Perhaps, that is the real question.
As this irrepressible rider’s spirit daunted me day and night, I was posed with this common doubt. I was a novice who was bound to start fresh, and I believed that both styles equaled in difficulty . So I turned to finance (aha!) . The cost difference is quite perceptible. Western does tend to amount to a bigger sum, and that inevitably did cloud my decision. The equestrian center I chose charged $85 (cost an arm and a leg) for an hour of western riding. Almost abruptly, my brain beautifully highlighted the pros of English riding($65). I coerced myself into deep admiration for the English style. But my heart sang the Western hymn to me.
The answer lied in the English stables. The horses looked gigantic. They looked like they could knock a building off. They looked powerful, stark and formidable. I sat myself precariously on one of the English horses. It was two minutes and I begged to get off. English is for the dauntless. These horses jump fences and obstacles. They don’t trot, they fly. In fact, there have been an umpteen number of instances of people being brutally thrown off their horses while they jump. To me, an $85 bill looked manageable; thus, I concluded that it was tiny as compared to a medical expenditure. Now here’s an exaggerated universal truth – even a greenie could ride western pleasure horses amidst an earthquake and not fall off. In short, western pleasure is relatively safer. However, it’s a misconception that the western riders just “sit” there. These riders just share a little more relaxed relationship with their horses. Thus, when I chose my style, I chose companionship over looking powerful. I’ve heard people say the following –
“I will say barrels and reining looks fun, but western pleasure is like watching a rock grow” (ouch). Again, let’s watch you on a wild western horse that bucks.
If you choose to ride the western style, you will have to start afresh for a switch to English. Even, in terms of difficulty. You have to be prepared for something tougher. You would have to exercise more control and discipline over your horse.
But, again, when done the right way, there’s absolutely no distinction in levels of difficulty. Riding a horse, is quite a strenuous process which requires painstaking focus, and perseverance. Be it the English or the Western way. These two, however are two very distinct schools of training. There is not just a vast difference in the rapport shared between the rider and his horse, but also the equipment. the western saddle is larger and heavier than the English saddle. It’s designed to spread the weight of the rider over a larger area of the horses back, making it more comfortable for long days out chasing cows. The English saddle is smaller and lighter and designed to give the rider a closer contact with the horse’s back. The English style is definitely harder (just a wee bit). But regardless of the style you choose, riding requires dedication and sweat(sometimes blood) in both.