horseback, you can seek out remote regions of Magnolia Branch by following our 10-mile
trail that has water crossings and rugged terrain. The park also has a stable
with 10 stalls for equestrians to camp with their horse and enjoy viewing
wildlife and other activities of the park.
starting out and learning about horses and trail riding, it’s important to know
the difference in the styles of riding, whether for sport or just for fun.
two main styles are named after the type of saddle that is used for various
equestrian interests: they are Western saddles and English saddles. Let’s take
a look at each of these styles and how they benefit both rider and horse.
saddles originally were made for cowboys. These saddles sit longer and wider
across the horse’s back, giving the rider a more comfortable fit for all-day
riding. Many riders of horse trails prefer Western riding because of the
longevity of the trips. Riders also seem to have more control over the horse
during Western riding because they use the shifting of their weight and neck
reins to guide the horse. The primary purpose of the horn on Western saddles is
for the rider to use when working cattle, not for balance, which is a common
are different types of Western saddles suited for different activities and
sports, such as barrel racing, western pleasure, roping and cutting, reining
and competitive trail classes. Enthusiasts can use any type of saddle no matter
the purpose, but some do give the rider an advantage or more comfort in a
particular area of sport.
performing in the equestrian show class of western pleasure benefit from this
type of saddle because the rider’s weight distribution tells the animal how to
present and move a certain way.
the flip side, English riding saddles are much smaller and lighter and give the
rider closer contact with the horse’s back. Because of this, English riders
must learn to control the horse with balance, using the legs and reins to keep
steady. Like Western saddles, English saddles are made specifically for certain
types of activities, which include eventing, dressage, hunter and jumper
dressage competition, the horse follows a pattern of movements, changing pace
and direction, and therefore receives better direction with a rider using the
English saddle. Likewise, when jumping fences or trotting across streams or
creeks, English saddles offer the close fit for the rider and horse to know
what the other is thinking.
with both styles of riding, the position of the rider remains the same. The
rider should sit upright, with back straight and legs naturally at the horse’s
side. Riders should not lean forward or backward and should keep arms relaxed
against their side, not flailing about loosely.
keep this in mind next time you go riding. Choose the saddle and style that is
appropriate for your activities. Maintaining proper care for you and your horse
will ensure an enjoyable time for all.