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Millbrook Tack Blog

Millbrook Tack Blog

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​ How Are English and Western Horseback Riding Tack Different?

​ How Are English and Western Horseback Riding Tack Different?

17th Jan 2023

The staff at Millbrook Tack is often asked, “What is the difference between English horseback riding tack and Western tack?” Whether you’re an experienced rider, a horseback rider taking lessons, or someone curious about the difference between the two styles, we’re always happy to explain. After all, the two tack styles have a lot in common: they’re the foundation of any equestrian activity and are crucial to keeping horseback rider and horse safe during the ride.

What Is English Tack?

English tack is a type of horse riding equipment used primarily in English riding disciplines such as show jumping, dressage, and eventing. It includes a shallower, flatter-seated saddle with a smaller pommel and cantle compared to Western saddles.

The stirrups are also narrower and shorter, allowing the rider to have a more correct and balanced position. The bridle used in English riding is also different, with a more delicate noseband and reins that are typically one piece. Additionally, the reins are often attached to the bit rings, allowing for more direct communication with the horse.

Other common items of English tack include the spurs, boots, and an English riding hat or helmet. English riders often use a dressage saddle, a jumping saddle, and close contact for different disciplines.

What Is Western Tack?

Western tack is a type of horse riding equipment that is primarily used in Western riding styles such as trail riding, rodeo, and cowboy work. It includes a deep-seated, high-pommeled, high-cantled saddle that provides stability and security for the rider.

The stirrups are also wider and longer than those on an English saddle, to accommodate the Western riding style. The bridle used in Western riding is also different, with a wide noseband and split reins, which are often attached to the saddle's D-ring to give more leverage to the rider when controlling the horse. Additionally, cowboys often use a breast collar to keep the saddle from sliding back and a flank cinch to keep the saddle in place while working cattle.

Other common items of western tack include the spurs, chaps, and a cowboy hat.

What Is the Difference Between English Tack and Western Tack?

English and Western tack are two different types of horse riding equipment that are used in different riding styles and disciplines.

The main difference between the two is in the design of the saddle. English saddles are designed to be shallower and flatter-seated with a smaller pommel and cantle, while Western saddles are designed to be deeper-seated with a higher pommel and cantle. This provides stability and security for the rider in Western riding but allows for a more correct and balanced position in English riding.

The stirrups are also different, with English stirrups being narrower and shorter, while Western stirrups are wider and longer. The bridle and the reins are also different, with English reins being one piece and attached to the bit rings for more direct communication, while Western reins are split and attached to the saddle's D-ring for more leverage.

Additionally, English riders typically wear more formal attire, such as a jacket, gloves, helmets, and boots, while Western riders often wear cowboy boots, chaps, and cowboy hats.

Are English and Western Tack Similar?

Yes! Despite the differences in design and use, English and Western tack share some similarities. One similarity is that both types of tack are used to control and communicate with the horse. Both English and Western tack include a bridle with a bit that is placed in the horse's mouth to help the rider direct and control the horse's movement. Both types of tack also include a girth or cinch that is used to hold the saddle securely in place on the horse's back. Additionally, both types of tack include a set of reins that the rider holds onto to direct the horse. Another similarity is that both types of tack are designed to be comfortable for both the horse and the rider, with padding and cushioning in key areas such as the seat, the headstall, and the girth. Both types of tack also have different variations and styles to match the discipline and purpose of the rider.

How Do I Learn More About Horseback Riding?

If you’re interested in equestrian sports, you’re in the right place! Check out our blog to learn why horseback riding is an excellent activity for almost anyone. For the more advanced riders, learn about what gear you need on eventing days.

Once you’ve learned the basics of horseback riding essentials, browse Millbrook Tack’s store and get free shipping on orders over $75.