Which is better: English Riding or Western Riding??

United States
October 29, 2009 5:22pm CST
This is always a debate in every stable I have been to. Which style of riding is better? I personally prefer Western because I grew up around rodeos and cattle working, both of which you can not do in an english saddle. What say you? Which style, English or Western, do you prefer and why? Which is superior?
1 person likes this
7 responses
@ElicBxn (60052)
• United States
29 Oct 09
English, because if you know how to ride English you can ride Western or bareback, but if you only ride Western, you can't necessarily ride English. I learned English and while I find the Western saddle uncomfortable (due to a defect in my ankles that make it impossible to keep my toes forward and keeping my feet in the stirrups hurt my bad knees) I can ride in a Western saddle. Where as, those who are excellent riders Western were lost in an English saddle.
• United States
30 Oct 09
I'm not entirely sure I agree. There is a difference between being able to ride in the opposite saddle and riding good in the opposite saddle. To say western riders can not ride English is wrong. I know many people, who all their life rode western (did barrels to be specific), they later started doing dressage and hunter jumper. And they were good at it. So to say western riders can not convert while only English riders can is stretching it in my opinion. As for English riders being able to ride bareback, Western riders do too. I for one learned to ride bareback before I rode with a saddle, maybe I am a little backwards in my learning.
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (60052)
• United States
30 Oct 09
I'm sure they didn't just climb out of the Western saddle into dressage or jumping. And I'm not saying that I could do barrel racing. I'm just talking someone that had ridden Western all their lives and getting into an English saddle wouldn't do as well on a horse only trained to do English than a person who only had ridden English going into a Western saddle. When I was a teen I was put on this big horse the owner of the stable bought at auction - he had been a cutting horse until a steer gored him and he couldn't be used with a Western saddle any more. We were trying to retrain him to be used as a teaching horse (the English saddle fit right around the raised scar on his side.) He knew NOTHING of the direct rein, so we had to give him strong indirect reining while also teaching him the direct rein - he was also pretty unsure about too much leg work that English used - when I first started riding him right after he came he'd nearly jump out of his skin if you used too much leg direction. He was also clueless as to what to do with anything that beginning jumping required. He'd just trot right through the cavalettes and small jumps. After a while he'd start looking at them and once started his jump so far back he landed in the middle of it. I was one of the students that was used to help train him because I knew enough not to wreck him, but it was obvious that I was never going to be a great rider - no timing.
• United States
30 Oct 09
Ok, I think I see where you're coming from. Your saying that the training of English horses is totally different than the training of Western horses which I do agree. A friend of mine does Grand Prix Dressage (forgive me if I misspoke on that, I don't know much about it other than it's English) and she let me ride her school master horse. I could get him to walk, trot, and basic stuff like side pass but that was about it. That ties into what you said, I didn't know the commands where because they are very very specific compared to the Western riding I do. On the same token, reining is a very command specific western training. To get the horse to slide stop and spin is fairly difficult. I would think anybody, western or English, who hasn't had that training would be hard-pressed to get that horse to perform.
1 person likes this
@veromar (1458)
• Argentina
29 Oct 09
I grew up in Missouri so I've got to go with Western. I love the fact that I can grab hold of the horn of the saddle and the fact that the stirrups are broader. I've only tried to ride English once. It's just too dainty for me! lol. Feels different too on my bottom side! lol. Trying to barrel race English?? Not gonna happen! lol.
• United States
30 Oct 09
Yep, I agree, doing barrels in an English saddle isn't probably the best idea. On the same token, jumping in a Western saddle isn't a good idea either. I've taken a few horns to the stomach, doesn't feel too good.
19 Nov 09
Can i just say as im from the uk and do english and id like to point out that you can do barrel racing in english but its a mix of different types of mini competions and we call it gymkhana's or other people say pony club games. also english is just as comfortable hence why nearly all endurance is done is sometype of english tack. Also i think it also depend on the enviroment you were brought up in because if you were brought up in a western world were everyone did western it would feel weird to be the only one doing english and vice versa because theres a woman on our yard called jackie and shes from texas and her horse legs does western but she says she finds it harder to do over here as it just dosent feel right so like i said i think the enviroment unusually and as crazy as it sounds haas an effect!!!!!!!
@weasel81 (2502)
• Australia
29 Oct 09
i think it's what you grow up learning, i've ridden english all my life. don't think i ever used a western saddle, even thou i've heard their really comfy. when western people ride english it's a different position to what is used normally they lean forward instead of sit up straight. give me an aussie stock saddle and i'll be happy, i'm at home in my good saddles (dressage and a stock saddle) and they only get used in competition, very rarely around the place for just working in. i would like to learn side saddle on day.
• United States
30 Oct 09
I like your point that it really depends on what saddle you learned on. It makes sense that someone who has rode for 5 years in a western saddle may not adapt to an english saddle right away and visa versa. I've rode side saddle (in a western saddle) for fun out on trails, feels weird.
@Keltic (1)
• Germantown, Maryland
24 Jul 13
When I was younger (as in 6-8) I rode English, because in my city no one offered up any Western riding lessons. My mother prefered Western all along, and saw it as a safter way to go. Anywho, I had a horrible English instructor that was very mean and rushed me into the subject. I'm a soft kid, though. The first time I went the instructor wasn't even there, I had to figure out how to put on an English bridle and saddle, and everything was a mess. I went to 4 lessons before my mom converted me to Western riding. I much rather prefer English saddles. They're SO MUCH SOFTER! For the most part I've been riding Western doing barrels and some pleasure. I just recently got a horse named Sam who would generally be a better English horse, so for him I'm going back to English. I know enough techniques in English that I don't need an instructor, really. It feels better on an English saddle and bridle because I can feel the horse better. Western saddles are bulky and hard to sit on. If I had to choose, I think it's a tie. Both are great; it just depends on where you were raised and how you were taught.
• United States
16 Nov 09
i have to go with bareback with a stripped down bridle. i cant stand riding with a saddle because it feels like i'm not really on the horse at all and its uncomfortable. i have used both kinds of saddles before but i don't thing either is better than the other.
• United States
30 Oct 09
personally western is the way to go! i would much rather run around 3 cans than jump fences any day, and i have rode english for several years... i just never really liked it, ive always wanted to do barrels. i think that its all personal preference.
@coolblu (54)
• United States
30 Oct 09
don't worry your daughter will walk its normal for some to be slow. my second child didn't walk till she was 13 months old. When she starts walking watch out...