Horse riding is a competitive sport that is played in almost all parts of the world. Some people play it for leisure whereas some people play it as a sport. There are also many special events related to horse riding such as horse riding tournaments and competitions.
There are many different types of horse riding all around the world. But, there are two types that are most famous. These are Western riding and English riding.
If you are new to the horse riding world, you might have heard the terms “western riding” and English riding”. There are many similarities and differences between both styles of riding. In this blog post, I’ll share what is the difference between Western and English riding.
Western Horseback Riding
Western saddles are basically working saddles. They were designed as per the needs of western cowboys who used to spend most of their time is in the saddle. This is why western horse saddles were designed to keep the comfort of cowboys in mind.
How are western saddles more comfortable? Basically, the weight of the horse rider is distributed evenly on the back of a horse by using a western saddle. Western saddles are suitable for long horse rides.
The horn is one of the most dominant features of western saddles. The horn is an equipment that is used by the Cowboys to wrap their rope while performing different tasks such as catching cattle, tying or dragging something etc. The horn is located in front of the saddle. The Western saddle also comes with an option to attach stirrups.
The size of a western saddle is also considerably larger than that of an English saddle. The Western saddle is also heavier as compared to an English saddle and it provides stability to the rider. There are many different types of western saddles available in the market and you can choose any type that you want.
Another main feature of western riding is the number of different bits that are used in it. Some of the common bits that are used in western riding are snaffle bit, curb bit and hackamores bits.
The reigns used in western riding are also split and generally, one hand is used to hold them. Neck reign is used by the rider to control the movements of a horse.
Let’s talk about the attire of western horse riders. The most important part of their attire that makes them look distinctive is their western hat. It is a traditional hat that has been worn by cowboys since ages.
Other elements of their attire include jeans, western style boots, and a shirt. Some western riders also wear a helmet.
English Horseback Riding
The second famous type of horseback riding is English riding. This riding style is famous in most parts of the world. It can be said that it is the most popular riding style. The basic feature of an English riding is the presence of a flat saddle.
There is no deep seat in English saddle. As compared to western saddles, English saddles also lack a horn. The size of an English saddle is small as compared to a western saddle. English saddle is also lighter in weight.
The amount of leather between a horse and a horse rider is less in English riding. This feature gives you more freedom and mobility and also allows you to have the proper posture. In English riding, horse riders hold reigns by using both hands.
There are some specific types of bits used in English riding. These bits are known as Pelham bit and Weymouth bridle. English bits usually two sets of reins. Riders usually have a closer contact with their horse in English riding.
In English horseback riding, the rider has the ability to communicate more with a horse because he has one reign in each hand as compared to western riding in which the rider can communicate less with his horse because both reigns are held in one hand.
English saddles and bridles also come in different styles and you can choose the equipment as per your desire.
Horses that are used for English riding are generally tall and have long legs. They are suitable for jumping and for covering long distances quickly. As far as the attire of English riders are concerned, the wear a traditional hunt cap that is also known as a helmet.
They also wear fitted jackets, tall boots, and a shirt.
In short, the basic difference between western and English riding is the difference in the equipment used in both styles. Apart from equipment, there is also a little bit difference in the attire, horses and riding styles of the riders.
Here is a quick video on English VS Western riding styles:
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