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 The Beginning Rider
 Western vs English
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1 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2006 :  2:40:22 PM  Show Profile  Visit doggirl's Homepage Send doggirl a Private Message
Help! I know absolutely NOTHING about horses. I have an 11 year-old niece who loves anything with paws (and hooves, I'm not that dumb , ok?). I sent her to horse camp last summer to learn the basics of English riding, great experience, she would rather be in a stable than anywhere else on earth. I want to get weekly lessons for her but: Western or English? She is never going to ride competitively, she just wants to learn about horses, learn to take care of them and learn to ride. Please...someone....help...they don't ride in my neighborhood and I have no one to ask. Thank you.


2194 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2006 :  3:01:58 PM  Show Profile Send hmeyer a Private Message
Wow, I never really thought much about that, but that is one of the very basic things one needs to decide when starting to pursue a hobby such as horses that, admittedly, can turn out to be quite expensive.

For me, there never really was much of a decision to make. When I picture horses and riders in my mind I automatically think of western style with the related tack, dress, history, etc. If a person, when you ask them to picture riding horses, thinks about the english style, with english tack, the more formal looking dress, jumpers, hunters, dressage, etc then I think they would probably be more interested in pursuing that style.

One is not necessarily better than the other. It's just what do you want? On the other hand, I think a lot of times people start out taking western lessons because it is more common in their area and (someone correct me if I'm wrong) the western saddle provides a more secure seat for a beginner. Then when it comes time to start buying your own equipment, etc you might decide you'd rather do english. Taking lessons is a good way to experience both styles without having to purchase all you own tack, and then you could decide which way to go.

"You learn a thing a day, you store up smart" - Festus Haggen

"A manís soul canít be hidden,
From the creatures in his care." -
Hard Candy Cowboy by Debra Meyer

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Advanced Rider

230 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2006 :  10:01:58 PM  Show Profile  Visit Budman's Homepage Send Budman a Private Message
Most "English" riding is on the "competitive" side: saddle seat equitation, hunter jumper, dressage, etc. While "Western" riding can be competitive: reining, roping, rodeo, and the like, most casual trail riders are Western.

JMHO, Budman
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Beginning Rider

105 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2006 :  10:57:46 PM  Show Profile  Visit elizNY's Homepage Send elizNY a Private Message
Most girls just love horses and don't care if it is english or western, and lots ride and show in both. The most important thing is that the facilities are safe, reasonably well kept, and that the instructor knows what they are doing. Just stay away from places that are chaotic, or look dangerous. See if you can watch a lesson and make sure the instructor is actually teaching, or if he/she just turns the kids loose. The lessons learned from a good instructor will stay with her even if she switches from one discipline to the other. A bad instructor is a waste of time and money and can be downright dangerous. A place does not have to be a pristine zillion dollar show barn to be good, but there should be no hazards around- no junk, tack, straps, ropes etc all over the floors for horses (and people) to step all over and get caught in, no debris and junkpiles on the grounds, stalls should look like they get cleaned on a regular basis, and there should be a minimum of yelling/screaming/tension/daredevil behavior etc etc. If you see kids riding around without helmets - go right on to the next barn on the list. You do not need to be a horse expert to see a disaster waiting to happen at some of these places!
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846 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2006 :  11:26:48 PM  Show Profile Send giddyupmorgan a Private Message
Let me start off by saying these are my thoughts and are not intended to offend anyone.

I have a girl thats 11yrs old and a boy thats 8. Morgan will ride anything you put a saddle on, any discipline any time. Matt says no more english for him, western will do.

I believe they have more fun and are more relaxed (hence no more english for Matt) at the western pleasure shows and speed events.

The others have given great advice and I'd like to welcome you to the DE forum. Hang around and ask all the questions you want. Chuck runs a top class operation here.

Keeping The Kids In a Saddle and Out of Trouble
"Holy Moly I'll Buy What They're Selling" LJD (Get A Little Mud On The Tires)

Morgan's riding log
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1630 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2006 :  02:11:26 AM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message
I would first ask her what she wants. Then I would look around and see what you can find. Some areas are very limiting in some styles. Find a safe place for her to learn, be it english or western.

I do have to disagree about english being more Comp. There are many pleasure riders that ride only english.
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559 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2006 :  09:13:29 AM  Show Profile Send Parrothead a Private Message
I like English. I like the look, the formality, the history, and nothing is prettier than a well executed dressage test.
If your not roping the only thing the horn is for, is so ya got a place to put the horn bag.
BUT I find that after 7 hours on the trail that an English saddle is just not that great for my horse or me,and most of my tack is starting to run to the western side. For what we do it's more user friendly.

doggirl it's has gladdened my heart to see you send your niece to horse camp and are willing to send her for lessons. Bless you.
Maybe talk with her about what she believes REAL riding to be. I know all she wants to do now is ANY riding, but down deep she has a preference.

Life is too short to ride bad horses.
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Red Hawk

5092 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2006 :  10:50:47 AM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
I teach both English (hunt seat style like what you see on a horse going over a jump) and Western. I usually ask my students which way they prefer, but if they don't have a preference, I usually start them out Western mainly because that's what I started with before becoming interested in English. Then if they would like to try English, I'm more than willing to teach them how.

Except for some slight differences in how you sit the saddle, there is really not much difference in the actual riding between the two when it comes to the basics that all beginners must know to be able to ride correctly. I can teach the rudiments of jumping, but I teach mainly on the flat (no jumps). I also do not teach for competition as much as I do for basic, everyday riding or trail riding... though I have had over 30 years experience in the show ring. Most of my students are beginners and haven't seen or experienced horse shows.

Like Parrothead, I trail ride more than anything else, and the western saddle is usually the more comfortable of the two for this type of riding. I've shown and have trained champions on the regional levels in both styles.

Everyone, so far, has given you excellent advice on how to pick a facility and instructor for your niece, and it's just plain wonderful that you are willing to do this for her. My mom did everything under the sun to discourage me from my love of horses, and if it wasn't for my step-mom bringing home that first pony, I would never have gotten the chance until I was out of high school. I'm now 54 and have spent 43 of those years with horses. Mom thought I'd outgrow it! How little did she know it'd be a lifetime affliction.

My best to you and your niece, and welcome to.

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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