Horse talk is a competitive sports that is exercised in nearly all components of the world. Due to the fact that of its global reach, several unique styles the riding have actually emerged. Among them are Western and also English riding. And also a question we gain all the time below at Equestrian Boots and Bridles is “what is the difference between Western and English riding?”

Western and English are more than likely the most famous riding styles. Lock hail from north America (putting the ‘West’ in ‘Western’!) and England / Europe respectively, however both layouts are now ridden all over the world.

Let me begin by saying there room actually lot of of similarities between these formats of riding. However, right here I’ll share with you the an essential difference between Western and also English riding.

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Western Horseback RidingEnglish Horseback Riding

Western Horseback Riding

The many distinctive attribute of Western equine riding is the saddle. West saddles are basically functioning saddles. They to be designed to fulfill the needs of western cowboys, who used to spend most of their time is in the saddle. This is why Western steed saddles to be designed with comfort in mind.

How room Western saddles more comfortable? Basically, the weight of the horse rider is spread evenly ~ above the ago of a steed by using a west saddle. West saddles are suitable for long trail rides that have the right to span countless hours, or even days.

The horn is just one of the most leading features the a western saddle. The horn is a feature of the saddle that was used by cowboys to wrap their rope around. This rope would certainly be use to catch cattle, tie them up, or even drag things where necessary. The horn is situated in prior of the saddle. The western saddle likewise comes through an alternative to connect stirrups.


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The size of a west saddle is additionally considerably bigger than the of an English saddle. The western saddle is additionally heavier as contrasted to one English saddle, which offers greater security to the rider.

Another main function of western riding is the number of different bits the are provided in it. Few of the usual bits the are used in western riding space snaffle bits, curb bits and also hackamores bits.

The reins offered in western riding room split, and also generally you would only use one hand to host them. Neck reining is provided by the driver to manage the movements of a horse.

If she thinking about trying west riding, have a look in ~ my height 10 west Horseback talk Tips because that Beginners!

Western Horses

A big part of western riding is the long trail rides the cowboys would certainly do. For this reason the horses associated in west riding space usually sturdy and compact, capable of covering large distances.

That said, western horses additionally need to be able to put top top a explode of rate here and there for herding. The American Quarter horse is one that has actually been bred especially for that purpose.


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Some equines were specifically bred for Western format riding, however really nowadays most horses will have the ability to do lot of of west work, and also find miscellaneous they have the right to excel in – no issue their breed.

Western Gaits

There room three gaits commonly used in western riding. Native slowest come fastest lock are:

Walk. over there is no difference between Western and English riding because that this one: a go is a walk!Jog. A jog is a smooth gait, much faster than a walk, and used come herd cattle.Lope. A lope is much faster again than a jog, however is tho a reasonably relaxed and smooth pace.

Western Competitions

Within western riding over there are fairly a couple of sub-disciplines you deserve to try, each v their very own competition. This most generally include:

Western Pleasure. This entails walking, jogging and loping your steed with other horses about an arena.Reining. This is regularly thought of together the dressage (see listed below in English competitions) the the west world. It requires riders to do a set of manoeuvres, including stops, spins and also circles.Rodeo. This is what anyone thinks of once they think of west riding. Rodeo is actually thought of as its own kind of competition, through plenty the individual occasions you can compete in, including roping, barrel racing and rough share riding.

Western Attire

Let’s talk around the attire of western equine riders. This is an additional highly distinctive attribute of the style. I think that the most important component of your attire the is the Western cap or Cowboy hat.

Other elements of your attire include jeans, Western format boots, and a shirt. Part Western riders additionally wear a helmet, which is something I very recommend.



Generally west outfits will be full of colour and personality, all while preserving that cowboy-style look. For more information on what come wear as soon as you’re talk Western, have actually a look at my guide to the different attires that match different styles, and also scroll come the west section!

English Horseback Riding

So then, on come English equine riding. I would certainly say that it is the most popular riding style.

The an easy feature of English speak is the level saddle. Over there is no deep seat in an English saddle. As contrasted to west saddles, English saddles additionally lack a horn. The dimension of one English saddle is small, and it’s really light as contrasted to a western saddle.

All of this English saddle features give you an ext freedom and also mobility, and also also readjust your posture. The smaller sized size and shallower seat allow you come respond appropriately when your equine jumps (in hunter / jumper and eventing disciplines) and bend down (in polo).

Additionally, in English riding, riders host their reins utilizing both hands.

There space some specific types of bits offered in English riding. These bits are known as the Pelham bit and also the Weymouth bridle. English bits commonly use two sets that reins. Every one of this method that riders have more contact v their horse in English riding.


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I uncover that in English riding, ankle mobility is at sight important. Have actually a review of my tips on keeping your heels under here!

English Horses

Horses that are provided for English speak are normally tall and also have lengthy legs. They are perfect for jumping and for extending long ranges quickly.

A great example the this kind of horse is the thoroughbred.


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It is precious noting though that a variety of horse breeds are really versatile, and can journey both English and also Western with ease. Breeds like Clydesdales, American repaint Horses and also Morgans are just a couple of examples.

English Gaits

The gaits used in English space actually very comparable to the western ones explained above. Really, the difference between Western and English riding gaits is just the name:

Walk. Again, there’s no difference in between Western and English riding top top this one. This is the slowest gait.Trot. A trot is the identical to the western jog. However, a trot can be a little faster, and the driver will typically post; i.e. Rise up and down with the horse’s gait.Canter. This is the more quickly gait in English riding, and also is the equivalent to the lope.

English Competitions

The varieties of English competitions you could have accessibility to will differ relying on where you room in the world. Because that example, in Australia there’s a competition referred to as ‘campdrafting’ which involves herding (usually associated with west riding) but using one English saddle. Right here are few of the an ext common competitions, hosted the people over:

Dressage. Dressage actually way “training”, when analyzed from French come English. In competition, the equine must demonstrate quiet and also calm obedience while performing a series of manoeuvres. Racing. Most equine races fall extensively within the English discipline, due to the fact that of the tack used. That knew!Polo. A team sports (one the the earliest in the world!) where players usage a long handled mallet come hit a round through the opposing team goal, all while mounted.Show Jumping. This is a time jumping event, wherein participants space scored on how conveniently they finish the jumps in the course, and how countless (if any) castle knock down.Eventing. Eventing is a combination of dressage, cross country jumping and show jumping i beg your pardon is hosted over 3 days.

English talk Attire

English attire is generally much more formal than Western attire. Its colour palette has tendency to favour monochrome and also neutral tones.

Critically, in English you should be attract a helmet, or on rare occasions a top Hat. You would also wear a equipment jacket, tall boots, a shirt and also breeches.


There are various other optional pieces you can add to her look like gloves.

If she interested, have a look in ~ my guide to talk attire, and scroll v the different English sections.

Conclusion: The Difference in between Western and English Riding

In short, the straightforward difference between Western and English riding is the difference in the equipment they implement. In mine view, that the English vs western saddle that really distinguishes them.

Apart indigenous the equipment, there is additionally a tiny bit difference in the attire, the each other of horses and also the basic physical formats of the riders.


If she interested in learning around my choices on the difference between Western and also English riding, I composed a entirety post about which one is mine favourite the you can inspect out.

I would additionally highly recommend having a look at the Rider’s Gear and Apparel web page if you desire to know an ext about what’s required for each of the various competitions i talked around in this post.

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Finally, if did you do it still got an ext questions about the difference in between Western and also English speak styles, feel free to ask me listed below in the comments! i love hearing indigenous you.

Happy riding!

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