Western vs English Riding
Those learning how to ride a horse are often saddled with the question of western and English styles of riding. One style is not necessarily easier or difficult than the other, and there are also similarities between the two. However, there are differences in the two riding styles that necessitate learning one or the other to become proficient in them. The difference is not as much in the style of riding as it is in the equipment that is used. Let us find out in this article.
Western riding style is a result of the traditions introduced by Spanish Equestrians to the Native Americans as well as the style that evolved with all the ranching that was taking place in the country. It is not just the style of riding but also the equipment that is used that reflects the requirements of cowboys that filled the streets of the Wild West and had to work for long hours remaining saddled on a horseback. These cowboys had to control cattle with a lariat in one hand while they controlled the horse with a slight pressure of the reign in the other hand. It is clear then that, in western riding, a rider makes use of his weight along with the neck reign to control the horse and its movements.
English style of riding is the horseback riding that is followed in most parts of the world except America. English riding is characterized by the use of both hands to control the reigns of the horse. In Olympic events, it is this English style of riding that predominates and referred to as such in North America. English riding is a style that has evolved with military riding, and this can be seen in the traditions and equipment that is used by the riders.
What is the difference between Western and English Riding?
• The saddle used in English riding is both light and small in comparison to the saddle used in western riding.
• As riding in America required controlling cattle with a lariat in one hand, the saddle is large and spread across the back of the animal, to provide more comfort to the rider.
• English riding provides a rider a closer contact with the animal.
• English riding requires controlling the horse holding the neck reign with both hands whereas Western riding requires controlling the neck reign with one hand.
• Direct communication with the horse is lesser in western riding than in English riding as the rider has both reigns in one hand whereas, in English riding, the rider has one reign in each hand. The weight of the rider becomes important in Western riding to give commands to the horse.
• Because of the differences in the conditions and circumstances leading to development of the two riding styles, the competitions and events of both western and English riding are also different.
• Nearly all Olympic events such as dressage and jumping require English riding style whereas western riding style can be seen in roping whereas roping, trail, and barrel racing can be classic examples of Western riding style.