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7HL
Aug. 25, 2012, 08:25 AM
Riding Western... is not a matter of ????




buy a western saddle
owning a quarter horse
changing the bit I ride my horse in
not wearing a helmet
Is it an attidude?

What's your thoughts?

Bluey
Aug. 25, 2012, 08:32 AM
You get to wear a cowboy hat.
In a pinch, a ballcap will also do.:p

HorsesinHaiti
Aug. 25, 2012, 08:52 AM
Contact usually one handed on draped reins vs. contact two handed on reins with some tension? The approach to and mechanics behind contact seem different.

S1969
Aug. 25, 2012, 09:57 AM
I'm not sure I really understand your question, but yes, I think there is something about attitude! :)

I ride English but my trainer rides Western (team penning is her discipline). I think she has given us the best riding lessons of all the trainers I've worked with. Most of the riding is the same; she's not teaching "english" v. "western"....but about straightness, bending, collection, suppleness....isn't this the same thing you work on in every discipline?

She rides her western horses in a regular snaffle (with cool conchos instead of D-rings)....but with jeans, boots, and a cowboy hat. :) But she rides pretty much the same way on my horse in her english tack. :)

I'm not ready to forego my helmet for a cowboy hat (or baseball cap), but I could imagine, quite easily, switching over to western disciplines.... :) I do like to ride in jeans. Now I just need a saddle....and some attitude...I think they might have more fun. :)

Fillabeana
Aug. 25, 2012, 02:27 PM
but about straightness, bending, collection, suppleness....isn't this the same thing you work on in every discipline?


Yes, it is exactly.
Some of the prettiest dressage I've ever seen was 'live' in front of me, ridden by Buck Brannaman on his bridle horse. Medium trot to collected canter to medium canter, and two tempi changes. You never saw an aid, it was all super subtle, and the horse's tail was completely quiet and the horse had a lovely, happy face as well as lovely, expressive gaits.
Ray Hunt, Tom Dorrance and the like understood HORSES and how they used their bodies, how to connect with their minds, and how to get a horse to do anything athletic, happily.
I understand that Ray Hunt would jump 4' oxers in his wade saddle.
My new book on Tom Dorrance has a few photos of an older Tom doing some cutting in what appears to be a Passier or similar all-purpose english saddle.

Myself, I've had a couple of rides on a couple of different well-trained, money earning cutting or reining horses. Having dressage experience, but never ridden 'western' performance horses before, I just figured that since a horse had to move his bend and his balance over this way for a halt and rollback, I should probably ask ...right here...and got the stop and rollback, spins and flying changes the same way. Of course the horses were well trained and able, and could interpret what I wanted, but nobody was telling me what to do (like a lesson), and it all worked great.

You also don't need a Quarter Horse. Ray Hunt said once that his favorite breed was the Thoroughbred (I'll have to look that up later for a reference). I've seen some really, really good bridle horses (light and responsive and in a spade bit), ridden by some outstanding stockmen, that were either Jockey Club TBs or AQHA/appendix AQHA of almost entirely TB blood. And some great Arab stock horses.

7HL
Aug. 25, 2012, 02:54 PM
I'm not sure I really understand your question, but yes, I think there is something about attitude! :)



I think those that ride western do.:cool:

sk_pacer
Aug. 25, 2012, 03:26 PM
Your end result is the same: a horse that does whatever you ask without pinned ears, wringing its tail and avoidance of everything with certain actions like rearing and bucking. My old barrel horse could and would do everything a friend's dressage horse could do and did that horse one better: he could two tempe and was working on one. He did this in a snaffle with mostly no contact, all done with legs and seat once he figured out where his head should be.

paulaedwina
Aug. 25, 2012, 07:01 PM
I'd say there's definitely an attitude and I have recently drunk the koolaide.

1. Horses that do their jobs without freaking out. They don't need a lie down because an ATV just passed by.

2. Riders that do their jobs without freaking out. Horse shies -no biggie. They don't need a lie down because there is more than one horse in the ring.

3. Relaxed, comfortable, fun-loving, ride-for-kicks-and-giggles.

Yes I know I'm generalizing, but there it is. My English horse and I currently live at a Western/Hunter/Eventing farm with trucks and gators and ATVs and critters, and kids, and dogs, and carts, you name it. The first time I shared a hitching post with 4 other horses in close proximity my eyes were opened.

Paula

quarterhorse4me
Aug. 25, 2012, 09:51 PM
Not sure I completely understand the question either. I have never ridden english but I did make my daughter learn both. We ride off the leg a whole lot more. I rarely use my reins during most rides.

Western attire is also so much better. I am a cowboy boot addict. Honestly, I would not be caught dead in english attire....it is definitely not for anyone larger than a size 8 although it looks quite glamorous on some women. Western looks just fine on my size 12 body and a western saddle does my bottom end much more justice.

Shermy
Aug. 26, 2012, 12:36 AM
I'd say there's definitely an attitude and I have recently drunk the koolaide.

1. Horses that do their jobs without freaking out. They don't need a lie down because an ATV just passed by.

2. Riders that do their jobs without freaking out. Horse shies -no biggie. They don't need a lie down because there is more than one horse in the ring.

3. Relaxed, comfortable, fun-loving, ride-for-kicks-and-giggles.

Yes I know I'm generalizing, but there it is. My English horse and I currently live at a Western/Hunter/Eventing farm with trucks and gators and ATVs and critters, and kids, and dogs, and carts, you name it. The first time I shared a hitching post with 4 other horses in close proximity my eyes were opened.

Paula


TOTALLY agree. Being around a decent amount of Dressage people, have a good friend that is big into Dressage, the HUGE difference, is the expectation that your horse will be solid no matter what is going on around it.

