When I posted a photo of it on Instagram, though, I didn't expect that many people to comment and demand a reason behind why I had bought a saddle. Um, to ride? Apparently, some people believe that once you pick a discipline, you MUST ride only in that discipline.
That, and Western people pick on English people and think they all do Rollkur and have no fun. True story.
Somebody commented in my defense and told the barrel racer that was hating on English that, "She's not changing the way she rides, stupid. She's just changing what she sits on." and I actually told her that I was going to steal that quote. How cool is that idea. If all Equestrians thought that way, I bet we'd be a much simpler and happier sport full of Equestrians who got along a lot better. The saddle, in the end, is a seat for the comfort of horse and rider. Just like some people need different types of seats for their comfort - do we judge them for sitting in a different seat? Probably not. Am I going to have to learn some new tricks? Yes. And I plan on taking lessons later on. But all of those things, they won't change the kind of rider that I am in a Western seat. I'm a Natural Horsemanship kind of girl and that won't change because I chose to use a different saddle that day.
It's so important, I think, to be versatile when you have a horse. I want to be able to say, Yes, I ride English and Western. I want to learn more because I love this topic, no matter what kind of horse it is. I want to have better EQ, not to "look" good, but to become more skilled and versatile. I want to learn things because Red has a lot to teach me and I think he could teach me more, different things in another saddle as long as I let him. I just entered this horse world less than 2 years ago and I want to take it by storm, even if I don't show. I want to be as skilled as I possibly can. I fail to see how that's a bad thing. There are pro's and con's to both disciplines and I want to learn those thing and improve myself!
There are things that I really need to improve on, whether it's Western or English, and I think that riding both ways will really help me in the long run. With English, I can focus more on EQ and getting my body on track with my horse, which I can use when I go back to Western, with Western, I can focus more on getting confident and using the more secure seat to my advantage as I grow along with Red. There are so many reasons that I want to begin another chapter in my horse life as they move home and while I'm not leaving my Western saddle behind, I'm excited to give English another try, because I liked it and I want to learn.
It makes me sad how close-minded and almost clique-like the Equestrian world is. In so many riders minds, there's a one limit per person. An Western rider can't wear breeches and an English rider can't wear gaudy spurs. Maybe part of the reason that I want to try English is to knock out that line that so many of my close friends and family think exist, that there's something wrong with it. I won't lie, other than a couple cousins, I'm the lone lover of English and I'll probably have some people ask, "Why on earth do you want to focus on sitting up straight and jamming your heels down?"
In my opinion, we all need to remember that we all get on the same side and we all are brought together by a love of horses.