Western riding: a piece of the American way of life

The working riding styles of the American cowboys were the model for today’s Western riding. However, this form of equestrian sport has its origins in Spanish work riding. Western horses are bred specifically for the demands of Western riding.

Characterized by the cowboy work

Western riding is said to have begun with the importation of horses to America by the Spanish in the 16th century. The horses played an essential role in the conquest of the continent. The new settlers brought cattle and sheep. The large herds of cattle were later herded with the horses. The western riding style was strongly influenced by the Spanish riding style, the cowboys developed it further and further in their own way. Different styles, such as the Texas style emerged. In Germany, Western riding has been organized under club law since 1978 in the Erste Westernreiter Union Deutschland e. V. (First Western Riders Union Germany).

A variety of riding styles

Western riding is characterized by a wide range of equestrian sports. Basic gaits and the high school of riding are required. A major role is played by the famous Spanish riding school, which is also seen as the origin of all equestrianism. In Western riding, horses are trained to stay at a pace, for example, when given a signal by the rider without the rider’s further input. Western riding horses must be able to respond independently. This is a basic premise of western riding. When riding, the entire human body is strongly challenged.

Special equipment for western riding

The western saddle is indispensable piece of equipment. It has a wide seat and a high rear edge. Long and comfortable stirrups allow the rider to stay in the saddle longer. In Germany, Western riding can be learned and practiced in clubs or commercial riding facilities.

The very special relationship with the animal

Western riding conveys a special relationship of man and horse. Both must be able to rely on each other. Thus, the social life of man is trained. A lot of energy is consumed due to the whole-body strain on the human body. At the same time, dexterity and coordination skills are trained.

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