Difference Between English and Western Riding

Horse riding is a popular sport and hobby across the world in today’s time. However, it is essential to know the different styles and methods of riding, before delving into the field. English and Western riding are two different styles of riding that can be chosen according to preference by the rider.

English vs Western Riding

The main difference between English and Western riding is that in the case of English riding, the rider uses both of his hands to hold the reign and handle the speed and direction of the horse whereas, in the case of Western riding, the rider uses only one hand to do so, while the other hand remains free.

Englis vs Westen Riding

English riding is a discipline of horse riding that requires the rider to use both his hands to manage the horse. Here, a flat English saddle is used on the horse, which does not have a deep curvature for comfort. Moreover, there is no cantle or saddle horn present on it.

Meanwhile, Western riding is another discipline of horse riding that requires the rider to use only one hand to manage the horse. The other hand remains free and can be placed on the thigh. In some cases, it is used to hold a lariat. The saddle in the case of western riding has a deep curvature which facilitates safety and comfort.

Comparison Table Between English and Western Riding

Parameters of ComparisonEnglish RidingWestern Riding
HandsThe rider uses both hands.The rider uses only one hand.
SaddleThe saddle is small, light, and does not have a curvature.The saddle is relatively larger, heavier, and features a deep curvature.
ReignThe horses have reigns in their mouth.The horses have reigns on their neck.
AccessoriesIt does not use a cantle and saddle horn.It uses a cantle and saddle horn.
Rider’s AttireIt features a hat, cap, or helmet along with a jacket, leggings, and boots.It features jeans, boots, a cowboy hat, a long-sleeved shirt, and chaps.

What is English Riding?

English riding is a specific disciple of horse riding that has specific characteristics. It is known to have originated in 700,000 BC Suffolk. Later, it extensively evolved throughout 500,000 BC in West Sussex. Ancient British armies were known to use this discipline of horse riding.

In this style of riding, the rider is supposed to use both hands to control the horse. The reigns, using which this is done, are placed in the horse’s mouth. Due to this, the rider needs to tug harder on the reign for giving instructions, as compared to other riding styles.

Another characteristic of English riding is that the saddle is a flat English one. This means that it does not have a deep curvature for safety and comfort. It does not feature a cantle or a saddle horn as well. This is because English riding was meant to be used in tough and rugged conditions. In such a situation, it is not practical to have a large and heavy saddle.

The attire of English riders is also predetermined. This includes a jacket, leggings, and boots. The rider is also required to wear a hat, cap, or helmet. This attire is even used today in British armies.

What is Western Riding?

Western riding is another style of horse riding that is very different than English riding. Firstly, this style is known to be brought into America by Spanish conquistadors. It was then used extensively by cowboys for work.

The riding style also uses different equipment and accessories as compared to English riding. Firstly, the rider is supposed to hold the reign with only one hand. Meanwhile, the other hand is free. It can be placed on the thigh of the rider or can be swung in the air. The choice is of the rider.

The saddle in the case of western riding has a deep curvature which facilitates safety and comfort. It features a cantle and saddle horn as well. This is due to the reason that cowboys generally worked for long hours during the day. They also had to travel a lot and sometimes even use lassos while riding. Therefore, the comfort and security of the rider were taken into consideration.

The attire of the Western riders is different from English riders as well. It features denim jeans and a jacket, a long-sleeved work shirt, a cowboy hat, and boots. A pair of leggings were also worn beneath the denim so that riding would not cause any rashes.

Main Differences Between English and Western Riding

  1. English riding requires the rider to use both hands whereas, in Western riding, the rider uses only one hand.
  2. In English riding, the saddle is small, light, and does not have a curvature whereas, in Western riding, the saddle is relatively larger, heavier, and features a deep curvature.
  3. In English riding, the horses have reigns in their mouths whereas, in Western riding, the horses have reigns on their necks.
  4. In English riding, there is no cantle or saddle horn where Western riding features a cantle and saddle horn.
  5. The attire of English riders is a hat, cap, or helmet along with a jacket, leggings, and boots whereas the attire of Western riders is jeans, boots, a cowboy hat, a long-sleeved shirt, and chaps.

Conclusion

English and Western riding are two styles of horse riding that are very different from each other. Firstly, in English riding, the rider uses both hands to tug on the reign, which is placed inside the mouth of the horse. Meanwhile, in Western riding, the rider uses only one hand to tug on the reign while the other remains free. Moreover, the reign is placed on the neck of the horse.

Another major difference between the two is that in English riding, a flat English saddle is used whereas, pin Western riding, a saddle with a deep curvature is used for more security.

References

  1. https://journals.co.za/doi/abs/10.10520/EJC14074
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1558787821000034
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