When it comes to horseback back riding, there’s a common misconception that there is an age-old conflict, western vs. English horse riding. Many people believe that one has to be inherently better than the other, but that’s simply not true. However, there are clear benefits to the English horse riding style, the go-to equestrian style globally for horse riding competitions.
The biggest difference between western and English horse riding is in the equipment. The English horse riding saddle is by design a smaller, flat saddle that is meant to encourage closer contact with the horse and greater control. The western saddle is larger, and set back, meant for days-long treks through terrain in a more comfortable saddle that disperses the weight of the rider more evenly across the horse’s back.
In addition to saddle size, the main difference in English horse riding is the use of the horse’s mouth in controlling or steering the horse via the reins and bit. In contrast, a Western horse riding style relies very little, if at all, on the contact of the mouth, and the reins are more of a gentle aid to the horse.
At Legacy Saddlebreds LLC, we offer English horse riding in our Winston-Salem, North Carolina facility and provide lessons for beginners and intermediate riders who are looking for a closer connection and control over the horse, needed for more complicated maneuvers. English horse riding offers a competitive edge for our riders who want to take their riding to the next level, even to the national and global stage.