In my saddle-seat lessons, we have been working on show ring strategy. This is not a skill about which I have had to obsess in the past:
In Eventing, the flat work (the dressage test) is a necessary evil to be survived before being allowed out on cross-country.
In Hunters, the flat class is an afterthought, usually won by the horse who won the jumping classes.
In Equation, there is a flat phase, but jumping wins the big money.
In Jumpers, there is no flat class.
As an example of the saddle-seat attention to detail, “When making a victory pass riders will ride the incorrect diagonal on purpose so that they do not look so tall on the horse.” (Riding for Success by Gayle Lampe [Saddle&Bridle 1996] p128.) In other words, victory photos are taken when the horse’s outside leg is up. Therefore, a crossposting rider will be sitting down when the photo is taken, producing a more pleasing picture. How do they remember all of this in addition to basic riding and steering?
Many other disciplines have group performance classes, e.g. Western Pleasure, Arabian Costume. Any advice for a rider who has heretofore been phoning it in?
Gratuitous Kitten Pic
When I was growing up, we had a cat who would sit like this on the sash of an open window – 7 floors up!