11 Different Styles of Horse Riding (With Videos)

Do you ever wonder about the style to use while riding your horse? Did you know that there are many styles you can use out there that will be friendly to you and your horse?

Well, you are about to find out. Here, we’ll cover different styles of horse riding.

Many people know that horse riding falls under Western and English riding. But still, there are many other forms that one can use to ride a horse. You’ll be a skilled horse rider if you dwell in one style.

Ready? Let’s look at the styles you can use to ride a horse. But first, let’s start with a brief about the two major types.

The Two Main Horse-Riding Styles

The Two Main Horse-Riding Styles

If you don’t know much about riding horses, understand that Western and English styles are the common ones you’ll find. The difference comes in the way you’ll use the saddle on the horse.

The saddle should be smaller and lighter than the Western way when using the English riding way. It favors those who are beginners in horse riding. Well, it’s because the small saddle will bring you closer to the horse.

Also, English riders put on a helmet while riding. One may have a fitting jacket.

Western riding needs the seat to be deep. This style will help you when making a turn during a race. So, unlike the English way, it won’t favor you if you are a beginner in horse riding.

In the Western riding style, one wears a hat, pair of jeans, and shirt. Some wear helmets at times.

These two main riding styles also have their types. So, we’ll start with the English horse-riding styles.

English Horse-Riding Styles

Here, one needs to be more careful when making the rides. It is not all about the position of the saddle. So, blow are the riding types under the English style.

1. English Pleasure

With this kind of ride, you’ll make your horse trot or jog. While making this move, there will be more showmanship as your horse changes its gait.

The focus will also be to make your horse canter. It’s a bit similar to Western pleasure. But here, your horse’s movement will look like an animate.

The Arabian horse breed is the best to use in this ride. This horse can make a lovely strut that fits the English pleasure ride.

Also, their temper is good. Arabian horses enjoy competing and doing well. So, riding the English pleasure will be easy.

2. Hunting


People also call it hunt seat riding. As a rider, you’ll make more use of the front part of the saddle to do a forward riding style.

You and your horse will have a separate score during the ride. Remember, the scores will come as you ride over fences and flat terrains.

During such a ride, your horse will have many obstacles. These are the things that a horse gets while on the field.

So, if your horse can jump over a fence and ride with balance, the hunting style will be effortless.

The best horse for this ride is a thoroughbred. Such a horse can jump high, have a strong, sure foot and lovely gait. It is also easy to train them.

3. Saddle Seat

This type of riding will show how your horse is good at trotting. Your horse should show some taste of drama and be smooth. Also, it should have some grace as you ride them.

The American Saddlebred, Arabian, and Morgan horses are the best for this ride. It’s because these horses have a nice body gait and upright necks.

These specs allow them to trot with ease. They will also move with grace and skills in many saddles seat races.

Besides, the Morgan horses have longer necked bodies that favor holding the saddle seats. The American Saddlebred horse has a nice back. This back dips nicely during a saddle seat event.

4. Dressage

It’s more like an arranged dance. Such an event shows the beautiful dancing skills of both the rider and horse. It helps your horse to be more willing to do many things.

During this ride, your horse will have different tests. Some are like changing the body balance and movements. If your horse is more relaxed, it will have a better score.

Expect the Hanoverian and Andalusian horses to best for the dressage event. If you use such a horse, it will obey you more and dance with more order.

Also, it can be easy to train these horses to do the dressage ride. Their gait is light, and they can run fast. But if you want a horse to give you a great lift during dressage, choose the Andalusians.

5. Eventing


This riding includes dressage, cross country, and horse jumping. Your horse will need to jump over high and low fences in the cross country.

There will also be many other obstacles. Remember, many of these obstacles are the ones your horse will see while on any large field.

Your horse needs to be all-rounded to do well in such rides. Also, the horse should have solid stamina to jump as it remains elegant.

Here, the best horse to use is the Hanoverian. Well, it’s because the horse can cross many hurdles. These horses can also do the dressage quite well.

6. Show Jumping

As a rider, you’ll need to show how high your horse can jump over many fences in a ring. It would help if you did these jumps within a given time. But if you happen to make any error, you should be fast to correct it.

Your horse should jump fast and with grace. Also, the rider and horse should recover quickly after a jump. Well, it helps you make the next jump without having many problems.

So, for this ride, pick a warm-blooded horse. The horse should also be tall and with strong legs for the jumps. The best ones for this ride are the draught horses.

Western Horse-Riding Styles

The Western styles are easy for a horse that works more at a ranch. The horse needs to be wiser to handle the large saddle.

Also, all the styles here need more hard work, athleticism, and bonding from the rider and horse. So, read on to see these styles.

1. Barrel Racing

Here, the rider and the horse need to try and complete a movement around many barrels. These things are in a triangle at the center of the arena. So, if you meet the action faster, you’ll become the winner.

It would be best to choose a strong horse that can run faster as it makes many turns. Also, the body balance of the horse is vital. Any quarter horse with a strong body won’t disappoint you in such a race.

2. Endurance

Here, you and your horse need to ride between 25 to 500 miles. Doesn’t it sound like a long way to go? Yes, that’s why it’s an endurance race.

If the race goes beyond 25 miles, there are checks for the horse and rider every 25 miles. Well, it’s to keep you strong for the ride ahead. Sometimes, your horse will have to carry some weight.

Long ago in the 1950s, horses were to carry heavy loads in the races for long miles. But as the years go by, the weight and distances keep reducing to make the ride a bit easy.

The Arabian horse is the best for these rides. It’s because the horse can adapt quickly to these challenging conditions.

3. Reining

This race is quite similar to the English’s dressage style. But here, you and your horse will do more activities.

Expect to do sliding stops, rollbacks, spins, and flying leads. These acts show the agile power of the horse.

Since your horse needs to show many skills, it should respond faster and well to the ride’s rules. The horses to help you in such a ride are quarter horses, Appaloosas, and paints.

These horses are more athletic and wiser. They also have a strong body and balance.

4. Cutting

Here, your horse needs to show how it can remove a cow and take it to another place. It’s a riding style that tests your horse’s wisdom. Also, you need to have high riding skills for your horse to do well in such a ride.

This style allows any rancher to brand a cow. You can also use this style for vet purposes while checking the health of the cattle.

Quarter horses and crosses are the best for this riding style. But quarter horses are better because they are wiser and with a firmer body.

5. Western Pleasure

It’s more like the English pleasure. But here, the horses need to be stronger and wiser. Also, the horse needs to be more accurate as it covers every move.

As a rider, you should ask your horse to make a steady and smooth gait. If it competes, the judges will check on the beats and paces. Remember, your horse needs to be keen if you make any changes in the speed.

Quarter horses are the best because of their smooth gaits. Also, they have excellent discipline. The Appaloosa breed can also do well in this ride. Remember, both species have the grace to give you an easy time as you ride.


There are many styles of horse riding. What you’ll choose will depend on your interests, skills, and the type of horse you have. Remember, you can get many other styles besides the ones listed here.

One can choose one of the English riding styles if the horse isn’t that strong enough. But with the Western styles, the horse should be stronger, wiser, and calmer.

So, what riding style has interested you the most? Which one do you always like to use? Please let us know.

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