Mini rant!

I am sick of seeing western riders call english riders “sissies” and i am sick of seeing english riders say that western is easy. I am pretty sure everyone is but some are fixated about this discipline supremacy. Riding is a hard sport. It requires mental strength as well as physical. We just have different saddles why should it matter. Dressage and reining, barrel racing and show jumping, fox hunting and cutting/roping. I primarily ride english but love to go down to watch barrels and I have always wanted to try it. I feel like we all share the same passion and we should have a mutual respect. I felt a need for this to be said, even if it has already been said/posted.

Right on, equ3strian!

I experienced this same form of “elitism” when I was a professional ballroom dancer. The Smooth Dancers looked down on the Latin Dancers and vice-versa. The International Standard (European style) Dancers looked down on anyone who did American style. The Country & Western folks HATED the Ballroom people, probably because a lot of us said their sport wasn’t “real” dancing. And I’m not going to even try to get into the various styles of Swing Dancing and how one was supposedly “superior” to the rest.

Here’s what I think:

Whenever you’re involved in a competitive sport, it’s bound to bring out “some” people’s insecurities. These attitudes and statements are simply a reflection of how they feel about themselves. Smile and enjoy YOUR experiences in the saddle and tune out the negative people. Unfortunately, they’ll always be there.

Well, I think there are two points of view on this - those who call English riders “sissies,” and those who look at my 16.2, hot Arab/Appaloosa (or for that matter, any of my previous horses, all of whom were at least 16 hands - up to nearly 17 hands) and make comments that boil down to, “I wouldn’t get up on a HUGE horse like that and ride in that itty-bitty saddle!!! You are crazy and/or brave!!” ROFLOL

I don’t care what saddle is on your horse, if you look like an albatross trying to take off you need a 4 Wheeler instead.

LOL! I love it! :smiley:

I ride both English and western.

I started out in western, doing trails and barrels. I was not interested in WP, I do not like the way the horses look or go, so I refused to do it. Nor do I like the ‘bling and flash’ on the clothes. I also was not comfortable in western tack. I have never found a western saddle that was comfortable for me to ride in. I’ve used leather, synthetic, and even ones cut for women. None have ever allowed me to ride comfortably for more than an hour or so.

I switched to a hunter barn when my first instructor moved away. I was instantly comfortable in those ‘itty-bitty’ leather scraps called saddles. :winkgrin:
I can go all day or several days in one.

As I moved around a bit I found quite a bit of ‘discipline hate’ among fellow equestrians. Some were shocked that I would dare to ‘go both ways’.
My Aunts friend barrel races and when she saw me in my tights and tall boots she (having never met me before) said loudly enough for the neighbors to hear." Girl you’re riding the wrong horses, You need to ride a real horse!" My response was to not say anything but I did give a rude hand gesture not seen by my Aunt. The woman wouldn’t even speak to me after that…which I was more than happy about. Of course that statement came from a woman who looks like a chicken trying to ride a horse, so I didn’t take her seriously anyways. :wink:

Luckily I’ve noticed among more and more people in my area/ city that the bias toward one type versus the other is decreasing and more people have become multi-discipline. I’m very happy about that, and more barns are opening up to both English and western and people are getting along just fine.

I’ve met several western riders out here who think I’m a sissy for riding with a helmet and safety vest. I get a lot of “my horse is safe, I don’t need a helmet” BS. Well, I consider my horse safe and I trust him implicitly, but sometimes sh*t happens. I like having a functioning brain, TYVM.

All the other comments I get about being an english rider, like the “how do you stay on in that postage stamp?” and the “how do you get on that HUGE horse?” (16.3 does look really big next to a 15h cowhorse :lol:) don’t bother me too much. I normally think they’re funny. Especially when people ask me, very seriously, if my safety vest is bulletproof.

And you know what? Western IS hard, especially when the cowpony reads a cow much faster than you do and it’s grab the horn or eat dirt. P.S. I still can’t figure out what to do with the hand that’s not holding the reins.

OP et al - I agree. All riding is hard - especially when you are not built like a natural rider :yes:

My mare (that I recently lost) was a very forward moving 1/2WB/1/2 TB. See in your mind a very athletic heavy weight TB and you will get the picture. Now add in “red head” :smiley: Now add in “mare” :smiley:

The comment “the only thing worse that a chestnut mare is a chestnut TB mare” - to which I replied “well you are 1/2 right to her breeding, and all wrong to her worth”.

