This article is about the differences of three particular styles of riding.
The first there is English. I rode English for eight years and learned quite a bit. The English form of riding is more stiff and proper; it is one of the more formal types of riding, in my opinion. The thing that catches most people’s eye about English is the jumping. English has the oxers, triples, verticals, crossbars, and doubles, you name it. English basically consists of a flat course where you and your horse move in harmony at different gaits and where you and your horse move in harmony over a series of jumps. The con is that the people generally tend to be more uptight but once you learn how to deal with the unkind and make friends in the general riding community, you are usually headed in the right direction. I love English riding; personally, the thrill of going over a three-foot jump on a 1200-pound animal is amazing. When you are over the jump it is almost like time stops. Jumping really showed me how much I had to be appreciative and thankful for.
Next, there is Western. Western is like taking the summary of English that I just wrote and doing exactly the opposite. In Western, you slouch over in your seat, more like a roll of your hips forwards, and then have your fingers loosely holding your reins. Western has the rodeos and the trail classes where you can go over some minor to complex obstacles and maneuver around items of the judge’s choice. It also consists of the Western Pleasure which is basically the English flat courses but the horses move at a much slower pace and the position of the rider is different. I rode Western for about 2 years; I am still trying to learn. When you ride Western, most people think of rodeos. Rodeos are one of the main draws to western and innumerable amounts of people participate in it for the barrel racing. Western people are generally more laid back and easy going. In Western, everything has this particular feel to it, every laid back and easy-going movement has a particular way of happening. The movements have to be fluid but rugged, and the attire is laid back but particular.
Finally, there is dressage. Dressage is definitely more uptight than English. The movements must be stiff but fluid, and the attire is very stiff and flat, and by flat I mean very ironed and matted. Dressage is where the rider and horse move from one cone to another and do a series of complex movements. The people in dressage tend to very competitive.
I hope that this helped you solve a question or satisfy your curiosity about different styles of writing. If you have any further questions, just put them in the comments and I will answer them as soon as I can! Have a great night, or day, depending on your time zone!
Photo courtesy of Flickr by Gary Graves.