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- The equipment varies greatly in English and western riding. You can expect a smaller, lighter saddle in the English world and a larger saddle when riding western. You’ll also notice one with a saddle horn and the other without. Sometimes, western saddles will have a more plush, comfortable seat.
- English riding tends to have a closer contact feel.
- Western riders usually have a lighter contact on the reins. Many times, the reins are held in one hand and the horse is neck reined.
- The disciplines are different. English consists of jumping, dressage, equitation, and hunter, while western can include barrel racing, pole bending, roping, trail riding, and reining.
- Both can be ridden on a competitive level with trophies, ribbons, and prize money.
- The terminology can vary from walk, trot, and canter to walk, jog, and lope in the western world.
- Western riders also wear different attire compared to English equestrians. You can expect a cowgirl hat, boots, spurs, and casual shirt/ jeans, instead of tall boots and breeches.
- Even the horses can vary. While many horses can successfully ride and compete in both, there are some breeds that dominate specific disciplines. Warmbloods are popular in the dressage and jumping show ring. Paints and Quarter Horses do very well in western pleasure and speed events.