It really pis**d me off when people, after watching her have a snark at me, talked about “oh typical mare”. NO, I hadnt ridden her right! Sorry, I knew my horse and she was so forgiving of me. I always claimed she was the best trained in our combination.

Albeit the “advice” I received about how to ride her through the snarks melted away when I offered them the ride :lol: strange that. That athletic back was very flexible :slight_smile: Pity I had to lose her to kidney cancer.

Strangely enough, I dont get the same comments with her daughter :slight_smile: - affectionately known as “the barge” all 16.3hh and about that broad. I also callher my “destrier” ]

I just want a horse to go that is forward, responsive, and gets it’s damn feet off the ground! (Peanut rollers annoy me!) I hate people making excuses such as “He’s an Arab”, “She’s a 1/4 horse”, “You’ve never ridden a mule”. Does it go when you say go? Does it stop when you say “whoa”? Does it turn left when you ask and right when you ask it back the other way? If not, then TRAIN IT TO anyway you want!

Truly, who cares? Enjoy your horse, enjoy your riding and don’t worry about what another rider thinks. If they’re not paying for your board, they have no opinion that matters.

Appaloosa people hear crap about their breed, so do the Arab owners. Warmblood DQs flap their fat hands at TBs and it seems everybody who doesn’t know them has bad to say about Saddlebreds (a truly lovely breed). I’ve also got a mule, I’ve been amazed at the snarky attitudes I’ve had about him and the basic insults. They’re jerks and I don’t care.

Have fun, it’s the best revenge anyway…and beat their socks off.

I guess I am lucky. I keep my Paso Fino at an Arabian/NSH show barn and everybody is lovely to me and my horse. (The BM calls him “our token Paso Fino.”) No snark. I have let everybody who wanted to ride him go for a ride, they think he’s pretty cool.

I’ve ridden both and I agree. There’s nothing Sissie about riding English and western is no easier than English. A lot depends on the skill of the rider. A western saddle may be more secure fof a beginner but they still have to learn to ride. A man once told me he didn’t know ow I rode in my dressage saddle because he needed a horn to hold onto. So who’s the Sissie? :lol:

I see more breed bias than discipline bias. I’ve grown up around western and English both, and even now my “horse crowd” includes peeps from both sides of the fence. The barns I’ve been at have always had a good mixture of disciplines, and the shows I’ve frequented have usually had a wide variety of breeds/disciplines represented. My western pleasure friends are supportive of me in my dressage riding, and I’m supportive of them. At the open shows, many horses pull double-duty and don both styles of saddle over the course of the day.

I started out riding (26 years ago) in traditional hunter lessons, did the local hunter circuit for awhile, and then moved to dressage and eventing. But the lady that owned the barn where I grew up was a barrel racer who moved to local level western pleasure and halter as she got older. So I’ve always respected western riders. I’ve shown AQHA hunter and actually dabbled in some of the western stuff too. I have the blingy outfits and tack to prove it. I was a Congress finalist in Huntseat Equitation. I’ve also got a local high point circuit award for the western pleasure division. I’ve sat on a cutting horse working a mechanical cow, and I’ve taught a horse to jog and lope with a “headset”! I’ve also ridden in a Denny Emerson clinic and he took a spin on my horse! I spent a week with Nanci Lindroth soaking up her vast knowledge, and I’ve gotten a “10” on a centerline in a 1st level test at a big dressage show. I’ve earned two AQHA Registers of Merit on two different horses, and I’ve earned Horse of the Year honors for my state’s dressage and combined training association. I’ve tightened up a cinch and set one’s head, and I’ve shortened up my stirrups and galloped a cross-country course. I’ve retrained OTTBs and raised a few AQHAs from the day they hit the ground.

I see the beauty in a quiet QH doing his job and a fiery Saddlebred doing his.

I think a LOT of the discipline and breed bias comes from ignorance. The best way to cure that is to expose oneself to more disciplines and/or breeds. Actually spend time learning about it and riding that style or type of horse. THEN, at least, you can have an INFORMED opinion about it. Im a harsh critic of western pleasure, but it’s because I know the horses ARE bred to go low and slow naturally, and if people would just let them go as nature intended, they’d be so much prettier and happier.

Anyway, don’t get discouraged by ignorant folks. They don’t know any better.

[QUOTE=Trakehner;7632409]Truly, who cares? Enjoy your horse, enjoy your riding and don’t worry about what another rider thinks. If they’re not paying for your board, they have no opinion that matters.