EXPOSURE is key! Want proof, go to a Dressage show, SHHHHH!!! Then go to a Reining or cutting show, wooohoooo. One show is fixated on sheltering the horses, the later is on having fun w/VERY relaxed horses in a somewhat loud environment.

Western and Dressage are actually fairly close, other than the contact of the horse's mouth. Legs long, bending, etc.

The enviroments could NOT be more different. I prefer "Western".

AliCat518
Aug. 26, 2012, 12:48 AM
Hmm, I dont understand the question either.

As far as expectations, my horses (both hunters, one retired--now western, one hunter show horse) are exposed to fun stuff daily. They live in a 100+ acre field, have flocks of turkeys and groups of deer grazing with them every day. Tractors go directly beside them regularly, as do 4 wheelers, trucks, whatever we need to use.

We shoot guns (blanks) off our horses. We throw ropes around and off of them. Tarps are flapped around beside them. They walk over our homemade scary bridge.

I ride hunters (western when I ride the retired guy and feel like just relaxing), and am serious about my training. I dont think it necessarily is a discipline thing, as much as a choice. At a hunter (or western pleasure, halter etc) barn, the horses are probably not exposed to as much as ranch horses. Not a bad thing, as long as they do their job.

I never cared if my horses could deal with me swinging a rope, shooting a gun or walking over a fake bridge with them. (Because, seriously...this is central VA...when would I EVER need to do that?!) We did it just because it was there. No problemo with any of it. And one of my horses is a high strung, fancy, show bred TB :)

Hippolyta
Aug. 26, 2012, 02:55 AM
I said to someone the other day that I want to be able to shoot a gun off the back of my horse. I ride dressage.

This is not b/c I ever intend to go shooting on said horse, or b/c I shoot guns on a regular basis. I think a horse should be exposed to & trained to do a lot of things: ride, drive, trails, jump, etc. Now my horse might not excel at all of these things, but she should at least be able to hop over a pole, wear a harness , plow through a stream & stand while I open a gate from her back. They live for 30 years, so use the time to teach them. It is good for their mind, their body good for the horse person &, hey, isn't it cool?

Growing up, I went to a barn/camp where this was the norm for every horse on the property. It was expected that they could multitask & it was no big deal. All the horses were ridden English, but they all knew how to jump, neck rein, drive, etc. Trainers took 5 gaited horses for a hack through the woods before loading them on the truck to Madison Square Garden (where they won).

In the 1980s I had a show Morgan that could do anything, including pull logs. I want that again :)

I think we should have high expectations of ourselves & our horses.

Podhajsky galloped his horses through the park in Vienna & over logs.

"Ray Hunt, Tom Dorrance and the like understood HORSES and how they used their bodies, how to connect with their minds, and how to get a horse to do anything athletic, happily."

+ + + + this!

As for dressage riders who don't think their horse should not have to deal with ATVs, I would say they need to change their attitude. Aren't these supposed to be military maneuvers? :)

So, maybe people who choose to ride western do have a different attitude, one that we should all have. Get out the damn indoor!!!

paulaedwina
Aug. 26, 2012, 06:14 AM
I have a totally out of my ear BS theory as to why this is. I think in recent history (generally speaking) English riding was for recreation and Western riding was for work. So if your English horse needed a lie down you just didn't get to play, but if your Western horse needed a lie down you didn't get work done (revenue, paid, etc). I think this has influenced the traditions of training so that Western trainers have different expectations of their horses than English trainers. I mean, if your horse is your source of revenue he has to do his job right? I think this might also have influenced genetics in that the Western tradition may have less preference for flaky-but-pretty (I'm not talking about current trends, but history).

Funny, but I started thinking this way when I was introduced to Andalusian stallions that were regularly ridden. They come from a tradition of work so perhaps there is a genetic selection to sane stallions because of this expectation. No room for wacky-but-pretty stallions and their wacky genes?

JMO of course.
Paula

Fillabeana
Aug. 26, 2012, 02:51 PM
Paula, I think there is a lot to your theory.

If a horse's job is to help you get something accomplished, rather than to do something for your status/ego, there will be a difference in the horse you prefer to ride. Color, mane, bling trappings, horse shows (like halter, 'western pleasure', show ring hunters) braid jobs, etc really matter if you are trying to win a colored ribbon.

English riding used to be for the Cavalry, to train effective war horses. Now the ultimate test is no longer going to be, say, an officer's horse proven in a war, but the Olympics (or World Championships, etc.) Not so bad for sports like jumpers, where there is no subjective judgement, or true Foxhunting where your horse has to be mannerly and cover a LOT of country jumping and galloping) but not so good for sports that involve a judge's opinion (dressage or hunters).
While there are certainly 'Western' disciplines (reining, western pleasure) that are all about what is 'pretty' or in fashion, there still remain
Western disciplines that are about getting it done, such as rodeo. In a big way, there are also quite a lot of ranches left where it takes a good horse to get the job done, and folks would rather ride a big-headed homely sorrel who helps them get the job done easily than a beautiful palomino who lets the calf get by, making more work (and aggravation) for everyone. And it doesn't help to be out of the money at a roping, if you're riding the prettiest horse there.

I always thought it was too bad that just about ALL of the the real 'horsey' girls raised on ranches went towards barrel racing/high school rodeo than eventing. There are some REALLY effective seat-of-the-pants horsemen out there on ranches, who could probably be very good event riders.

Shermy
Aug. 26, 2012, 11:33 PM
In my experience, I have seen a LOT of adult re riders get into Dressage. They like the clothes and idea of it. They feel they need the BIG movers, spend a ton of money on THE special horse.

It is that VERY big movement that is just too much for them. They get over horsed, lose their confidence.

There are usually several of these ladies and they feed into each other about what would scare their horse.

Instead of exposing said horse, they isolate it. Ride in arena only, the horse doesnt get exposed or have the benefit of a confident rider, so is spooky.

