Picking your discipline for riding is very important. This will determine anywhere from what skills you work on to what breed of horse you should ride. While you may want to do one discipline, if it doesn't fit your needs you may not like riding, or maybe even hate it. Here are some things to consider before deciding what style you should ride, English or Western.
English riding is very popular. You get to dress up for shows, jump, and much more. English riding is faster than western. What separates these two is that in English your trot is faster than the western trot. Judges don't like the look of English riders bouncing around in their saddle so you must post during the trot. Posting is when you rise up and down on the horse's lead leg. This makes it easier to trot. Also, in English, there is a lot of jumping. People love the idea of jumping on a horse so they choose English. There is also Dressage, a form of English riding where you "dance on a horse" and Dressage is more like schooling a horse. In English riding Arabian horses are very popular. Quarter horses are almost never used in English riding. English requires more stability than western.
If you like trail rides and the good ol' country life you'll love western riding. Western riding has become extremely popular, everyone wants to be a cowgirl or cowboy. In western, your saddle has a horn that you can grip on for stability. Since it has a horn unfortunately you can't jump but you can do roping and cutting, enter in the western pleasure ( a show class where the horses are grouped together in an arena and perform different gait and direction), trail riding, reining, and most popular barrel racing. Typically in western, you would use a quarter horse since they have become known as the horse for reining. If you love trail rides you'll love western. Western is more laid back and typically riders that just want to do trail rides or only want to ride 1 time a week or just do riding as an every-now-and-then sport choose western, although Western is also very hardcore if you want it to be.
Both disciplines are fun, and any style of riding you choose will get you hooked. It is great to be able to choose your own style of riding so that your riding dreams can be fulfilled. Remember to think about each one before you decide permanently, as it can be difficult to switch styles in the future.
xx The Desert Rider