Horses are some of the most perceptive animals, as evidenced by the saying, You can lead a horse to water, but you can't explain his intimate knowledge of your childhood fears. Tap into equine insight with this Groupon.
- $130 for four offsite horseback-riding lessons ($240 value)
English Horseback Riding: From Cavalry to Country Club
Horseback-riding lessons can focus on the English style. Read on to learn more about the style's unique qualities and history.
Though practiced in competition and for pleasure all over the world today, English-style horseback riding originates with the traditions of the European military cavalry. As such, english riders tend to ride horses that are larger than their American counterparts (who mostly practice a style known as Western riding) and trained to be much more obedient—invaluable traits on the battlefield and in the competition arena. Riders traditionally don a hunting cap or helmet, a fitted jacket, breeches, and tall boots before clambering into the saddle—built smaller and lighter than Western saddles to give the horse more freedom of movement and closer contact with the person. Textbook english equestrians sit tall and straight, directly keeping firm control of the horse with the reins. English riders also "post the trot," rising from the saddle slightly to avoid the gait’s often uncomfortable bounces.
The English style appears on the world stage in both judged and nonjudged competition. Depending on the event, riders negotiate a series of balletic movements or obstacles while judges assess the horse’s obedience, responsiveness to the rider’s cues, and agility—attributes that complement the sport’s time-honored emphasis on elegance and decorum. Nonjudged sports include classic horse racing and polo, which uses english tacking and features some elements of the style.