Thank you Eva! I am trying to be more involved. I usually just look around when I am here, but I was so impressed by your, Audie's Horses, research and info, i had to speak up. Western always seems more wild to me, do you risk many more toss offs, etc than with English? I never rode Western, only English.
Do not be mean to me about that, I am a New Yorker, it is amazing I am a rider at all. B)
Hey, I grew up in Denmark, where NOBODY rides Western. What we called a "saddle" at the pony stable was really just a bareback pad; no stirrups, and mostly we just rode bareback.
When you ride English, you basically sit ON TOP of the saddle. A hunt seat saddle is a bit more secure than a saddle seat saddle, because of the knee rolls, but you are STILL on top.
File comment: Fortune modeling my hunt seat English saddle.
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When you sit a Western saddle, you have a high fork and a saddle horn in front (good for "grabbing leather" when needed) and a much higher cantle in the back, so you really sit IN the saddle.
File comment: And my mom and Fortune modeling my Western saddle
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Having grown up with either bareback or at the most a hunt style English saddle, I find the western saddle MUCH more secure, and also much more comfortable for those all day long treks, maybe up and down steep hills. I HAVE an English saddle, but I rarely used it. I'd either ride bareback with just a blanket thrown over Fortune's back and a leadrope around her neck, or else in the Western saddle.
Another consideration is that a well fitting Western saddle is much more SECURE on the horse's back. Would you ever try riding in an English saddle with NO GIRTH? I remember one time when I was riding in the arena at Parnell Park in Whittier (Calif). Someone remarked that my cinch (Western for girth) looked a bit loose. What I did instead of tightening it up was to remove both cinches completely; hand them to the person who had made the comment, climbed up using the fence, and ran the barrels with Fortune at an almost dead run. I KNEW the saddle would stay in place as long as I didn't lose my balance, even negotiating the sharp turns of the barrel race course and the skid stop at the end