In Europe, America, Asia or any other part of the world, horse riding is a favourite sport, a pastime and, in some places, an essential means of occupation. However, riding a horse does not mean simply sitting on its back and holding the reins, as there is more to it. It is a science and art and involves specific methods and styles. There are many horse riding styles, but the Western and English classes are more predominant and prevalent.

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If you are a beginner and have just started learning horse riding, then it is natural that you will be curious to know the differences between the two styles of riding a horse. You will be glad to know that one specific type is easier to learn. However, the fundamentals of riding are very much similar for both English and Western riding styles.

Apart from that, you must also know that whichever style you choose, it takes time and a lot of practice to become very proficient in either of these styles. It needs dedication, commitment and passion for whatever training lessons you wish to take.

Difference In Equipment

While talking about different styles of horse riding in NYC, it is best to start with the equipment first.

The Western style of riding developed due to the need for cowboys to control the cattle from horseback. That is why the Western-style saddle is designed to distribute the rider's weight more evenly over the horse's back. This enables an easy counterbalance in the importance of a cow roped in. Moreover, the western seat is made for long riding and therefore is more comfortable even while riding over rough terrain. Other features of the style of the west include:

  • The saddle horn anchors a lariat while roping cattle
  • The saddle strings are used to tie up different types of gear for the working cowboy to use
  • Modern saddle styles are designed to help in speed games, roping, equitation and other sports. 

On the other hand, English riding styles use traditional equipment mainly adapted from the European-mounted military force. The features include:

  • A smaller and lighter saddle
  • Unlike the western saddle, the variations are limited
  • These saddles are designed for more specific disciplines
  • These saddles are certainly only some-purpose ones.

It is specially designed to not interfere with the horse's movement yet provides a safe and secure seat for the rider.

Difference In Type Of Horse

Apart from the difference in equipment, there is a significant difference in the type of horses for the western and English styles of horse riding.

Western horses are more compact and, therefore, more capable of steady travel for a long time, sometimes even throughout the day. These horses can also have small and sudden bursts of speed if the rider wants to chase stray cattle.

Horses used in the English style are taller and leggy. This helps the horses to travel over a long distance at different speeds. It also allows the horses to jump over any obstacle that may come their way.

Difference In Gait

Western horse riding NYC and English style also significantly differ in the horse's gait. There will be variations in its speed, collection and cadence. Usually, an English horse will have a specific way of moving in a long flowing way.
  • A jog in western riding is usually very smooth and relaxed. It is faster than walking. This is generally used when the cowboy follows the herds of cattle. Riders typically sit on a jog and do not post. On the other hand, a western horse will be low, consistent and smooth. 
  • In English riding, a trot is usually posted unless a sitting trot is required. When a faster trot is needed in western style, it is posted at two points.
  • Lope in the Western style resembles a relaxed canter. In contrast, the English technique involves an extended and elevated lope with different speed variations that depend on the discipline followed. 

Attire And Other Basics

However, the most significant difference is in the attire of the two riding styles. The most essential and signature element in western riding is the traditional hat, jeans, a comfortable shirt and western style boots. Few western riders may even wear sporty helmets when showing.

On the other hand, English riders wear traditional hunt caps or helmets, well-fitted jackets, breeches, shirts and tall boots.

There is also a noticeable difference in the basics and riding disciplines. The western riders learn the ways to neck. Meanwhile, the English riders hold the reins in each hand while posting the trot. There are also differences in braiding the mane, pulling a tail and other grooming methods depending on your needs.

Riding DisciplinesAnd Sports

There are several different sports you can try depending on your riding style. As for the western style, you may compete in cutting, team penning, speed games, reining, trail classes, roping, and trail riding, apart from pleasure and equitation classes.

As for the English style, you may compete in dressage, jumping, English country pleasure, hunting, mounted games, hunter pace, and polo.

A few sports can be played irrespective of the style of horse riding you follow. These sports include trail riding, competitive trail riding, endurance racing, and competitive mounted orienteering.

Which Is Easier

As a learner, you may tend to think now which horse riding style will be more accessible for you to master. For a few specific factors, the western style is much easier than the English style of horse riding. The primary reason is the larger and broader saddle that ensures more safety and security for any novice.

In English riding, you are taught how to post to the trot, where the horse springs from one diagonal pair of legs.

However, if you start with English, you can quickly adapt to the western style, while that must be said differently.