Hey Araya, you probably know mostly about English riding, so I wanted to make a post telling more about western riding. That way everybody can learn about both riding styles, although there are more styles like Australian. So, here it is:
In Western riding, you use a western saddle. A western saddle is very different from the other saddles because of the horn on the front of the saddle. To some people western saddles are so comfortable because of the horn. Western saddles are a very good saddle for beginning riders because it has the horn to grab onto, even though that doesn't help the balance part of it. :). The most famous western riding horse is of course the Quarter horse. The first pure Quarter horses were sired by Copper Bottom and Steel Dust, so if you ever ask a rancher what the first pure Quarter horse studs were, they will probably tell you those two horses, but infact the first sire that ever helped make the quarter horse was a thoroughbred stallion named Janus. Dan Tucker is also one of the first pure quarter horses, he sired the great Peter McCue and he was the grandsire of Joe Hancock. There are 3 different types of Quarter Horses: Bulldog, Thoroughbred, and Intermediate. The Bulldog type has massive muscles, large hindquarters and shoulders and a belly that is large also. The Thoroughbred type is the sleekest type, with muscles but they are the fastest, they are very lean, they have fine bone, and their legs are sleeker than the other types as well. The last type has large muscle, good bone, a short back and deep body, the head is short, broad and full at the jowl, the ear small, and the neck full. The quarter horses are found in most colors, although in National Registry paints, pintos and appaloosas are not permitted. In Western RIding you can do reining, western jumping, cutting, trail riding, competitive trail riding, extreme cowboy, racing, barrel racing, pole bending, cowgirl chick, mounted shooting, parade, bronc busting, bareback bronc, saddle bronc, western pleasure,goat tieing, roping, branding, dragging, bulldogging or steer wrestling,penning, cowboy polo, hide and seek, and flag game.
Reining~Reining is when you are doing a show, your horse will do rollbacks, spins, left lead circles(big and small), right lead circles(big and small), sliding stops, flying change, rundown, backup, and pausing.
Rollbacks~Rollbacks are after your horse does a sliding stop, the horse does the sliding stop, and turns around its hind feet staying where they are and their front feet in the air turning with the horses body.
Spins~Spins are when your horse is at one place, the horse turns much like a rollback. The horses hind feet stay where they are but the front feet jump up and down so that the horse goes in a very fast circle. This movement has to be done both right and left ways.
Circles~The circles in reining are when the horse goes from walking to loping on the right lead, without trotting. If a horse is going to do a right circle the horse must extend its right leg farther than its left leg, and it must start out walking but start loping on the right lead without trotting. The horse will do this in both big and small cirlces, and in both leads.
Slidin Stops~Sliding Stops are when the horse gathers speed going faster every stride that it takes until it reaches a full gallop, then it will stop and slide. Before doing a rollback to turn the opposite direction.
Flying Changes~A flying lead change is ussualy seen in English riding, during dressage. A flying lead change is when the horse changes leads in mid stride.
Rundown~A rundown is when the horse gallops somewhere along 20 feet from the rail and then does the sliding stop. The rundown is just running down the fence.
Backup~The backup is when the horse backs up very quickly in a strate line for 10 feet and then pauses before going onto the next activity.
Pausing~The pausing is stopping for a few minutes before going onto the next activity.
Lope~A lope is the same gait as a canter.
Walk~The walk is when the horse is in its most relaxing gait, and the slowest gait.
Trot~The trot is when the horse does the next gait after the walk, and before the lope, usualy riders post when trotting, even if they are riding western or english.
Gallop~The gallop is the fastest gait for the horse.
Right Lead~Right lead is when the horses right front leg and back right leg are extending farther than the horses left legs.
Left Lead~Left lead is when the horses left front leg and left hind leg are extending farthar than the horses right legs.
Western Jumping~Western Jumping is a lot like Cross Counrty English Riding. The horses and rider jump over trees, and other obstacles that you might find if you were working cattle.
Wading~Wading is when the horse goes into a lake or pond or river etc. that the horse has to swim or is deep enough that the horse can tough or barely tough.
Gait~A gait is a horses natural speeds, trotting, walking, loping, and galloping.
Posting~Posting is when you sit up and down in time with the horses movements, when trotting.
Cutting~Cutting is when there is a herd of cattle and the horse cuts one out of the herd, then follows it, stopping shortly every time the cow stops so that it cant get back to its herd.
Trail Riding~Trail riding is a favorite for all riders, trail riding is a relaxing ride through the forest, mountains, valleys, canyons etc.
Competitive Trail Riding~Competitive trail riding is when riders go through a trail trying to stay in their own time limit, not under or over.
Extreme Cowboy~Extreme cowboy is when you and your horse go through a series of obstacles, curtains, wading, penning, shooting, circles etc.
Racing~Western racing is racing another cowboy to the finish to get a free rootbeer.
Barrel Racing~Barrel racing is when you go through a cloverleaf pattern, trying to beat everyone elses time and trying not to knock any barrels.
Pole Bending~Pole bending is weaving throught the poles trying not to knock any over and trying to beat evveryone elses time also.
Cowgirl Chick~Cowgirl chick is standing on the horses back or saddle loping around, doing tricks with your horse such as saddle spins, and side riding. You would weave VERY close to another person and then separat VERY far apart.
Mounted Shooting~Mounted shooting is going through a maze shooting targets, such as bloons, and getting to the finish with out missing any bloons and beating other peoples times.
Parade~Parade is just as it says, parade, you ride around town all dressed up with your horse.
Bronc Busting~Bronc busting is training a young horse.
Bareback Bronc~Bareback bronc is riding a bronc bareback and holding on tight for 8 seconds and beating everyone elses time.
Saddle Bronc~Saddle bronc is riding the bronc with a saddle and holding on tight for 8 seconds and beating everyone elses time.
Western Pleasure~Western Pleasure is a show that you just ride freely, or riding freely anywhere.
Roping~Roping is divided into: Breakaway roping, tiedown roping, heeler and header in team roping.
Breakaway Roping~Is when you rope the calfs head with no other teammate.
Tiedown Roping~Tiedown roping is roping the steer than jumping off of your horse to tie the steers legs together, the steer cant get up until 6 or 8 seconds, depends on the show.
Team Roping~Is when you have a teammate and you are either a header or a heeler.
Heeler~Is when you rope the steers back feet.
Header~Is when you rope the steers head.
Goat Tieing~Is when you race up on your horse and tie the goats feet together, it cant get up for 6-8 seconds again it depends on the show.
Branding~Is when your horse drags steers to the branding iron.
Dragging~Is when a calf is roped then dragged to the branding iron to get branded.
Bulldogging~Is when a horse runs up along a cow and the guy jumps off the horse grabbing the steers head and pins the steer to the ground.
Penning~Is when you drive a steer from pen to pen with your horse.
Cowboy Polo~Is polo with a western saddle.
Hide And Seek~Is when you and your horse hide while a group of riders and horses try to find you.
Flag Games~Is when one team has a flag and hides it and the other team doesnt watch. then the other team tries to find the flag while your team tries to defend the flag, blocking it from the other teams hands.