I am helping a very timid rider gain her confidence so she can trail ride and get OUT of the arena.

She is totally English, and her attitude is just amazing. She is constantly looking for things that will spook her horse. Her horse is actually very solid and if she would just relax and be calm, she would have soo much more fun. Instead she used to just worry about EVERYTHING!

I will say, our last ride, she was awesome! Actually, feel like we are getting somewhere and she is really seeing that she CAN trust her horse.

When I trail ride, I assume my horse will be good and handle whatever pops out at us. I do pay attention and am in control. I figure bad things can happen, but if I was constantly nervous, my horse will pick up on that. That only increases your chances of bad things.

Maybe that is the difference...

A lot of Western riders tend to trust or ride relaxed.

A lot of English riders tend to constantly worry or have less faith in their horse.

If you ride English and get your horse out of the arena constantly, GREAT!! Horses need that. EXPOSE your horse to as much stuff as you can find. I go looking for things that might scare my horse. Needless to say, my horse is super solid. I can put anyone on him, and he will take care of them. That said, make him work, and he can be a bit of a handful, so he is not push button for me, but is when needed. The best of both worlds :)

I am just talking from my experiences.

7HL
Aug. 27, 2012, 12:02 PM
Many don't... a few do.

The fact that "english" appears many times in this thread, justs back up that some don't.

It appears that many want to justify riding "english" when that wasn't the question.



Like these two... And the pinch may be between you cheek and gum.


You get to wear a cowboy hat.
In a pinch, a ballcap will also do.:p


I would not be caught dead in english attire....



For the record I wear a helmet, my personal choice, and I also don't use any tobacco products. But definitel only Wranglers and a pair of Georgia Boots.

S1969
Aug. 27, 2012, 01:10 PM
Many don't... a few do.

The fact that "english" appears many times in this thread, justs back up that some don't.

It appears that many want to justify riding "english" when that wasn't the question.

I think that the issue is the grammar.

Are we supposed to read it "Riding Western... is not a matter of buy a western saddle??" :confused:

I can appreciate what you are trying to say (I think) but am confused by the thread title. Is riding Western more than just a matter of tack and helmets? Does riding western require a different attitude than riding other disciplines?

Yes, I think so.

paulaedwina
Aug. 27, 2012, 01:22 PM
Shermy I'm in the same boat as your timid client. I feel like my current barn and trainer saved our lives in a way. For example, I rode this morning -first a bit of warm up in the ring, and then a hack around the farm. We couldn't go far because I had to get back home and get ready for class. However;

1. In the ring I opened a gate while on horseback.
2. On the way out to the trail I had to pass between a horse-eating truck that was idling, some horse-eating power line poles, and a giant horse-eating mower. Fella looked at all of them, kind of jiggled a bit, but we went on because it wasn't a big deal for me.
3. We hacked out by ourselves and he wasn't too thrilled with that, but we went out anyway.

I can pretty much guarantee you this would not have happened 6 months ago. I would have been feeding his anxiety about the horse-eating equipment and the entire session would have sucked.

Like you said; my expectations of his behavior had to change.

Paula

nikelodeon79
Aug. 27, 2012, 01:28 PM
In my experience, I have seen a LOT of adult re riders get into Dressage. They like the clothes and idea of it.
I'm getting back into riding after several years off and am considering getting into English riding (dressage... or maybe even jumping). I've ridden Western all my life. Just looking for a change, I guess!

I used to work at a riding stable (Western) and I did this crazy routine of English Rider vs. Western Rider using a snotty, stuck up voice for the English rider and a lazy, drawled out Redneck accent for the Western rider. Pretty sure I managed to insult both parties thoroughly but people used to get a lot of laughs out of it. :D

As a Western rider, here's my take on it: There is a thread currently going on about learning to trail ride and just sending someone out on an old broke horse without any lessons. There are a few posters that are horrified about this and feel that it is a cardinal sin to send someone out on a trail without lessons first. Well.. in the Western world (at least MY Western world) that's simply the way things are done. Lessons are unheard of. Most people really have no idea how to ride properly (myself included). We would go to one show per year, bump around on our horse in the makeshift arena, wave at our parents in the stands as we went by, got a pretty ribbon, and then return our horse to the pasture. Our local show eventually got a different judge and I learned about proper foot position (you mean you don't keep your toes pointed to the sky for safety?) and that I wasn't supposed to tie my reins (but what if I drop one?) or hold onto the horn (WHAT?! No safety handle???). Fast forward a few years and we got a judge that expected us to actually do patterns in Showmanship and flying lead changes in riding classes (LOL, my trail gelding actually surprised me by doing one, when I'd never worked on him with it previously).

So... here I am, with over 20 years riding experience and I still really have no idea how to ride correctly. I can stay on a horse and get him to go and do where I want, but start talking in terms of "collection" and being "on the bit" my eyes sort of glaze over. In Western (at least in trail), if your horse ambles along on a completely loose rein, that's a good thing.

As far as helmets: after one concussion (are you aware that when a head meets blacktop, it actually bounces?) and actually cracking a helmet coming off a horse on a trail ride (I'm quite thankful I didn't find out what happens to a head when it hits a large, jagged rock), I ALWAYS wear a helmet, even at shows. My SIL and I were the only adults with helmets on at the show, but that didn't bother us at all.

7HL
Aug. 27, 2012, 01:41 PM
I think that the issue is the grammar.

Are we supposed to read it "Riding Western... is not a matter of buy a western saddle??" :confused:

...

Read it how you wish...

Won't be the first time my grammar has been challenged and it won't be the last. As well a spelng?!

First why in a discussion of western, does "english" keep coming up? And I am talking about riding. Maybe it's because many do not understand what "riding western" really means.


