Feb 10, 2009

Riding English

Riding Miss Daisy circa 2004

The first time I ever rode in an English saddle was about five years ago. I was on Daisy, an old appaloosa mare that the kids rode. I still had some fear issues then and I figured she wouldn’t try to pull anything that would cause me to lose my seat. I sidled her up to a bale of hay to mount and rode down into the pasture. I was feeling pretty smart -- thought I had this English thing figured out -- when she stumbled or stepped in a hole and went down on one knee. I slid straight down her mane-less neck and landed on my belly, spread-eagle in front of her. Thank God there wasn't an audience! There was no mounting block in the pasture and I gave up trying to get back on the tall mare in that little saddle. Defeated, I ended up walking back to the barn. My English riding days were over before they got started!

Not long after that, John bought a used dressage saddle. I don’t know what his plans were for it. The couple times he rode in it, he couldn’t keep his butt in the saddle either & it was retired to gathering dust in the tack room. But last winter, I pulled it out again. Windy was the first horse since Daisy that I trusted enough to give it another whirl. I felt I had grown as a rider since my previous experience and ended up having some nice rides in it. When trail riding season started, it went back into the tack room and I hadn't thought much about it again until recently.

One day last week, all of my western saddles were still in the trailer and I wanted a quick ride. I dusted off the english saddle & put it on Windy. Don’t get me wrong – I still know nothing about riding English. But my seat has improved over the last few years and I no longer feel like I am a “flight risk” for falling out of it (although I'll never say never!). It’s one step up from riding bareback and with Windy’s top line, much more comfortable. Tonight, I even cantered while in that saddle and I have to say it was one of the best rides I have had in a long time! What a rush! Without that bulky western saddle between us, I could only imagine this is the closest to loping bareback I will ever get. And it was great!

Riding Windy Today (my son took the picture & missed her legs!)

The good weather continues. It was actually in the sixties today. This is about 25 to 30 degrees above normal, so we shouldn’t get used to it. But I think God knew I had just about had it with the cold weather and sent me a little bit of much needed warmth today and He gave me some wings to fly!


  1. Anonymous9:03 AM

    Awesome! The difference is amazing. It's kind of funny how we get so used to riding a particular style and feel odd in a different saddle. I ride English, but I can ride Western and I grew up riding both. On a recent visit to Calif. I rode my mom's horses through the mountains in a western saddle. And I felt absolutely TRAPPED in that thing. I worried about being able to escape from it if something happened (horse fell off the mountain, whatever) and I needed to bail.

    I'm glad you had a good ride!

  2. English is so different!! I have grown to love it, my daughter prefers it. She rides bareback, at a gallop often, so her little english saddle feels like a security blanket.

    You look great on that horse!


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