A common question asked among new horse riders or those that are interested in learning more, is what is the difference between English riding and Western riding. We are going to dive into both styles of riding. In this blog you’ll get to see the differences in riding styles and see which one suits you best.
- Tack- Tack is the word used to reference the equipment and accessories for your horse. A big difference between English and Western tack is the saddle used. English saddles are smaller and much lighter in weight than Western saddles. One of the reasons for the difference in saddles is that Western saddles were designed to be comfortable for cowboys to spend long hours on. It also distributes the weight on your horse's back evenly. English saddles were designed back in the 18th century for fox hunting. They were designed to be comfortable whilst not hindering the horses flexibility and speed.
- Disciplines for English riding- Dressage: this is where a rider has the opportunity to show how well trained their horse is. They do this through a series of tests and show off their elegance and grace throughout the process. Jumping: this is where a rider has their horse jump over an obstacle (usually fences) that are all at different heights. If a pole in the fence is knocked over or the horse doesn’t jump it, the rider is penalized.
- Disciplines for Western riding- Roping: This is an event seen in rodeos quite often. This is when the rider will attempt to throw a lasso around a calf’s neck. Once the lasso is around its neck, the rider jumps off their horse and restrains the calf. This is a timed event and the fastest time wins. Barrel Racing: This is an event where 3 barrels are set up and the rider has their horse run the course in a clover pattern. The objective is to get done quickly without knocking any barrels over.
- Method- Another difference between these two styles of riding is the riding method itself. English riding consists more of controlling the horse through the mouth by using both hands on the reins. Western riding controls the horse more with neck reining and weight shifting. While both styles of riding have their specific purposes, both styles aren’t for every horse rider out there. If you aren’t sure which style you think would work for you, you can always try both! Here at Fenwick Equestrian we love both styles and understand the wear and tear any type of riding can have on your horse. That is why we have liquid titanium far infrared products that can help relax and focus your horse naturally! We also offer therapeutic apparel for your horse as well. Keep your horse happy and feeling good with our products, and enjoy riding together.