I know this whole forum is something that many did not want. Some however seem to want to discuss english disciplines in a western forum.

Riding western, is probably more an attitude then anything else. Its definitely not about just buying as saddle.

saddleup
Aug. 27, 2012, 03:33 PM
All I know is I definitely walk differently when I'm wearing my Wranglers and my western spurs. Jingle-jangle-jingle.

As for expectations, I couldn't agree more that I expect my horses to be good now that I ride almost exclusively western. I think on how I babied and babysat my horses in my former riding life, and now I just shake my head in disbelief. I knew people who insisted their horses could not be tied at a horse show, so they took someone with them to HOLD their horse all day.

Go to any western event and you'll see horses not only tied, but tied close together, for hours, being patient and quiet. Why? Because that's their job.

7HL
Aug. 27, 2012, 04:18 PM
When you ride western, the definitely is no discussion like this...

http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=364807

mp
Aug. 27, 2012, 05:30 PM
Unless you're working cattle for a living with your horse, "western" riding is about your preferences for accoutrements. Nothing more.

Shermy
Aug. 27, 2012, 05:42 PM
When you ride western, the definitely is no discussion like this...

http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=364807

LOL, while I do consider myself mostly a western rider, I can NOT ride in jeans. OUCH!! I live in my riding tights while at the barn.

In fact, I cant believe how many people do ride in jeans. I am not talking riding jeans, but regular, normal seamed jeans.

I rode in jeans once a few months ago, didnt plan on going to barn, it was NOT comfortable at all. My calves were red for a few days. Maybe if I did it often, they would "toughen up", but why??

Tights are sooo much more comfortable. You can get light ones for summer, and toasty warm ones for winter.

kdow
Aug. 27, 2012, 07:13 PM
First why in a discussion of western, does "english" keep coming up? And I am talking about riding. Maybe it's because many do not understand what "riding western" really means.

I suspect some of it is because there have been a couple of posts about how in "English" riding it's okay for your horse to be a complete idiot about everything outside an arena (and some stuff inside it too) and Western is soooo much better because they don't put up with that - except that the arena-bound-pampered-princess English horses are a subset that even other folks who do English styles of riding often find annoying. So then you get other posts from people going 'hey, wait a minute, that's not English riding that's someone letting their horse get away with being an idiot!'

I personally find it hard to comment on what the differences might be because there's also a discrepancy between the people I know who ride Western and the people I know who ride English in terms of their goals, and so I can't tell if the differences I observe are because of the disciplines or because of the different goals. I mean, an English hunter show barn is a much different place than an English eventing barn, you know? So if all of the people I know who ride Western are way more laid back and relaxed about things (even stuff I think is stupid, like wearing helmets - why would you not wear one? Do you not like your brain?) is that because Western riders in general are like that, or because I've never been to a Western show barn, and if I went there it'd be much more like the English show barns I've seen, just with different tack?

All of that said - the trail thread is pretty interesting in terms of attitudes. :)

ETA: I can't ride in jeans either. I don't have to be wearing breeches or tights, but regular jeans are just uncomfortable.

Trakehner
Aug. 27, 2012, 08:42 PM
1. Horses that do their jobs without freaking out. They don't need a lie down because an ATV just passed by.

2. Riders that do their jobs without freaking out. Horse shies -no biggie. They don't need a lie down because there is more than one horse in the ring.

3. Relaxed, comfortable, fun-loving, ride-for-kicks-and-giggles.


I've always found English to be the same way...maybe not the ring riders but most of the normal horse owners. One western thing I noticed was that too many of the male riders figured testosterone taught them all they needed to know about riding, horse care and general barn knowledge (seeing too many bits put in backwards, saddles/bridles/etc. horribly fitted and a total lack of riding theory besides "kick him again")

danceronice
Aug. 27, 2012, 08:48 PM
So... here I am, with over 20 years riding experience and I still really have no idea how to ride correctly. I can stay on a horse and get him to go and do where I want, but start talking in terms of "collection" and being "on the bit" my eyes sort of glaze over. In Western (at least in trail), if your horse ambles along on a completely loose rein, that's a good thing. .

Well, "collection" and "being on the bit" mean different things and involve achieving different ends (constant contact versus loose rein with a curb only engaging if the horse raises his head). But when I started riding other than poking around on bareback pony rides with baling twine on the halter as a bridle, I took Western lessons to start. Specifically eq and pleasure for Arabs as it was an Arab barn, but still, western tack, neck reining, etc. What you're describing ("whatever works, no lessons") is to me not really riding WESTERN as being the casual backyard horse owner. If you lived in an area where English was the norm you'd be toodling around in an old English saddle. Riding WESTERN is just as much a skill set as riding hunt seat or dressage.

Or rather, riding in a Western discipline is. If you're just poking around in your own backyard, it really doesn't matter what kind of tack you have. Reining, cutting, gaming, WP, etc. all require the same kind of training as jumping, eventing, dressage, etc. And specialized horses-if I want to take up cutting, I don't think a somewhat arthritic ex-racehorse is going to work in the long term. A cutting-bred QH is probably going to be more useful.

"Western" just means you are using conventionally Western tack. "English" just means you're using conventionally English tack. Neither one is a discipline itself. Riding Western just means your saddle's got more leather on it.

Macimage
Aug. 27, 2012, 08:52 PM
When you ride western, the definitely is no discussion like this...

http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=364807

I ride exclusively Western and prefer knee patch breeches with tall Western Boots and perhaps my chaps or chinks which fit wonderfully well over the breeches.

I don't like to ride in jeans as the seams rub.

AliCat518
Aug. 27, 2012, 09:00 PM
Hmm. Riding is riding. I'm the same rider whether I have a western saddle, english saddle or no saddle. For me, riding western is a matter of riding in a western saddle. I change minor things, but have my heels down, eyes up, and am balanced and correct.

