Finding The Perfect Horse Riding Discipline

English Horse Rider

There are countless disciplines within the equestrian world. Even though every discipline involves horses, each discipline differs in many ways. Some disciplines are more expensive, more popular, and more intense than others. With so many options to choose from, how are you able to find the perfect discipline for you? Check out what each discipline entails in order to pick the perfect horse riding discipline for you!


In order to choose which discipline is best for you, you have to decide whether you are more interested in an English or Western style of riding. Within English and Western riding styles, there are multiple disciplines to choose between. Some of these disciplines focus on speed, others focus on position, and some purely focus on the horse! In order to decide which discipline you would like to focus on, figure out what you would like to work on as an equestrian.



Dressage is one of the most common disciplines in the English style of riding. Dressage focuses purely on flatwork and how you and your horse can maneuver as a team. This discipline does not focus on speed but rather focuses on footwork, strength, and how well you are able to ride your horse through a series of movements.

Dressage is scored based on how calm, collected, and effortless your movements look. If you are looking for a discipline where you are able to focus on position, movement, and poise then dressage may be the perfect discipline for you!


Showjumping is another common discipline within the English riding community. This riding discipline focuses on speed, agility, and technique. Just like the name says, show jumping involves jumping! This discipline is judged on how fast a rider and horse are able to jump a course without knocking rails or going over the time allowed.

Though this discipline seems simple and straightforward, a lot of technique is involved in order to get through these unpredictable courses! If you are looking for a bit of an adrenaline rush within riding, then this discipline may be for you.


Hunter jumper is similar to showjumping with a few differences in scoring. Though you are still jumping while doing this discipline, it is scored on the horses’ movements, how the horse jumps, and if each line is correct. Hunter jumper is not scored on how fast your horse completes the course, but rather on how correctly your horse moves and jumps.

Hunter jumper also has a “hunter under saddle” option in which all the classes focus on flatwork. This discipline is a great option for someone who is looking for the adrenaline of jumping but also wants to focus on correctness and looking pretty!


Eventing is the ultimate English discipline! This discipline of riding contains three events including dressage, cross country, and showjumping. Though dressage and showjumping can be done as separate disciplines, cross country is specific to eventing.

Eventers are known as the adrenaline junkies of the equestrian world, as this discipline is arguably one of the most dangerous. Since cross country contains jumps that are on uneven terrain and the jumps are solid, it can be quite intimidating to compete.  Eventing has three separate events to show off your horses’ diversity in discipline. So if you are looking for an adrenaline rush, look into eventing!


Western Horseback Riding

Western Pleasure

Western pleasure is a slow and steady discipline in the equestrian world. This discipline is judged on how calm and collected you and your horse are in the show ring. Though this discipline may look easy, it takes quite a bit of technique to keep your horse calm and responsive! This is a great discipline for someone looking to stay slow and focus on equitation and how the horse moves.

Barrel Racing

Barrel racing sounds just like its name! In the discipline of barrel racing you complete a clover pattern as fast as you can on your horse. Barrel racing usually is combined with other Western speed events such as pole bending. This discipline is judged on how fast you are able to complete the patterns given. This discipline is a great option for those looking for an adrenaline rush!


Reining is a fun Western discipline that entails different fast-paced maneuvers such as sliding stops and turns. This discipline is judged by how well these maneuvers are done. Reining is one of the largest Western disciplines and is a discipline that would suit someone who would like to focus on technique and speed!

Which Horse Riding Discipline Is Right For Me?

This question is difficult to answer since every equestrian is different and has different goals for their riding. This is only a short list of the available disciplines out there! Think about which style of riding is near you, which style interests you most, and what you want as a rider!

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