I am often asked about the difference between dressage and western riding. The answer is that apart from the saddle nothing – a good dressage seat is the exact same as a good western seat.
Riding is a movement art based on balance, feel and timing. This is illustrated in the videos below showing two exquisite riders: one dressage master, one western master.
Each rider is cantering, each is using two reins, and each is riding with balance, timing and feel so refined it makes me weep. Also, and most importantly, each horse is happy. The only difference between them is the type of saddle being used.
This video is of Hubertus Schmidt, Olympian:
This video is of Buck Brannaman who needs no introduction:
So what this means for all of us is that our focus should be on honing our balance, feel and timing because it is this refinement that brings endless possibilities.