7HL, what do YOU think western riding is a matter of?

7HL
Aug. 27, 2012, 09:04 PM
I've always found English to be the same way...maybe not the ring riders but most of the normal horse owners. One western thing I noticed was that too many of the male riders figured testosterone taught them all they needed to know about riding, horse care and general barn knowledge (seeing too many bits put in backwards, saddles/bridles/etc. horribly fitted and a total lack of riding theory besides "kick him again"):lol::lol::lol:

Sunsets
Aug. 28, 2012, 01:02 AM
I do like the "horse and rider need to do their job in a relaxed fashion" attitude in good Western riding.

That said, for every uptight English Dressage Queen who is terrified of anything that might spook a horse, there seems to be a Good Ol' Western rider who does not tolerate any sort of forward or, God Forbid, normal reaction from a horse. Trot too big? Shank that horse! Won't bend exactly when you want it to? Tie the bridle to the stirrup! Your 4 year old doesn't want to stand still? Tie her to the wall and scare her until she gets too tired to freak out.

I've seen both types of rider, and both are bad.

Wellspotted
Aug. 28, 2012, 03:09 AM
"Riding Western is not a matter of ..."

... buying a western saddle because that's the "REAL American way to ride"

... buying a western saddle because English saddles are "English" and this is America

... buying a western saddle because you don't want to take lessons, you just want to get on the horse and go

... buying a western saddle because it has a horn you can hang on to when you get on the horse and go

... buying a "snaffle" (oops, a "broke" bit) that has shanks so is really a curb but the guys at the tractor store told you any "broke" bit was a snaffle

... buying a bit that will cause your horse to break at the "pole," get his hind end up under him, bend at the ribcage, lift his shoulder, and that will "put some bite" on him when he throws up his head when you pull on his mouth

... "Kick him to make him go" and "Pull on the reins to make him stop"

Riding western IS a matter of learning to ride properly in a western saddle with a bit that is appropriate for your riding activity and for your horse!

(And when I started out doing dressage, using an English saddle, and was told about the Youtube videos of "Dressage Meets Western" etc., I always fell in love with the reining horses and their riders rather than the dressage ones. So now I do western dressage!)

Luseride
Aug. 28, 2012, 07:22 AM
After having taught lessons for many years I can say it is much easier to go from western to hunt seat than the other way around.

Western is about limited contact, riding from the seat, not the reins, trusting the horse to do their job and to do it quietly.

In my experience riders from other disciplines have a difficult time giving up the contact because they feel they are giving up control.

Bluey
Aug. 28, 2012, 09:14 AM
After having taught lessons for many years I can say it is much easier to go from western to hunt seat than the other way around.

Western is about limited contact, riding from the seat, not the reins, trusting the horse to do their job and to do it quietly.

In my experience riders from other disciplines have a difficult time giving up the contact because they feel they are giving up control.

After having taught lessons for many years I can say that it is much easier to go from a good rider on any discipline, knowledgeable of the technical aspects of riding, not the more seat of the pants rider, than a get on and ride type rider, that has to learn an independent seat and some polite communication with the horse.

We can find just as many bad riders, for many reasons bad, in either way of riding, just as we can find good ones, in both camps.

We are comparing apples and bananas when we focus on the saddle or discipline, forgetting that there are good riders and bad ones in all we do.
I would say many beginner English riders are just that, beginners and advance as their ability and time to learn permits, just as western riders do.
Western riders have in the USA many more seat of the pants, kick and jerk riders than English ones, because there are more of them.;)
Just go to any playday and be ashamed how so many there ride.:eek:
That doesn't mean all western riders or even all playday riders are that bad, just as finding some arena flowers, be it western or English, that can't ride outside, means their discipline makes them a bad rider because they are confident only in arenas.
They are just riders of limited skills.

The focus here is more on what some posters experiences are, forgetting the horse world is so much more than any one kind of riding is better than another because of the kind of pants you like to wear.:p

paulaedwina
Aug. 28, 2012, 09:18 AM
Yes I know I'm generalizing, but there it is.

Quoted from my post. Just for clarification.

Paula

mp
Aug. 28, 2012, 09:41 AM
"Western" just means you are using conventionally Western tack. "English" just means you're using conventionally English tack. Neither one is a discipline itself. Riding Western just means your saddle's got more leather on it.

Exactly. It's a preference in riding tack or "attidude," as 7 said.

Another poster said good riding is good riding. The same is true if you're just asking your horse to cart you around. And since we're generalizing, I see more riders of the latter type in western tack.

bluemooncowgirl
Aug. 28, 2012, 09:56 AM
Riding Western... is not a matter of ????




buy a western saddle
owning a quarter horse
changing the bit I ride my horse in
not wearing a helmet
Is it an attidude?

What's your thoughts?

Yes, it is an attitude.

I totally get the question, but I doubt I am eloquent enough to put it into words the masses would understand.

However, I think MrBlueMoon said it best when I was struggling with a decision about whether to sell a horse that wasn't suiting my western needs or to just switch to english.

His answer.... "But honey, you are a cowgirl."

::shrug:: He was right. It's not the saddle or the bit, or even riding in jeans without a helmet (although I always wear mine). It's just something "je ne sais quoi".

And that "something", I suppose, is what has made folks stop me when I am shopping in Tractor Supply and ask "Do you have horses?" and I am not in the equine section, nor wearing anything that screams "cowgirl". Or the night the biker dude came up to me in a bar and asks me out of the blue the same question. (and no, it wasn't a pick-up line... we spent the better part of the next hour discussing his minis and my quarter horse!)

I dunno.... I can't explain it but this is a great thread.

JollyBadger
Aug. 28, 2012, 10:47 AM
I'm not really sure what "camp" I fit into - all of the riding lessons I've ever taken were coming from the English disciplines. And I've known people whose heads would explode at the thought of some of the things I do regularly with my own horse.

