English or Western Riding Styles and their Disciplines
Horseback Riding Styles, and their Riding Disciplines are listed below.
Click on English or Western Styles for their various disciplines, historical and modern day practices, plus photos.
As all who actively ride or are engaged with horses know, there are many riding disciplines, but most all of them fall into a recognized category of styles, either basically English or basically Western. Then there are a few subsets that are neither really, but are found almost everywhere, and the tack used, or the specifics of a class in a show , determines in which of the two main categories it is placed. So Riding styles are listed below in sections/categories for either English or Western, with the disciplines each encompasses. More
SPECIFIC HORSE RIDING DISCIPLINES WITHIN EACH OF THE STYLES:
English Riding Disciplines
Western Riding Disciplines
Since 1100 B. C (Iron Age), various riding styles, disciplines and equine sports have been honed through games, races and other competitions, or through the work man needed his steed to do, then competitions were based on this skill. Surely there is little doubt that such sport occurred even earlier. The role of riding styles and disciplines has greatly exceeded simply entertainment; at first, it increased excellence in horsemanship that gained great rewards on the battlefield. Societies that could mount large cavalries had an enormous advantage over those less prepared. Sports and competition helped hone the skills of soldiers and generated improvements in equipment and breeding that time after time altered the outcome of history.
Of course not all riding disciplines had their origin in military training. Hunting and even competitive jumping, as disciplines within the English category , grew from the necessity of hunting. Rodeo with its disciplines within the Western category began as a way of demonstrating the skills needed on ranches and farms and the necessity of moving and handling food animals.
The main styles and their disciplines come from an underlying motivation to gain a competitive edge, and have given rise to numerous improvements through the centuries. Improved tack is streamlined, more effective and better suited to varied tasks. Lighter weight vehicles stem from early chariot racing into the harness racing industry of today. Supplies, health and care of our animals have all improved and continue to do so.
Sports and riding disciplines within the overall area of of two basic riding styles, have also provided links with the past and the maintenance of skills which otherwise would have most likely declined or even disappeared. Some equestrian sports span a history of three thousand years.
However, the most notable effect of the various equine sports of the world, is the systematic development of breeds, with improvements in refinement, intelligence, and beauty, coupled with the astounding sophistication of improvement in the communication between rider and mount -- a direct result of all forms of equestrian sports and styles, that has led to very refined riding disciplines for results, be it pleasure or competitive sport.
Styles vs Disciplines:
Riding styles have developed throughout the world and throughout time periods according to what types of task were attempted, and the actual tack used to help accomplish this task has fallen into either an English or a western category. Within each of the basic styles however, there are subsets of disciplines.
So as far as styles go, there is one that is more western, that uses western tack (saddles, bridles and other tools) yet within this comes the many, many disciplines, from Pleasure to Cutting and Ranch and Cow work, all of which which have over time acquired basic rules in competition.
Concurrently, as another of the two basic styles, there is English which uses English tack (somewhat varied, but still basically English), yet within this broad category there are many varied disciplines, from racing to dressage, to Saddle Seat to Hunt Seat, etc.