Western Influence On European Horse Riding
Today when you see horse racing or riding, have you ever wondered where it originated from- Or if horse riding was always this way. The traces of horse riding go way back in European history. And it was a classic style unlike today. These days horse riding has become more or less a mixture of European and American styles. English horse riding and Western horse riding are two entirely different types from clothing to the seating posture. However, now the European Horse Riding is under great influence of the Western culture.
European riding styles originate from the mounted military and obviously the royal class. This is the reason why it has more discipline, techniques, and proper attire. Whereas the western riding style comes from the cowboy culture. The riders were supposed to ride the horse all day long for herding and chasing cows. This is the reason for the casual appearance, comfortable saddle, and better weight distribution needs. The major difference between the two-riding styles is saddles and riding techniques. The actual sitting position for both the styles is ideally the same, but because of the purposes they were used in, there is a difference in saddle design. Western riders have larger, comfortable saddle that provides relaxed position while English style riders used smaller saddle that keeps rider in closer contact with the horse. This is for easy hold and rigid riding position.
The attire also changes with the riding styles
The European horse-riding style used more classic and poised attires such as fitted hunt coat, hunt cap, gloves, and tall boots. Whereas the western riders go for more casual cowboy outfit with comfortable shirt, jeans, cowboy hat, and western style boots. Nowadays the style and the ideas have interchanged. The Europeans are more attracted to the cowboy style mostly because of the movies and appearances. The comfortable saddles are also another reason why people prefer western saddles over English. Moreover, In English riding, the rider has to learn lot of things even for a novice such as to balance yourself well on the horse. Whereas, in western riding, the horses go at slower gait also known as jog. This makes it easier for a new learner to adapt and get comfortable with the western riding. Another thing that beginners do not appreciate about English style is that one has to learn lot of co-ordination such as reins, legs and balance to be able to control the horse. This is a bad bit easier in American style riding.
All the factors have led to the mixture of the western culture to the European riding. However, one does not understand that the European horse riding holds its own glory with the techniques of riding. The horse is very minutely trained, and the connection between the horse and the raider is amazing. The people are still amazed with the fact that a European raider controls the horse without you finding even a single movement. This is the European style and it should never get lost amidst all this mix and match world. So my only plea to the European people is that learn horse riding in its original form i.e. European Riding Style.