When it comes to tack, I'm kind of a "mutt."

I ride my TWH in an English bridle with small silver conchos where the browband meets the crownpiece (bought them at a craft store and put them on because I liked how they looked). The bit I use is a Robart pinchless walking horse bit. No massive 10" long shanks or anything dangly or wacky about the mouthpiece, and my horse goes light and relaxed in it.

And I ride in a western saddle (Tucker trail, Cheyenne model). Honestly, I could do without the horn. It just seems to get in the way most of the time, but everything else about the saddle I love, so I'm going to hang on to it for now.

When it comes to attitude, I have certain expectations for my horse. He is expected to ground tie. He is expected to wait quietly when we encounter a lot of debris on trail, and I have to dismount in order to clear it so that we can get through. He is expected to stand quietly if I have to dismount on trail for a "potty break." He is expected to walk on quietly if I drag a tree limb alongside him while I am on his back, to move it off the trail. He is expected to share a hitching rail with other horses, without creating any "drama," and to just mind his own business. He is expected to cross streams, whether they're an inch deep or up past his knees. He is expected to go out on trail "solo" or ride in a large group without getting buddy sour or barn sour.

It is not necessary for him to spook at things like noisy machinery, cars, steamrollers, tractors, mowers, ATVs, dirt bikes, feral children, barking dogs, model airplanes, loud music, construction projects, large rocks, wildlife, hikers, hunters, mushroom-ers, or any of the other things we encounter in the real world.

There is no bubble-wrapping, there is no coddling, there is no psycho-babble about his "personality" or attributing his behavior to the alignment of the stars or whatever other excuses people use. I don't freak out about stuff, so he doesn't either. I don't expect the world to come to a halt because it might bother or scare my horse. He does what he does, and he does it well, and that's all I ask of him.

ViewParadise
Aug. 28, 2012, 02:19 PM
FWIW, I was at a cattle clinic this weekend and half of the riders were in helmets. Men included! I think some attitudes may be changing...

Fillabeana
Aug. 28, 2012, 04:22 PM
Sorry, 7HL. You're going to have a discussion over whether a person should ride in jeans here, too.

I can only wear jeans if my skin has toughened up from riding 3 or 4 hours every day. I almost exclusively wear breeches, and if it isn't hot I wear chinks over them.
I ride in order to manage a breeding herd of several hundred cows. I suppose that makes me a 'real' western rider, though I am just learning how to handle a rope. It would have been a lot easier if I had been roping things since I was 4!
Usually I ride in a western saddle, and a short ride is 1 1/2 hours and probably covers several hundred acres.
I was an event rider who did a few hunter and dressage shows, whatever was fun, in a past life (late 80's and early 90's). Now I live on a cattle ranch. I still prefer my OTTB and how he moves and covers ground, to the average ranch horse. Luckily Mr. OTTB is really cowy and starting to be smart with a rope, but even in buckaroo tack and a wade saddle my OTTB stands out from the crowd.

"On the bit", "collection", etc when done correctly is the same whatever tack the horse is wearing, and whatever clothes the rider is wearing. Western riders tend to go about trying to get their horse there, in a different manner than English riders do, and their mistakes tend to look different (behind the vertical, pulling constantly on the reins for english, head way down low and evading the bit on a loose rein, but still behind the vertical for western; both with a bunch of weight dumped on the forehand).

Another 'english vs western' difference I see is that western riders tend to think that a horse who is compliant trying get the heck out of your way, because you'll punish him if he does it wrong, is 'correct'. English riders tend to gloss over 'minor tantrums' or problems so the horse doesn't get all wound up. Neither of these strategies is truly effective at getting a horse completely OK with something that initially bothers him, but I do think the strategies reflect the genetics of the horses typically used: In my opinion, Quarter Horses have been bred to tolerate a lot, a 'quiet mind' and a horse that doesn't get too uptight about anything is actively bred for in the stock horse culture. I know the 'age of the Thoroughbred' may be past, since warmbloods tend to populate the sporthorse world in this country now, but many english riders grew up in a culture where a horse might have all kinds of talent to jump, yet be high strung. So training strategies were developed to avoid getting the horse really upset. Nowadays, the western performance (cutting, barrel racing) horses can be plenty hot or high strung, and the hunter rings populated with tolerant, quiet warmbloods, but I think the culture and trainer tendencies are still there.

7HL
Aug. 28, 2012, 05:39 PM
Sorry, 7HL. You're going to have a discussion over whether a person should ride in jeans here, too.

I can only wear jeans if my skin has toughened up from riding 3 or 4 hours every day. I almost exclusively wear breeches, and if it isn't hot I wear chinks over them.
.

Never said you had to ride in anything. Don't get your point.

What I did post was a link to a thread where some were saying jeans are a negative, because it would scuff their delicate english saddle.

Wear what you please.

Never have any problems wearing Wranglers. Didn't have to toughen up anything.





Another 'english vs western' difference



Never said western vs english. Or what are the differences. I don't care.

ccoronios
Aug. 29, 2012, 05:40 PM
AliCat --
"I ride hunters (western when I ride the retired guy and feel like just relaxing), and am serious about my training. I dont think it necessarily is a discipline thing, as much as a choice."

THIS.

A hunter or a dressage horse doesn't HAVE to have silence or pristine conditions. If the rider/owner/trainer CHOOSES to create the bubble, then one or all of them must deal with the consequences when the bubble bursts and the real world enters.

It has always amused me that dressage horses, which are supposed to be the epitome of focused on rider's aides, are so easily distracted by something that happens 50' away. REALLY????

Carol

WildBlue
Aug. 30, 2012, 10:41 PM
Unless you're working cattle for a living with your horse, "western" riding is about your preferences for accoutrements. Nothing more.

