Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I Haven't Exactly Cowgirled Up

As much as I have enjoyed exploring my skills as a horsewoman in the huntseat division, I must admit that I really do like riding western. I would define my style of western riding as all-around western recreational riding. I'd never profess to be some sort of cowgirl. Even if I was physically capable of tossing a rope with my right arm, I'm quite certain I'd probably miss the cow entirely and end up instead roping my own horse.

HOWEVER, I do thoroughly enjoy riding western on the trail and in the arena on both Wally and Wyatt. I focus on the basics that are the foundation of all disciplines: getting my horses supple and responsive to my aids, keeping their pace consistent without my having to constantly pull on their mouth and teaching my horses to respect me and trust me. Don't misunderstand me. I still ride some horse huntseat at least once a week. But I have definitely learned to appreciate the western riding lifestyle.

What in particular have I learned to like about the world of western riding?
1. Western spurs make a cool sound when you walk. They really do "jingle jangle!"
2. Unlike English riding apparel, I can hop off my western horse and go straight to the store or the bank without changing my clothes and strangers won't stare at me as if I just left a masquerade party.
3. Western horses can have long, flowing manes. That means no more broken fingernails or sore knuckles from wielding a metal mane comb.
4. There are a lot more guys who ride western, and the majority look mighty fine in jeans. I may be married but I'm not blind!
5. Huntseat riding frowned upon anything bright, shiny, colorful or decorative. In western riding I can choose to bling or not to bling. I can also accessorize with horsehair tassels, enameled bridle buckles, silver trophy belt buckles, hand-tooled leather and silver conchos. The opportunities for me to look like Annie Oakley are endless!

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8 comments:

Nancy said...

Altho I'm an english rider i do envy the bling in Western! I think I'm snazzy with my turquoise brow band and my saddle pad with the pink flamingos on it (yes Leo is man enough to wear pink!)

You can definitely accessorise better with western than english. And we girls all know accessories make the outfit!

Anonymous said...

I recently had the chance to help exercise some highly trained western horses used in a police athletic league (PAL) riding program. They were so soft in the bridle and quick off your leg it made my hunt seat horse seem sluggish and coarse by comparison.

Needless to say I've been inspired to get my TB schooled up to the level of those finished stock horses, and a major area to work on is one of the basics you mentioned: a consistent pace without having to be in his mouth. Any tips on developing that??

As for style options, the things I envy the most is tooling on the saddle and split ear headstalls. I love the floral and basket weave patterns and I like to show off my horses elegant face.

Anonymous said...

Western-- the ultimate lifestyle!

Guys do look GOOD in jeans! And the cool accesory factor, wonderful.

~Sasafras

P.S. Even if you did end up roping your horse, that's still an accomplishment. I mean, it's not everyday a beginner roper can even rope anything!

Anonymous said...

i know how you feel!! i ride english and i always feel silly walking into a store with breeches and half chaps.

Anonymous said...

How I wish people rode western in my area...I would probably be riding western now, but no one within two hours of me gives westerns lessons, and I don't have my own horse :( I totally agree with all the things you said about western, esp the spurs making awesome "jingle jangle" sounds!

Gina said...

Wranglers. Yum.

I was at a PBR rodeo a few months ago, and it was a big affair. They had TV cameras up and everything. Between rounds, people would come in the arena and play games. At one point, I glanced up at the TV screen and caught sight of a VERRYYYYY nice erm... rear end. I poked my friend and told her to check it out. She "oohed" and then looked for him... it was a heavyweight man about 70 or 75 years old.

Oops?

At least we all now know Wranglers makes anyone look good. :D

Anonymous said...

I ride Western, even though I do ride English once in a while. I'm learning to rope, and boy, if you've never tried and want to, good luck with that! Stock horses are SO much more responsive than English ones, and lots more fun, too!

My horse came from a cattle ranch out west, and before I bought him, a lady who rode English tried to ride him. I heard that as soon as she tried to direct rein him, he sat down. I found that pretty funny.

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way, i ride english but western for fun, i get teased at the barn for all my excessive bright colors and bling on just about everything imaginable i have little charles owens crystal collars