Girls Horse Club Blog

From the West to the East

Published by • Jul 30th, 2009 • Category: Riding Advice

by HorseFeathers, age 16

Dear Readers,

Recently I’ve tried my hand at English riding for the first time. Let me say this, I have a deep respect for the people who take up this style. To me, it is a lot trickier than Western riding and requires much more balance.

I was at my elderly friend’s house, and she was teaching me how to set up the English tack on her beautiful horse Izzy. After brushing out her flee-bitten gray coat (that’s the coloration) I put her front leg guards on to protect them from chafing or getting scratched up. Anywho, I then put on her bridle and light saddle, both of which had more pieces than the Western tack.

Finally we made it into the outdoor arena. It had rained recently on the land so we needed to be a little careful. Since I have long legs I had to adjust the stirrups to my length. My instructor says the easiest way to do this is to measure it from your finger tips to about your arm pit. Finally on Izzy, I automatically straightened my back; aligned and relaxed but not too stiff. With a lead rein in her hand, my instructor started giving me pointers — keep my knees bent and my heels down, move with the horse not against her. Well we finally got through a walk and started on a trot. This was a bit trickier for me with the English riding and I still need to prefect it.

On the trot, I had to stand in the saddle. Shoulders back, and belt (your middle) outwards toward the horse. I went in a kind of rhythm “1 and 2 and 1 and 2”. She said to kind of stand when Izzy’s left leg went out and sit down when her right went out. Well this went fairly well for the first few times until Izzy decided she wanted to be a little playful, if you want to call it that. All of a sudden, she bucked up her rear end and sent me flying to the ground; which was sand and gravel. I didn’t land too hard but I can say my backside will be sore a few days. After that episode my instructor said, “Get back on the horse that threw you.” I took this seriously because if a person if too scared to get back on the first time, they’ll never have the confidence to do it again. So I set her a few paces at a walk and then we called it a day.

Afterward, I brushed her down and then we had fun in the backyard with the hose. It was pretty humid out so I think Izzy enjoyed it. Probably her favorite part was standing on the hose so I couldn’t get her wet and then sending a jet of water all over me. After we both cooled down, I gave her some molasses oatmeal cookies I baked, along with the other horses who crowded around.

Overall, I would say my first experience with English riding was a champion one, and I cannot wait to do it again. I encourage everyone to try something new every day.

All the very best.


20 Nickers »

  1. That sounds like a painful but fun experience :) I’m glad that it turned out as it did, although that fall seems like it aches. I hope you won’t be too sore. Congrats on your first English ride, and good luck for the future!

  2. lol lol lol lol lol!

  3. I’m an english rider!!! Even though I ride with a western bridle (with an english snaffle) and a western bareback pad. I’m very colourul when I line up next to my freiends! Good luck with your future english training.

  4. Yay for your first English ride! You know what will help improve your balance and position? Leg strength exercises that will beef up your calves and tighten your thighs. When you ride English, your thighs are what balance and support you, not your seat, like in western. If you want to improve your heels too, go find a curb or a low step and stand on it so that your toes are pointing up and you feel a pull in the back of your leg. :)

    I hope you get the chance to ride English again. Fantastic blog!

  5. Yay for trying English! It’s the type of riding I do. I always wanted to try Western, and I love watching the barrels, poles, bowtie, and key hole. I hope to learn all those one day.


  6. I’ve only ridden Western and plan to barrel race if nothing stops me,but English sounds fun. Hope your back doesn’t hurt long.

    Fact is my 4-H rides English and I should learn to ride English so I can trail ride with them some time. Looks like my muscles would be sore! Love your blog!!!♥ ♥ ♥

  7. I’ve been riding English, and I can tell it would be hard for a Western rider to change. You need wayyyy more contact with the reins. I can see how you would be sore, try it with no stirrups walking, trotting, cantering, and jumping! That would strengthen your legs.

  8. Congrats on your first English ride!

    I ride English…I would recommend doing exercises to strengthen your legs if you want to keep riding English.

  9. Thanks mates! I will def try some leg and back exersises. Actualy my instructor said to practice on a saw horse. lol I have a “stability ball” that I work with with. Thanks for the comments

  10. At my stables, I ride Western and English, but I prefer English! I think I like it better because you feel closer to your horse. Good luck with your English riding, HF!

  11. sorry you got thrown but an eglish saddle gives you a better connection to your horse. it also gives you much more use of your legs. i hope you give it another try!

  12. I got my second english riding lesson! Im getting better at it i think.. this time Izzy didnt throw me. The last time that she did was because her brother henry was callin her from the stables so she blinkin well decided she was finished. lol My instructor had me in the saddle with out stirrups and holding my arms out to get balence and find my seating. This is still new to me and its like learning to trot all over again. =0) I admire all you english riders!!

  13. HorseFeathers: Trotting without stirrups is one of those hard obstacles in learning to ride, but I admit it does help you a lot. I love posting without stirrups, it’s useful as well although it kills your leg muscles. Great to hear you weren’t thrown, and I wish you the best of luck for your English riding!

  14. I have been riding english for about eight years now, but i have tried western many times before. I have the biggest amout of respect possable for all you western riders, because i just can’t help sitting up straight and using shorter sturrips and using plow reigining instead of neck reigning and all that junk. My horse Titian — he’s actually a pitch-black stallion that i bought two years ago — can’t neck reign, so…really I couldn’t do western very well even if i tried. But good luck horsefeathers riding english and just ask if you need any pointers!

  15. Well it’s always good to improve yourself!! (as a rider and a person)

  16. i dont get it ?wats the difference between western riding and english???however i know wat bareback is!=3 i prefer bareback 4 a horse 2 take of the weight and 2 let feel cool,wish i cood try both i luv challenges especially running with a horse or by myself

  17. and another thing riding lessons sound tricky and nervousing!first of all 4 me its how other girls c me as by juding,which is y i hate that,despite the fact im a loner,cuz i c it as 5 against 1;i think i got carried away,botomline sounds prety fustrating,if u managed 2stay in this riding lessons that tells me your ambitious and not a quitter,which is very good keep trying! :-)

  18. everybody i just thought of something!wat if leadmare can make a press for GHC news A.K.A=journalist or photographers!

  19. A couple days ago i threw my western saddle up on Titian to try my hand at western once more. I started in the round pen, using mostly my legs to cue him through his routine. When i was done with walk/trot, I rounded one of the corners and signaled him with a small tap of the heels and let up on the reigns to canter. He went into that flowing canter of his that i adore; then i remembered that i was riding western. I slowed his canter so that it was almost as slow as s trot; i now had a lope going instead of an upbeat canter. I brought him down to a trot/jog and then a walk. I dismounted after cooling him off and realized that even though Titian couldn’t do everything, he could do most things and always tried his best to please me. So, as i was grooming him and putting him back in his stall to cool off, i made sure to give him an extra treat or two and give him a few kisses on the nose to remind him that no matter what, he was the best horse ever.


  20. Jadetmcg- im not sure what you getting at… like a literal hard cover edition publcation of GHC poems and stories? If so i think that would kind of be difficult considering Leadmare has to continuely publish stories and ect on the site alone. Is that what your talking about?