I'd have to mostly agree with this.

In addition to trails (of course), I've done contesting, western pleasure, polo, and now foxhunting and starting to dabble in eventing. The tack changes and with it the aids change slightly, terminology varies, but the basics are still the same.

IME, there is a greater divide between 'arena' disciplines and those who mainly work outside it than between groups as defined by tack. A couple of the disciplines I mentioned can have a pretty darn 'western' attitude--actually a lot truer to both the stereotypes and actual cowboy traditions than a bunch of the poseurs out there in stock saddles...

Nike13
Aug. 31, 2012, 12:53 AM
If you really want to confuse things, try endurance riding. I've always been a "hybrid" who rides in whatever worked/whatever I could afford. I'm that weird H/J, dressage rider who rides in jeans and 1/2 chaps and hangs out with barrel racers. My tack room is in a constant identity crisis. And then I discovered endurance.....where it's perfectly acceptable to ride your massive QH in a helmet, jeans, 1/2 chaps, and western spurs, in a barrel or dressage saddle, depending on how froggy he's feeling that day. It's a whole world of people who ride in whatever works! Hybrid Rider fits in at last!
I would say I am an english rider with a western soul. I still fantasize about having that barrel horse one day.
That said, a few years ago I was running errands, wearing jeans, cowboy boots/western spurs, ball cap, and a down vest with a huge ranch brand ebroidered across the back.(cold weather/broncy horse day) A very chatty man approached me and asked, "Do you ride warmbloods?" And I thought I was confused....

BensMama
Sep. 3, 2012, 05:36 AM
I prefer Western. It's awful hard to rope out of an English saddle. :D

ezduzit
Sep. 4, 2012, 08:46 AM
[QUOTE=Bluey;6522080]After having taught lessons for many years I can say that it is much easier to go from a good rider on any discipline, knowledgeable of the technical aspects of riding, not the more seat of the pants rider, than a get on and ride type rider, that has to learn an independent seat and some polite communication with the horse.[/QUOTE

I am this rider. After years of 'riding' and carriage driving I decided to show western pleasure. I bought a beautifully trained Morgan who already had a nice show record with his owner/amateur trainer. So...

I bought the saddle and got on thinking "western is easy, just sit there and they do all the work". HA! ! I had no knowledge of the technical aspects of riding, no independent seat, didn't even know if I was sitting up straight or not (I wasn't). I did have polite communication with the horse, if you could call it that. I was so afraid of too much contact that I basically had none...more than confusing to the poor guy. 4 years later, I am just now getting the hang of it. I supposed it doesn't help that I started at age 61 and hadn't really ridden any horse in decades.

As far as attitude, I'm kind of a type AA personality. I really should be doing cross country. I have a hard time toning myself down for western. But I do love the bling, the colorful outfits and the sense of accomplishment. My horse is beautiful, I'm always proud of him at the shows.

I love my kerrits breeches, paddock boots and blunt spurs. But I'm thinking about some jingle-jangle-jingle spurs for next year.

sparkette
Sep. 6, 2012, 11:19 PM
I've rode a Welsh X pony(?) and Spotted Draft in WP classes, so it's not just about QH.

IMHO, I find western riders more laid back than English riders (I ride both) even though I have a few friends who ride strictly English.

I ride with a helmet no matter what tack I have on, even bareback.

As far as tack, my guy prefers a snaffle over his curb bit. He responds a lot better, bends, etc.

Beverley
Sep. 7, 2012, 12:46 AM
I prefer Western. It's awful hard to rope out of an English saddle. :D

True, but not impossible, just pick something light that you don't need to dally! Admittedly trickier when you have to 'haul' something heavy on a rope,as I've had to do a couple of times on competitive trail rides (but I got it done).

I ride both horses 'both ways' and don't fuss much over what clothing I wear when riding day in and day out. Obviously wear the right clothing when, say, foxhunting or working cattle. There are good practical reasons for the way riding clothes have evolved both English and Western.

Bluey
Sep. 7, 2012, 12:55 AM
You can rope with an English saddle.
You have to follow/drive whatever you caught until you get to something you can tie to, a bigger mesquite, post, trailer or bumper.

Just don't try it with a pink eye blind calf.:eek:

drmgncolor
Sep. 7, 2012, 01:32 PM
Some of the prettiest dressage I've ever seen was 'live' in front of me, ridden by Buck Brannaman on his bridle horse. Medium trot to collected canter to medium canter, and two tempi changes. You never saw an aid, it was all super subtle, and the horse's tail was completely quiet and the horse had a lovely, happy face as well as lovely, expressive gaits.
Ray Hunt, Tom Dorrance and the like understood HORSES and how they used their bodies, how to connect with their minds, and how to get a horse to do anything athletic, happily.


THIS. THIS. THIS.

Good riding and classical horsemanship are just that... no matter the tack.

Foxtrot's
Sep. 7, 2012, 01:50 PM
I have the Buck dvd and that bit with him in the field working his horse stays with me much more so than a lot of the world class dressage horses - it was just a beautiful piece of filming a pair who were so in tune with each other.

The other thing that stayed with me was the view of his tack in his horse trailer - now Buck is one big tackaholic and loves good stuff...!

Fillabeana
Sep. 7, 2012, 02:18 PM
I have the Buck dvd and that bit with him in the field working his horse stays with me
Oh, me too.
When I went to my first clinic in 2010, I was moved to tears watching. I saw in front of me, Buck on the horse he's riding in the DVD, doing the same moves. I just had NEVER seen anything like it- the softness, willingness, togetherness, invisibility of aids, complete lack of tail-swatting or resentment on the horse's part...wow.
And after Buck handles a horse (even if he has to get very firm), every horse I've seen pretty much just wants to be with him, follow him around, afterwards. It just about broke my heart when Buck handed my (now calm, quiet and happy) horse back to me, and my horse wanted to stay with Buck. Not because 'oh, my horse doesn't love me', but I knew that I couldn't provide something for my horse, that he so desperately needed. It's better now, but it took two years to get it to work.