Appaloosa people hear crap about their breed, so do the Arab owners. Warmblood DQs flap their fat hands at TBs and it seems everybody who doesn’t know them has bad to say about Saddlebreds (a truly lovely breed). I’ve also got a mule, I’ve been amazed at the snarky attitudes I’ve had about him and the basic insults. They’re jerks and I don’t care.

Have fun, it’s the best revenge anyway…and beat their socks off.[/QUOTE]

You said it, bro! Try having Minis. You hear EVERYTHING from shrinking in the wash to feed him more to mutants to “I would NEVER own one of those!” Yet I’d bet NONE of them ever really took a GOOD Mini for a test drive, or played with one or even just handled one.

And yes, revenge is sweet. Took my guy to an open show once, heard "awww, isn’t it kwoot, I just wanna hug it!" Went in the open horse halter class, “kwoot” whupped their butts and placed third- out of 26! They weren’t nicer when we left, lots of nasty looks and muttering… heh heh heh

A friend has a pair of minis…excuse me, VSEs…he named them “Oompa” and “Loompa” (as in Willie Wonka). He’s been known to drive them singing the various Oompa-Loompa songs with the rest of us joining in. Very profane little guys, I like that.

Riding my mule, we all get to do Shrek and Donkey scenes. He jumped in the horse trailer one day through the side door (mule trailer?) fully tacked up…he totally had a “…and I’m fixing waffles!” look.

Standard dancers look down on everyone, Gidget, but it’s not their fault, it’s hard to bend with that stick up someplace uncomfortable. (Sorry. I say of Standard I finally found an activity that’s too anal-retentive even for me. And they do tend to be the biggest snobs in the ballroom with most having zero sense of humor about anything.) And you just did it yourself, what’s American Rhythm, chopped liver? :wink: If we’re comparing unrelated styles’ attitudes (C&W, Swing, etc) you left out the worst “We are ALL BETTER THAN YOU” offenders, the Argentine Tango dancers who can scare off the interested just with on-line comments.

I grew up ‘horse crazy kid’ and always figured the problems weren’t with the particular discipline, they were with me not finding one that fit. (I think I have: gambler and pooper-scooper to retired objects of gambling.) I may have a couple styles I actively dislike (WP and the peanut rollers most notably, along with Big Lick) but in general, if I’m not riding the horse, not my business.

I experienced more " breed discrimination" than anything as a teen- mid 20’s when I showed. Back then having a loud colored dun appaloosa showing english? I stuck out like a sore thumb among the sea of sorrel & bay horses. The name calling and snickering stopped when we beat the pants off them, consistently :slight_smile:

It never bothered me to begin with. I choose a horse because it is what I like , not to please the masses who must conform and be like a school of fish.

My daughter does 4H with a mix of riders. Some do English, some do western, some do both. It’s great to see them learn from each other.

Maybe more barns should mix it up :wink:

I agree though. Miranda Lambert posted a picture to facebook of her riding English, and some of the vile that people posted in response blew my socks off.

FROM the OP’s original post…. “I feel like we all share the same passion and we should have a mutual respect.”

I think whenever any of us hear anyone snarking about somebody else’s riding discipline it would be nice to use the above line, or something like it… Frankly, no matter what the tack, breed, style or discipline, it’s awesome to see what horses are willing to do for/with us!

[QUOTE=danceronice;7633185]Standard dancers look down on everyone, Gidget, but it’s not their fault, it’s hard to bend with that stick up someplace uncomfortable. (Sorry. I say of Standard I finally found an activity that’s too anal-retentive even for me. And they do tend to be the biggest snobs in the ballroom with most having zero sense of humor about anything.) And you just did it yourself, what’s American Rhythm, chopped liver? :wink: If we’re comparing unrelated styles’ attitudes (C&W, Swing, etc) you left out the worst “We are ALL BETTER THAN YOU” offenders, the Argentine Tango dancers who can scare off the interested just with on-line comments.

I grew up ‘horse crazy kid’ and always figured the problems weren’t with the particular discipline, they were with me not finding one that fit. (I think I have: gambler and pooper-scooper to retired objects of gambling.) I may have a couple styles I actively dislike (WP and the peanut rollers most notably, along with Big Lick) but in general, if I’m not riding the horse, not my business.[/QUOTE]

Oh my gosh, Danceronice. So you know what I’m talking about.

Yes, I forgot about how most Argentine Tango dancers tend to think that theirs is the only game in town. It’s unfortunate because I think it’s SUCH a beautiful art form…even though I can’t do it properly to save my life. (I spent too many years with sticks shoved certain places I guess. LOL!)