English Style Riding – How to
The term English style riding is actually an umbrella term for quite a few different horse riding styles that emerged in Europe such as hunting, dressage and eventing. English riding is the opposite of western style riding. This guide takes you through the basics of riding a horse English style.
Defining and Choosing English Style Riding
• English style riding refers to quite a few different disciplines. For instance, hunt-set riding was developed from fox hunting whilst dressage is based on the rider and the horse having a perfect understanding. Eventing sits in the middle ground between the two.
• Before you start learning horse riding in a specific style, you must first decide what style wish to learn. There are a lot of factors to consider while making your choice. For instance, how much spare time do you have to dedicate to training? What sort of physical condition are you in? Do you wish to compete in an equestrian sport?
Horse Riding Instructors
• If you are new to riding a horse in one of the English styles, you are probably going to need an instructor. Search for local riding stables in your area and talk to instructors who have experience with riding a horse in your particular discipline. Refer to our guide for finding a horse instructor for more advice.
• If you plan to take English riding style seriously, you will need an instructor that has lots of experience in your specific discipline. Ask any potential horse riding instructors what experience they have and at what level they ride.
• If you plan to take horse riding lessons, it is best to start on what’s known as school horses. These are very well trained and are very used to being ridden by beginners.
English Style Riding Seating Position
Your instructor will teach you this but there is a basic seating position that is used by all the various disciplines that come under the English style riding umbrella.
• You should sit in the saddle and adjust the stirrups so that you knees are bent by about 45 degrees. This is right for most beginners, as you get better at your chosen discipline then the stirrup length will change. Those who are very good at dressage will use quite long stirrups and those that are good at jumping use very short stirrups. A good rule of thumb is to make the stirrups about the same length as your arm. If the stirrup is in your armpit then the stirrup bar should be in your hand.
• As you are riding a horse, you should not be able to see your toes, if you can, move them back under your knees. Keep your shoulders back and your back should be straight. Your heels, hips and shoulders should form a straight line. Point your heels downwards slightly so they are lower than the stirrup bar.
• The correct position for your hands when you’re horse riding is slightly to the side of the horse’s withers. There should be a straight line from your elbow through your hand and down to the horse’s mouth. This is considered to be the basic position you use when riding a horse English style.