April 7, 2021 – Ask Monty Newsletter

Question: Have you ever tried riding English style?

Monty’s Answer:

Yes, I have written about my competition in show jumping, working hunter and even gaited horse competitions throughout my youthful career in the show ring. I have described winning the American Horse Show Association ‘Horse Mastership’ competition in 1950 this included three divisions of English riding.

Given that, I chose the Western Saddle as my primary competition tool, even though I enjoyed the English saddle very much. Salinas, California, was my birthplace and the Western Saddle prevailed in that geographic area in a very significant way.

Barbara Worth and Don Dodge lived about 200 miles to the north, in Sacramento. They were the only high level riders in an English saddle anywhere near me when I was growing up. It seemed logical to specialize in Western competition and as I rose through the ranks, my victories were significantly greater in that discipline.

I must admit that I was in love with working cattle from the back of a horse. Being born on the California Competition grounds lead me to understand Western more quickly and more thoroughly where the disciplines of the English saddle were concerned.
One must also consider the fact that my weekdays were loaded with obligations to create stunts for the movies throughout the 1940s. Three out of five movies featured a child and a horse. I happened to ride English in 1943 to do the stunts for Elizabeth Taylor for the film National Velvet.

There were other films featuring riders on an English saddle. History will show however that more than 90% of horse films made in the 1940s were called ‘Western movies’. The title was quite appropriate as they were more obviously cowboy movies than they were about people riding in an English saddle.

My time in an English saddle was enjoyed by me and I would have to say was only superseded by my time in a Western saddle. Many of my riding heroes rode English and not Western.


Monty Roberts signature

Read the full newsletter: Have you ever tried riding English style?