It depends on how you approach your lessons. Do not let anyone ever get you down. You know you are experienced.. this is just something new and quite different!

In lessons, there are usually a lot of 'commands' that most instructors bark at you. Don't feel intimidated.. this is their teaching style. Some are more stern than others.

They should, hopefully, have you on the lungeline at some point (hopefully more..) throughout your riding career so that you can get a feel for this new riding style without worrying about the horse.

I'm really happy that you're trying this, though! You're very brave and I'm excited to see how things go!


Your response made me laugh! If I am thinking right, paddock boots are ankle high right? If it came down to me wearing breeches I would defnately get tall boots. I wear boots EVERYWHERE! I always have some type of boot on, weather its my boots I use for riding, my boots for when I'm in uniform, my dress boots... lol I am always in boots!

I've seen videos of people on the lungeline, and at first I wondered why, and thought to myself that these cool cats must be just learning to ride. Now I see the point of the lungeline excersises!

----------------------------------------------------

No worries, both the barns know my background in riding, and that I have no idea about english.

How slippery is the seat?! Lol everyone keeps talking about slippery seats!!:shock:
 

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Your response made me laugh! If I am thinking right, paddock boots are ankle high right? If it came down to me wearing breeches I would defnately get tall boots. I wear boots EVERYWHERE! I always have some type of boot on, weather its my boots I use for riding, my boots for when I'm in uniform, my dress boots... lol I am always in boots!

I've seen videos of people on the lungeline, and at first I wondered why, and thought to myself that these cool cats must be just learning to ride. Now I see the point of the lungeline excersises!

----------------------------------------------------

No worries, both the barns know my background in riding, and that I have no idea about english.

How slippery is the seat?! Lol everyone keeps talking about slippery seats!!:shock:
It's not slippery unless you ride in lyrca yoga pants.. then it's like a slip n slide! Proper breeches won't have you going anywhere!

And yes, they are typically ankle high. They're nice to walk around in but for riding.. I prefer tall boots.

I think lungeline lessons are some of the best, to be honest. That and no stirrup!
 

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In both places I have lived, English riders and Western riders have been equally "friendly" for the most part. In some cases, I thought the English riders were even more friendly, less competitive and more accepting. Mainly because where I live, the English riders come from a background of lessons and proper training, whereas the Western riders are "home grown" and, half the time, have no earthly clue what they are doing. On the other hand, there was a barn in my hometown full of the snottiest, rudest group of people I have ever met, all English riders.

I just moved from an English barn with the best group of people I have ever met. I miss them all. I am now at a Western barn with yet another awesome group of people.

My point being, it really comes down to individual experiences and people. The "snotty English rider" is a sterotype, and the "stupid, cruel Western rider" is also a stereotype. I have seen both ends of the spectrum, and I have also seen that the majority of riders fall smackdab in the middle; just nice people who love horses. THAT is what you should expect.

Anyway, sorry about that semi-rant. I just can't stand when people have one experience with a discipline and automatically paint everyone in that discipline with the same brush (not that you were doing that). It is all about individuals.

Okay, I'm done. :lol:

Oh! I also prefer paddock boots and half chaps for schooling and save the tall boots for showing. Too expensive!

Good luck and have fun!!
 

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I think the most important thing to remember no matter which "style" or discipline you choose is to have fun. So many people take riding way too seriously! It's not a matter of life and death.
That being stated, you may find that some trainers in the English disciplines are extremely assertive to the point of being brusque. Personally, that's led to a lot of frustration for me, but it also helped me develop a healthy respect for "constructive criticism."
It all boils down to your own personality, which type of environment you are comfortable in and what you hope to accomplish.
Good luck!
 
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