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English horseback riding is the most popular style of equine sport. The English riding style originates from Europe, where the first English disciplines developed. Those disciplines are show jumping and dressage. Other English disciplines include hunt seat, endurance riding, cross country and racing. As with anything in this world, it is personal preference if you like English, western, vaulting or driving better than another discipline. English riding is very enjoyable, and this is why:
The English tack is very different than western tack. Unlike western saddles, English saddles are flat. This allows the horse to have more range of motion which is necessary for the jumping and dressage disciplines. The English bridle is also different from the western bridle. Western bridles do not have a nose band whereas English bridles do. Also, some western bridles only have a slip ear brow band, which is a small brow band that only goes over one ear. English bridles have a brow band that goes around the horse’s entire forehead. Even English reins are different than western reins. Unlike western reins, which are separate from each other, English reins are joined together.
The way you ride English is quite different than the way you would ride western. For example, at the trot western riders sit this gait, but English riders do not. English riders “post” at the trot. Posting is when a rider rises up and down with every diagonal stride of the trot. While posting you need to make sure that you are on the correct diagonal lead. This means that you need to rise in your stirrups when the horse’s inside foreleg touches the ground and sit back down again when that leg starts to leave the ground. It takes a lot of practice to perfect the posting trot, but it is a very fun and energizing gait when ridden correctly. Also, English riders hold the reins in both of their hands. This gives the rider the ability to give her horse more precise and subtle rein cues. This is paramount in the dressage discipline.
English style riding is very pleasurable, and it has many different disciplines in which to chose from.
Here is an inspirational video about horseback riding.