Does it matter what saddle you ride in? Will your riding be impacted by a western vs. dressage saddle? Will your horse be affected?
I believe that it does not matter what type of tack you use. Good riding is good riding, good horsemanship is good horsemanship.
No matter what saddle you ride in, you should still have correct alignment from ear, shoulder, hip, and heel. There should still be a straight line from your elbow to your horse’s bit, and your horse should have a steady rhythm and maintain steady contact.
In this week’s video, Jacques and I will be riding in my western tack. Believe it or not, I used to ride western a lot! And I still like to ride western when I’m working with young horses.
We will be clipping in video of me riding Jacques in English dressage tack so that you can see the difference. I think you will be surprised to see that there is not a huge difference at all! The biggest difference between the western saddle and dressage saddle is that I feel like it is harder to sit the trot and canter in the western saddle compared to the dressage saddle.
A few other differences in western tack are:
- Larger saddle – The bigger western saddle distributes weight over a larger area on your horse’s back (which can be a good thing).
- Mecate reins – I use mecate reins when I ride western, and they are super nice to have because when I’m riding, I can get off at any time and do groundwork if needed.
- Night Latch – Also known as a grab strap, a night latch is helpful for when you are feeling unstable in the saddle or if your horse is doing something silly. This strap allows you to pull yourself into the saddle or just give you more stability in your position so you are not pulling on your horse.
I hope this video helps you realize that good riding is good riding and it doesn’t matter what style of tack you ride in. My mantra is “Dressage for All”! I believe that dressage can help any horse and rider. I love seeing you and your horse progress along your journey no matter what style you choose to ride in.