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Guest Lancelot Arnold

Western Horse Riding: Fun in the Cowboy Tradition

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Guest Lancelot Arnold

Western Horse riding is the style of the cowboys racing across the West in the movies. Start riding western and you might want to yell YEE-HAW!

Chaps and cowboy hats abound. In the western horse show world you’ll see sparkling silver, and loud, coordinating colors for horse and rider that are meant to grab your attention.

Where Did Western Horse Riding Come From?

Western style horse riding evolved from the Spanish conquistadors ranch work and is very popular in the USA. The most popular breed in this style of riding is the American Quarter Horse. Paints and the Appaloosa are also popular in the western world.


Western Apparel-What Do Real Cowboys Wear?

Riders typically wear jeans with a flat inner thigh seam (Wranglers, anyone?), a long sleeved button up work shirt, cowboy boots and a cowboy hat. In the show ring you will find the same but with more bling and colors that coordinate with the horse’s tack.

Western Saddles: Designed for Working Cattle and Long Hours in the Saddle

Western tack consists of a saddle that has a horn at the front that is used to tie a lariat (rope) onto it. Why do you need a lariat tied to your saddle horn? Because this style of riding was designed for working cattle and roping cows! The well trained roping horse is strong. Once you rope the cow you can hold him tied to the horse through the saddle horn.

Not working cattle? No problem! If you are considering one of many riding vacations or trail riding, western horse riding is very beginner friendly. Most local stables offer western riding because it can be easier if you aren’t experienced. Click here to see why.

Western Bridles and Reins

A western horse bridle usually has a curb bit (the bit is the metal piece that goes in the horses’ mouth) which is a solid piece of metal that has varying degrees of an upward swell in the middle or port. The shanks are the longer part of the bit that come down on each side of the outside of horses’ mouth. The reins are connected to the bit through the shanks.

The reins that the rider holds are either split (separate) reins or a joined rein (romal) that has a quirt on the end. More often if you are on a trail ride, vacation at a ranch or taking a beginning lesson you will just have a set of split reins that has had a knot tied at the end or near the area where you should hold the reins. This keeps you from accidentally dropping one of your reins when you are first learning.

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