How to Choose the Best Horseback Riding Style For You

Even if you’ve been around horses all your life, it can be difficult to choose what you want to do with them. If you think about it, it makes total sense- there are so many different types of horseback riding styles out there to choose from. How do you know you’ve picked the right one that fits your lifestyle and personality? Choosing a horseback riding style can be especially difficult if you’re just getting into horseback riding. This blog will give you some guiding factors to think about to help you choose the best horseback riding style for you.

Are You More Competitive or Laid Back?

A good place to start is choosing a horseback riding style that matches your energy levels and competitive spirit. After all, it would stink to put time, energy, and money into a style you end up not liking!

Believe it or not, your level of competitiveness plays a role in many things you do in life, horseback riding is one of them. If you’re a person with high energy and are always striving to beat your previous bests in the workplace or at home, then a more competitive riding style would suit you excellently. Here’s a list of more competitive riding styles that you may enjoy partaking in:

  • Western Style Rodeo Horseback Riding
  • Saddle Seat Horseback Riding
  • Cross Country Horseback Riding
  • Show Jumping
  • English Pleasure

If you’re more of a laid-back, go-with-the-flow type of person, then you may prefer a more relaxed horseback riding style. You may also like more relaxed forms of riding if you just want to ride for fun, and go riding every once in a while. The following list includes more ‘relaxing’ styles of horseback riding you’ll likely find more enjoyable:

  • Trail Riding
  • Dressage
  • Western Pleasure

Do You Prefer the Western or English Discipline?

Another guiding factor that may help you decide on the horseback riding style you choose to try is the discipline you prefer. Do you like the look and feel of western saddles and western riding more so than English riding? Would you prefer to not deal with how bulky a western saddle is and have an easier time with an English saddle? It’s very possible you already have your own preferences before you even step foot on a horse farm!

The beauty of that is that it’s completely okay to like one or the other- that’s why they’re there. And if you don’t know, that’s fine too. As you get more experience you may discover your personal preferences, or continue to like both of them just as much!

Consider Your Level of Athleticism and Physical Fitness

Your athleticism and level of physical fitness are other things you’ll want to consider before jumping at the bit and trying different styles. Certain styles, such as endurance riding and eventing require high levels of physical fitness from both the horse and the rider. However, styles such as trail riding and western pleasure riding don’t necessarily take as much physical fitness.

If you’re an athlete or have participated in other sports in the past and have a strong basis of physical fitness, you may be well-versed in more intense horseback riding styles. However, if you’re a beginner that doesn’t have much experience with any sports or fitness, you may not want to jump right into a complex riding style. You wouldn’t want to get injured by doing something you’ve not used to, after all, you wouldn’t be able to ride if you’re injured! 

Additionally, if you are a beginner, you’ll naturally learn over time how to ride horses. You’ll become so much stronger mentally and physically, which is part of the beauty of it all! Not only do you grow physically and mentally, but you also get to know your horse better too.

It Never Hurts to Try- Experiment With Different Styles

If push comes to shove and you still have no idea what you want to do- it never hurts to try out different styles of riding! You could go about this a few different ways. First, you could ride different breeds of horses that are trained for specific events to see if you like their styles. Another thing you could try is getting single lessons for specific riding disciplines and seeing how you like the different disciplines!

By experimenting, you save time, energy, and money in the long run. It never hurts to try different riding styles out. The horseback riding community is a caring and loving community, and each style has experts and people that love to teach about their specialized riding style. You’ll find so many caring people that are willing to help you out and give you suggestions about what to try next. 

Watch Videos Online Or Attend In Person Shows of Styles You’re Interested In

If you don’t have the time to try multiple different horseback riding styles right from the horse’s back, you can always turn to the internet! The internet is a great tool that holds a lot of useful information on it. By performing internet searches about the different riding styles that pique your interest, you can find videos, experts, and other tips that help guide your decision-making.

Additionally, if you live near a larger city that specializes in horseback riding shows and events, you could always try attending one and watching! If you’re particularly interested in one riding style or another, watching other people perform can give you insight into what you can expect from that type of riding style. 

Reining It In

Now all that’s left for you to do is choose a style! There are so many different options out there for you to try, and even more people are willing to guide you in the right direction and help you excel. So what’s next, you ask? It’s your choice! 

Hopefully, this guide was able to provide you with enough information about horseback riding styles without leaving you with more questions than you started with. As you get out there and explore the horseback riding world, you’ll start to discover what you love to do, and you’ll never be able to leave.

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