English or Western riding, which is harder?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Campine Lover, May 14, 2010.

  1. Campine Lover

    Campine Lover Songster

    Mar 7, 2010
    Moss Beach, CA
    Personally, I think the English style is harder and more complex. I prefer English, but like the freedom of Western, too. I think English teaches more care for the horse, BUT DON'T COMMENT ON THAT! I've just grown up with horses around western people and they were very mean to their horses, so I can't help but think that. My personal expirience, my personal thought. I have met some good western people though. So, what do you think, which one is harder?
    Last edited: May 14, 2010
  2. iajewel

    iajewel Songster

    Oct 22, 2008
    Corning IA
    I think more people that just sit and go along for the ride tend to ride wester ( think trail riding) However if you are chasing a cow or trying to rope something other then your kids, western isn't always that easy. There are as many styles of English seat as thier are Western. Western Pleasure, reining, cutting and the list, style of saddle and way of riding goes on and on, just like it does in English, Classical and modern dressage, Saddle seat, side saddle, hunt seat, eventing and so on. I think the degree of difficulty is not in the saddle you choose but in the horse you pick and what you wish to try and get out of him.
  3. babyblue

    babyblue Songster

    Sep 23, 2009
    each style has different uses and types of work. however both should strive for a well balanced, centered, relaxed horse in a good frame. the same complexitys that make a good western horse make a good english horse. there are stupid yahoos that own horses....yup. the type of saddle does NOT change the attitude of the rider or the care of the horse thats all up to the particular person sitting in it.

    my qh gelding does english, western, jumps, drives, trail rides, rounds up stock and is the perfect lesson horse for my and my sisters tiny children. he is pampered, spoiled and the best health care possible given to him. a saddle is just a saddle. the owner is untimatly the one who makes the horse what he is.
  4. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    For a beginner just lounging around or trail riding english is probably harder. A western saddle does take away some of the need to use your own balance. However a western saddle was designed that way because very few people would stay on a cow, reining, or barrel horse with an english saddle. It's too difficult to sit a horse moving like that so in competition or with working animals the difficulty is equal.

    If you find english riders take better care of their horses you are hanging out with the wrong western riders.
    Last edited: May 15, 2010
  5. rodriguezpoultry

    rodriguezpoultry Langshan Lover

    Jan 4, 2009
    Claremore, OK
    I must agree, I have seen English owners do everything but take care of their horses. Several are more worried about their saddles and how they look than how it fits on the horse. To me, English should be the synchronization of a human and a horse, wound together. It's like a heartbeat, it should just "flow". If it's forced the English style is ruined, but once the horse and human rider become one, it's magical to watch. You can literally see the life flow at the connection. I find English VERY hard. My knees are awful and hurt badly when I do English. Needless to say, I haven't done it in awhile but would like to try again some day. Plus, the absence of the horn scares me when I'm on green horses...

    In western, the saddle is made for comfort and durability. Cowboys would not have been able to ride 14+ hours on a saddle where constant balance and rhythm are needed. The western style of riding is more of a partnership riding. Instead of the horse and rider becoming one, they think together. The horse has his idea of something, and so does the rider. I much prefer western riding because I feel like a partnership. I feel like he and I are working out something together on an issue. Without the western saddle, I may be too caught up in the rhythm to notice small details in where I am, how he's feeling...etc.

    Edit: I don't think any one riding style is better than another. They are all different in some way. There are always issues in each riding style, always someone who does something that is not appropriate and is simply deplorable.
    Last edited: May 15, 2010
  6. When I used to ride, several years ago, I rode english.
  7. Barngirl1111

    Barngirl1111 In the Brooder

    Jun 24, 2015
    I think western is harder because you normally do it one handed.
  8. Bare back is even better. Of course I trust my horse......
  9. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    It really depends on the type of riding a person is doing. It's so much more complex than just "English" or just "western".

    I would say that reining and dressage are fairly similar in complexity. In fact, I once watch a cool video where a dressage rider and a reiner switched horses. You could see they both struggled a bit when they were out of their element!

    Western horsemanship can certainly be very complex. As can English (I'm not as familiar with the classes for English as I mostly showed western as a kid). Leisurely trail can be pretty easy in a western saddle but I've also ridden some crazy trails in a western saddle which was not that easy.

    Jumping, penning, team roping, and speed classes are also pretty difficult. It's also not easy to do speed classes in an English saddle!
  10. MaggieRae

    MaggieRae Songster

    Apr 12, 2009
    North Texas
    As a rider of both disciplines, I find that they are equally difficult in different ways. But this is an age-old discussion... english vs. western.

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