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Does Changing Disciplines Change Your Riding?

Will you ride differently in English or Western tack? Is one preferable over the other? If you’re a western rider, can you still apply the advice given to (or by) a rider sitting in a jumping saddle?

I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy riding in a variety of disciplines. My first formal lessons as a kid were in Western tack, then with my first horse I spent a lot of time bareback. Next I wanted to learn to jump so I got an old Stubben and rode in that for many years. I also spent many hours in an endurance saddle out on the trails, and even tried out a few Australian saddles.

My favorite part of riding is the interaction with the horse, whether I’m jumping fences, practicing the strengthening movements of dressage, conditioning on the trail, or trying (not very successfully) to catch a cow with a rope.

The saddle you sit in will affect your riding, it may tip you forward or back, or position your leg too far forward. A saddle can help your riding or hinder it.

Also, your position will change if you’re going around a jump course vs. ambling down a trail. However, the principles of good posture, body alignment, and movement do not change. They remain the same regardless of the tack.

In this video, we are going to observe the same rider in a western then an english saddle, to see what changes and what remains constant.

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