Sunday, March 27, 2011

English vs. Western

"Pictures of the Grand Teton's my daughter took last week on a ski trip"

" Elk Herd"
" Eagle "
" Big Horn Sheep hanging out by the side of the road"
" Beautiful Scenery "
I’ve been considering a vacation this summer to a ‘dude ranch’ in Wyoming for my birthday.  This ranch is located near the Grand Tetons and the scenery is absolutely gorgeous. Viewing the landscape from the back of a horse meandering along the trails would be my preferred mode of transportation. That said, I seem to have a problem: I can’t ride in a Western saddle to save my life.  Put me on a horse with an English saddle and (knock wood) I can usually stay on even during  a buck or over jumps.  But put me on a horse with a Western saddle and I’m like Raggedy Ann, flopping all over the place.

I did some research on the difference between English and Western riding principles at   This article was a little helpful, but it only reinforced what I already knew about the basics of Western riding.  As I said, my problem is figuring how to ride securely and not slip around in the saddle.

You are probably wondering where I’m going with this post so here it is:

How do Western riders adjust your stirrups?  Do the stirrups hit your ankles, or is your leg straight out in front of you as I’ve often seen?  Do you sit in the middle of the saddle or brace against the cantle?  Do you post the trot or just go with a sitting trot at the jog? 

I think I get the one hand-neck reining and only hope I can try not to steer with both hands.

What sort of clothing is appropriate?  Jeans and half chaps?  Full chaps?  Would Blundstone paddock boots be safe in the western stirrup, etc…?  I have a western style helmet, so I’ve got my head covered, literally. 

Before I decide whether or not I want to take this trip and trail ride in a western saddle, I’d appreciate any helpful tips from my Western-riding friends on how to stay secure in the saddle. And of course how not look like a complete greenhorn from the East.

Until next time
Quote for Today
If you don't know where you're going, the horse will decide for you.

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