Horseback riding is a very popular sport all over the world and has been for several hundreds of years. Two of the most popular styles of riding are Western and English. Even though, both of these styles have the same basic principles and in the end are both horseback riding they have many distinct differences. Gaits/Commands
Western riding is slower paced type of horseback riding. Western horses are trained to move at a slow leisurely pace and look like a pleasure to ride. A rider would use the terms walk, Jog and Lope to command the horse. A jog is slow two beated gait that would be used to move at a steady pace. A western rider will sit the jog and absorb the bounce in their feet and ankles. A lope is a little bit quicker than a jog and is three beated. A lope is used to cover large distances or to move more quickly when needed.
English riding a quick pace type of riding. English horses are trained to move quickly and with precision. A rider would use the terms walk, trot and canter to command the horse through different gaits. A trot is a quick paced, bounce gait that is used to cover short distances. English riders will also complete a movement called posting while their horses is trotting. Posting is the act of lifting yourself out of the saddle as the horse trots. This movement is used in order to make the trot more comfortable for both the horse and rider. A canter is a fast paced three beated gait that is used to cover large distances. A rider would sit the canter and use their hips and back to absorb any movement or shock.
In Western riding steering is considered “indirect”. This means that the pressure is not directly applied to the horse’s mouth. Western riders use one hand to steer their horse. A rider will apply pressure to the side of the horse’s neck by pulling the reins across the neck in a diagonal fashion. Indirect steering also means that in order to get the horse to turn one direction a...