Different styles of horseback ridingSunday September 21
Horseback riding when you are on vacation can be a fun and exciting way to experience the great outdoors up close and personal. You actually get to experience the trail, the trail dust, an learn a little bit about horseback riding itself. Did you know, however, that there are many different disciplines of horseback riding and even different styles of horseback riding techniques? Here is some information about that to tantalize you to try riding yourself.
We all know and have seen horses doing police work or running leisure carriages around Central Park and other romantic scenes, but there are a plethora of competitive sports for horses which are exciting to observe and participate in. Some of the sports include things like: dressage, endurance riding, show jumping, horse racing, driving, and rodeo. There are even a few non-competitive riding activities such as fox hunting; trail riding; or hacking. Typically, there are both public and private horse trails in many different parts of the world. Many ranches or public stables offer guided and independent riding. Horses can also be used for therapeutic activities to improve human health, muscle coordination, and emotional development. There are even exhibition only events such as harness racing, horse shows, and historical reenactments. Horses and humans truly have an integral relationship.
In addition to all the many events for horses and horseback riding activities, there are two primary styles of horseback riding. The first of these is “English riding” or “classic riding.” English riding features a flat saddle without the depth of seat, high cantle, or saddle horn featured in Western riding. This is to allow the horse the freedom to move optimally for a given performance task like horse racing, gymkhana, or classical dressage. English riders, typically have very formal attire for competitive events which consists of: black jodhpurs, red overcoat, and even a black tophat. The biggest difference between English riding and Western riding is that riders in English riding use both hands on the reins, not just one hand, as is seen in Western style.
Western riding, on the other hand, has less formal attire and evolved from the cattle-working and warfare traditions brought to America by the Conquistadors and used widely in the American West. Western riding is typically done in “cowboy” attire and is usually the preferred style for guided trail riding. In addition, to the difference in handling of the reins -- English uses two hands, Western uses one, there are some major difference in the types of saddle used. In Western riding, the saddle has a substantial tree that provides greater support to both horse and rider when working long hours in the saddle. The stirrups are much wider and the saddle has rings and ties which allow objects like a canteen or trailbag to attach to it.