Why not give Western Riding a go
History of western riding
In the 15th century the Spanish Conquistadors colonised the Americas taking with them a style of riding which evolved to suit the working needs of ranchers and cowboys in the American West.
There are two styles of western riding Californian and Texan. The Californian style is known as Vaquero and sticks firmly to its origins of Spanishclassical training techniques taking many stages to achieve a fully trained finished horse. The Texan style developed with the need to produce a reliable workhorse in a shorter time frame and is the more widely used style today.
Both styles require a high level of training finished horses must be ridden with one hand on a loose rein whilst maintaining selfcarriage.
Introduction to the tack
The most noticeable difference between English and western tack is the saddle. Designed for practical use a western saddle has a larger surface area which allows the riders weight to be evenly distributed over the horses back. Riders also feel very secure and comfortable which is appealing to those who trail ridehack for several hours at a time.
Reining saddles allow for more rider movement and roping saddles are built to withstand the huge force of a steer being roped and held on the saddle horn. Trail saddles are lighter weight the seats are well padded and sometimes the horn is removed.
Bridles come in many different styles from standard work bridles with a browband and throat lash to a single headpiece and small loop around one ear. Nosebands are generally not used and are not permitted in most classes. Split reins are the most popular but other types can be used such as romal and mecate.
Romal reins are made from braided leatherrawhide and consist of two reins joined together which continue into a single long braided tail. Used only with a curb bit they are held with one hand on the reins with the other hand holding the tail and they allow for a very subtle connection and light rein cues.
Mecate reins are in fact one single long rope usually made of braided horsehair but can just be fashioned from strong sailing rope. They are used with either