Disciplines (Trail Riding, English, Western)

STEVE: The two major disciplines in riding are the Western discipline and the English. Western has been more westernized in the United States, and it is basically part of Americana history. It was based on the movement of cattle and utilization of horses for herding and moving cattle, primarily.

The equipment, the tack, the saddles, the chaps, leggings, things of that nature — boots and what-not — were all developed for that particular discipline. Whereas English, on the other hand, was developed historically from the European use of the horse for fences, riding, transportation, jumping and things of that nature.

ALEX: That’s what I was brought up in, with hunters and jumpers where I competed all through high school. It’s more of a formal style of riding as opposed to the Western disciplines. There’s a lot of judging events. We did a lot of fences, we did a lot of dressage work, so it’s a more formal style of riding. It’s really just a personal preference of where you want to go, what kind of horse you want to have and what kind of discipline you want to be involved in.

STEVE: Well, it depends on the tack you’re going to put on, essentially. You can trail ride English or you can trail ride Western. Typically people that hunt — like field hunt – it’s pretty much just a trail ride, only with formal English tack on, because they wear jackets and pants.

ALEX: — Over fences.

STEVE: And they do go over fences, too. Some don’t. But a lot of them do; most of them do. Whereas a typical trail ride with Western tack might encompass just going through trails. You might encounter a few obstacles here and there, but you get out on your Western horse, you’ll open the gate on horseback and not get off.