Horseback riding is an attractive sport for participants at many levels. Riders can enjoy the sport as a hobby, as competitive riders and even as a professional career. When considering what area of equestrian events you wish to pursue there are several factors to consider. You must choose between English and Western style riding and then which type of discipline you wish to pursue within that style. Below are the different styles of horse riding you can choose from:

English style riding

English style horseback riding offers a simple and easy way to master the art of handling the reins to control the movement of the horse. This makes it a wonderful way for beginners in this field to explore the wonders of nature on horseback. Perhaps this style horseback riding can be described best as a unique and dynamic form of equestrian riding that is flexible and allows the rider and the horse to enjoy more freedom in movement which in turn enables both to experience and experiment with new moves for optimal performance.

Jumping style

Riders who train for jumping are usually high energy and confident. Confidence is essential, as any hesitation will travel directly down the reins and result in a refusal of the jump. There are different sub-categories within jumping; hunter jumper, which focuses more on the seat and technique of horse and rider and stadium jumping which focuses on the speed and accuracy.


Dressage is generally for the more calm, collected and patient rider. Dressage is a discipline in which a rider practices a set of maneuvers at various spots within the arena with seemingly no effort. The commands from rider to horse are supposed to be virtually invisible. Dressage can be practiced in any open flat area, all you need are markers to set your points within the arena. Dressage training requires relatively little equipment, however, showing equipment and attire can be costly.


Western riding by nature is more laid back and relaxed. Many western competitions are, however, very high energy. Western riding stems from techniques cowboys and farmers used to work cattle on the range which eventually evolved into competitions to see who had the best ranch horse. Western riders us a western saddle which is built for comfort and utility; it features a deep cushioned seat, long leather stirrups, and high cantle with a horn.

Cow working

There are many types of western competition events which originate from working cattle on farms. Some of these include reining, cutting and roping. These events all require a horse to have some sort of “cow sense.” Like a dog that is breed to herd, cow horses also have instinctive reactions developed through breeding. In any type of cow working discipline horse and rider must perform tasks which demonstrate the animal’s agility, speed, and ability to outmaneuver a fleeting cow.

Barrel Racing

This event is for the speed demons and adrenaline junkies of western riding. Horse and rider navigate through a clover leaf pattern and compete for the fastest time. Horses for this activity must be very fast and able to bend and turn quickly from barrel to barrel.


Learning these different styles of horse riding requires determination and a focused mind. However, for the beginners, it is advisable to look for trained professional riders and trainers who can guide and coach you to master the art and skill of riding.

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