"She'd never ridden Western before"

Western riding is a style developed by cowboys. The Western saddle is designed to distribute weight more evenly over the horse’s back, to absorb the weight of a roped cow, with a comfortable seat for long hours of riding over rough terrain. The horn of the saddle is used to anchor a lariat (tethering rope) when roping cattle. Western horses tend to be compact and capable of steady travel all day, with small bursts of speed to chase stray cattle.