You can rope with an English saddle.
...
Just don't try it with a pink eye blind calf
Oh my!
It's pretty hard to do much of anything with a scared, hurting pinkeye blind calf.


Oh, and I am VERY excited that the producers of the Buck movie have put out 7 dvds of 'Buck clinic' footage for horsepeople's education:
http://www.eclectic-horseman.com/mercantile/product_info.php?products_id=734
I've ordered my copy and can't wait until it comes, about a week and change before it gets here!

drmgncolor
Sep. 7, 2012, 02:43 PM
And after Buck handles a horse (even if he has to get very firm), every horse I've seen pretty much just wants to be with him, follow him around, afterwards. It just about broke my heart when Buck handed my (now calm, quiet and happy) horse back to me, and my horse wanted to stay with Buck. Not because 'oh, my horse doesn't love me', but I knew that I couldn't provide something for my horse, that he so desperately needed. It's better now, but it took two years to get it to work.

Buck didn't even have to take complete control of my horse for her to be instantly smitten.

After working with me briefly on her mouth and contact, he looked up at me in the saddle and said, "Your horse is actually a very sensitive mare. I like her. I like the sensitive ones." Then he turned to walk away and she couldn't take her eyes off him... for at least 2 minutes she watched him walk around the arena while he talked about her and then he had to kind of hide behind another horse and rider before she finally turned her head away. The crowd, of course, laughed.

I saw some seriously dramatic changes in a couple of the clinic horses in just a few days. It was eye opening.

Mukluk
Sep. 28, 2012, 11:56 AM
I ride english because I prefer the contact I get with an English Saddle (plus the light weight and simplicity of girth and stirrup adjustment). I ride in jeans when I ride bareback but prefer breeches when in the saddle. I almost always wear a helmet (in need my brain to remain in good working order). I also like to jump and do eventing for which a western saddle is not going to be ideal. I compete my horse in trail classes (the standard western ones- so she opens a gate, walks over bridge, goes through poles, backs through L, side passes etc). She has been through a "spook" clinic and dragged a bag of cans, walked over a "tippy bridge," let me carry a huge pool toy, pop balloons from her back etc etc. She has been team sorting- in english tack- and been to Utah to participate in the annual buffalo round up on antelope island. She was one of the horses that would gallop along the back of the herd to get them moving (and get the hell out of dodge if a buffalo wanted to chase us). She has been horse camping, on rocky trails in the sierras, and through water, and in the ocean up to her belly and then some. I am very happy to have a horse that has been exposed to this. I think it makes her a happier girl and me a happier rider. And by the way she is an OTTB. I have to say ya'll western folk, if you've never jumped a cross country course you should give it a try HUGE adrenalin rush. And I'd like to try reining and gymkhana events some day too. Riding is riding. Some folks are bold (and so are their horses) and some folks are timid (and so are their horses). We horse lovers have much more in common then not.

barrelracer12
Feb. 14, 2013, 12:34 AM
i still wear a helmet for everything i only ride western but i have a crazy 3 yr old arab so that might explain a little...

paulaedwina
Feb. 14, 2013, 01:09 AM
Coming back to say I'm learning more and more that it's attitude more than tack. I don't ride in a Western saddle -they are heavy and bulky and I don't know how to use my leg with my English aids. However, I have found refuge for my mind with my Western riding folks. For example, I like dressage, and may compete in dressage if I can ever find a saddle I can afford that can fit Fella, however conversations about turnout, button braids, etc. make me feel like a foreigner. I hear these conversations and I ask myself what the heck I'm doing. I am not turned on by turnout.

I find myself contemplating leaving the Western fenders on my endurance type treeless saddle, and leaving the wide track eventer stirrups on too. I find it less and less necessary to wear breeches and tall boots to ride. In fact I plan on wearing my Carhartts if it's cold on Friday. I found a pair of full seat riding jeans on Long Riders http://www.ridingwarehouse.com/Deluxe_Trail_Riders_Jeans_Full_Seat/descpage-DTRJFS.html

My horse often rides in a ring full of riders and gets tacked up at a hitching post mashed in with many other horses.

My attitudes have changed from;
I am afraid to fall -to- meh; it's not so far down.
He might spook so don't do that -to -meh; he'll get over it.

He has to go everywhere and do everything.

Speaking in generalizations I think my attitude has become Western/utilitarian.

Paula

lilitiger2
Feb. 14, 2013, 10:14 AM
count me in the camp that thinks a good horseman/woman is a good horseperson, regardless of the discipline. The man who broke and trained one of my horses is very much like Buck, and watching him work with the horse was just amazing (and he rode nothing but western, an old rancher). A woman who works with me in Vermont is mostly a dressage rider, yet she has really helped me work with my horse to make him a better/safer trail horse.

My horses sure don't care if the rider is wearing a ball cap, a stetson or a helmet, nor do they care if someone is wearing jeans, britches or a breechcloth. Of course there are differences both between disciplines and also among all the subdisciplines, but at the end of the day, good skills are still good skills.

equinekingdom
Feb. 14, 2013, 03:46 PM
I get people out here all the time that think that riding western is easier than riding english because there is "something to hold onto". They quickly learn that it isn't about what saddle you ride in, but rather how you a ride. a good rider can do just about everything in either saddle.

paulaedwina
Feb. 14, 2013, 04:01 PM
But I can't discount or undervalue how moving to a Western barn improved my English riding because my expectations of my horse and their expectations of me (like -big whoop you fell, get back on).

Paula