Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 21

Thread: English vs Western

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    South Wales, UK
    Posts
    22

    Question English vs Western

    Hi all,

    I suffer with fibromyalgia and a neurological disorder. I currently ride in an English saddle, but I have been considering a western saddle. For those of you that have tried both what do you find most comfortable?

    I also suffer with myoclonic jerks (part of the neurological disorder), which basically means that for no reason what so ever my whole body will just jump. My horse doesn't pay any attention to those but, I'm wondering if a western saddle will be safer as if I do have one of these jerks I can hold onto the pommel.

    I have only just started riding again after 5 months due to the neurological problems. I have suffered with fibro for about 5 yrs, but only had the neuro problems 5 months. I'm only 25 and my pony is 7 so we are not ready to give up riding just yet.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    12,320

    Default

    I have tried Western and found the saddles to be really really uncomfortable. But I'd say that was because I hadn't sat in the right saddle, rather than all western saddles being uncomfortable ifkwim, any more than all English saddles are comfy or uncomfy (that doesn't really make sense but i know what I mean ). So you might need to try a few to find one that's right for you, but I think it's a great idea, definitely worth a try!
    [CENTER][URL="http://www.TickerFactory.com/"]
    [/URL].[/CENTER]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lincolnshire
    Posts
    3,092

    Default

    I too have Fibromyalgia (arthritis and goodness knows what else!) I find most western saddles really not good for me. I find them really comfy whilst riding but afterwards I struggle to walk and they can leave me in a lot of pain for days afterward as they are very wide.
    I find its easier on a western trained horse to walk afterwards but trying to ride 'English' is just impossible. It's also dependant on how wide the horse is as western saddles just make the horse wider and if the horse is already wide I struggle enough.

    We have/had (my old work that I still visit occasionally) western saddles with big comfy sheepskin seats which helped but honestly I wouldn't choose to ride in a western saddle.

    I ride in dressage saddles which are very supportive and comfy. I've also recently taken up side saddle which is the least painful and easiest way for me to ride.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    South Wales, UK
    Posts
    22

    Default

    Thank you. That has given me something to think about. As I do have a rather wide pony. His current saddle is a wide/extra wide, he's a gypsy vanner type cob.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    North Yorkshire
    Posts
    8,371

    Default

    I have EDS and widespread chronic pain is one of my symptoms. I tried a friend's Western saddle a good few years ago and found it very uncomfortable. It seemed to force my legs and pelvis into a position that I couldn't get happy with.
    As Loopy said, it was only one saddle so I won't tar them all with the same brush. Who knows, I might have adapted to it with time, so it may be that you find one that really suits you nicely. But personally, as Steph said, I find a dressage saddle to be the most comfortable style for my legs, hips and lower back positioning.

    If you do decide to have a try with Western, please tell us your experiences It would be really interesting to get a bit more feedback and to potentially have another try with a different Western saddle.
    [CENTER][IMG]http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y228/Gothic_Sez/Signatures/Signature01.png[/IMG]
    [FONT="Book Antiqua"][COLOR="Sienna"]He's of the colour of the nutmeg. And of the heat of the ginger...he is pure air and fire; and the dull elements of earth and water never appear in him
    *Salsa* 19th April 1998 - 7th July 2013[/COLOR][/FONT]
    Forever Loved and Never Forgotten

    [/CENTER]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    South Wales, UK
    Posts
    22

    Default

    Thank you. I currently ride in a Thorowgood T4 GP cob saddle, a dressage saddle would be no good for me as we have no arena and I spend all my time riding around the mountains. I did enjoy doing some dressage when I took my boy to Uni, we even won a few competitions. But now we are home and we don't have any transport to get anywhere.

    If I try a western saddle I will let you know. I'm not really sure the best place to try one, I will have a look around .

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lincolnshire
    Posts
    3,092

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Baloo View Post
    Thank you. I currently ride in a Thorowgood T4 GP cob saddle, a dressage saddle would be no good for me as we have no arena and I spend all my time riding around the mountains. I did enjoy doing some dressage when I took my boy to Uni, we even won a few competitions. But now we are home and we don't have any transport to get anywhere.

    If I try a western saddle I will let you know. I'm not really sure the best place to try one, I will have a look around .
    I cannot ride in any thorowgood saddle. A livery has a T6 and I hack and ride her horse for her, it's the most unsupportive saddle i've ever sat in. I really don't like it and do find because it's not offering the right support for me that it's painful when I get off.
    You can hack in a dressage saddle, a lot of endurance riders use Dressage saddles because they are nicer. We hack for hours and do everything in our dressage saddles (walk, trot, canter, gallop. my friend even did a hunt amble ride in her dressage saddle and jumps in hers!)

    Have you looked at endurance saddles?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    London
    Posts
    466

    Default

    In your place, before spending any money or taking any decisions, I would consult the RDA as they must have specialist experience to offer. In particular there may be other pommel type things you can grab onto? When I shared we all rode with grab straps, but the day I had an emergency, it had been forgotten and I grabbed the front of the saddle. You are right that putting ones hands forward and centred, is a very good way of stabilising oneself because it tends to centre ones head and shoulders over the horse.
    But whether Western is the best and only way of doing it, I dont know. I am fit for my age but am over 70. I learned to ride both English and Western and decided not to ride Western in UK as it is more expensive and more difficult over here to find tack, a good saddler, good teacher etc.
    Another elderly woman who started riding in the States where Western is the norm found a Western saddle very heavy to lift and put on her horse. For this reason when I went on a Mark Rashid riding course in USA, I was allocated a very good western saddle made of synthetic material . OH had a real leather one. However even the lighter saddle which was excellent, was heavy. A Western saddle is heavier for the horse to carry too.
    When it comes to safety of the rider, a Western saddle does offer a more substantial basis in which to ride. i.e. one is less reliant on natural balance.
    But my experience of riding in a Western saddle is of riding Western style and that too will have some affect. It isnt compulsory to ride Western but that is what the saddle is designed for: sitting trot rather than rising and sitting the canter. So it is harder on one's back.
    Francis on this forum who has back problems does prefer sitting. But for my own degeneration, I need to take the pressure off my spine which means using forward seat in canter on long hacks wherever possible. I need to loosen up by riding some rising trot when I first get on a horse. Quarter horses are usually quite narrow and my riding in USA has been done in higher temperatures, so I havent found trail riding Western on holiday a problem. But it could be.
    Then there is leg position. The greater safety of Western is partly the longer stirrup length but some UK riders find that less comfortable. The build of a Western saddle makes it hard to ride with shorter stirrups and the leathers and the girth are harder to adjust. But it is the girths (cinches) with the extra strap that give stability when roping cattle so, if your jerky movement is dislodging the saddle from the back of your horse, then that could be useful.
    I dont know much about endurance saddles but it might be that a Western style endurance saddle might be a solution?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    South Wales, UK
    Posts
    22

    Default

    I was always taught in college never to hack or jump in a dressage saddle. But I can't remember why, I think its something to do with the cut of the saddle and the pressure the saddle applies to the horse when doing different activities other than flat work. Yes I have thought about an endurance saddle, it might be a better option than a western one.

    Consulting the RDA is an excellent idea I believe I have an RDA centre not to far from me. I will take a look at both english and western style endurance saddles. Thanks all

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lincolnshire
    Posts
    3,092

    Default

    I don't see why. Dressage saddles are built much the same way a GP saddle is just with longer flaps and deeper seat. All our horses have never had a problem. If a saddle is fitted correctly you should be able to do most things in it.

    The RDA were no good. I've tried to get help from 3 centres now and every time been treated very poorly! Just my personal experience.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •