Reader Survey: Legit or Not?

As you read this (Jan 12, 2013), I will be at my second saddleseat show. I am entered in Beginner Walk-Trot. According to the rules, I am at the correct level.


At times I find this ridiculous. I’ve been riding for how many years? On Previous Horse, I was able to check my girth at the canter. Why am I taking ribbons away from true adult walk-trot beginners?

At other times, I feel distinctly qualified. I’ve been in a saddleseat saddle maybe a dozen times. I haven’t a clue where an American Saddlebred keeps the go, stop, turn buttons.

At yet other times, my previous riding gets in my way and I’m worse off than if I’d hadn’t ridden before. I go into panicked obedience at the announcer’s command instead of “finishing my pass” [Sorta]. When a crisis arises, I revert to hunt seat [Old Habits]. At which point, Stepping Stone Farm’s well-trained saddleseat mounts wonder why I’m hovering up around their ears. If I would please sit back on their kidneys where I belong, they could get on with their jobs. Even when I know intellectually what needs to be done, decades of muscle memory react to the horse without my consent.

Philosophically, where do you draw the line between legitimate contender and ringer?
Rodney's Saga Arthur belly

7 thoughts on “Reader Survey: Legit or Not?

  1. love the cat. you are a beginner at saddle seat. perfectly legit, as far as i’m concerned. i’s probably have to go back to that level hunr sear, if i eer rode again

  2. Same experience here, changing from Western to English (Hunter, Jumper-Whatevertheycall it.) Can I stay on if bomb goes off? Probably. It might not be pretty, but I don’t come unglued that easily. But please don’t tell me the two disciplines are basically “the same thing.” They’re not, and so a good deal of my learning curve is right on par with a beginner. (And like you, my body automatically reverts to a different frame if things go terribly wonky) Have fun with it .. I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunity to get overly critical of yourself further down the line!

    1. Even transition from Eventing to Hunters (both English forward seat!) was a jolt. Got myself eliminated in a very posh hunter class by going through what I thought was the start line … it was the dotted line you weren’t allowed to cross when you made your warm-up circle!

  3. The rookie of the year this year on the pga tour was john huh. before joining the tour this year, he was a professional golfer in korea for seven years. there was some debate about that, but he met all the qualifications

  4. Sounds like you’re over-analyzing this. You’re new at the game (if you can’t find the stop, go and turn buttons, you’re new at the game) and therefore legit. On the second, or third, blue ribbon, it’s time to move on, but until you know the game and can actually control the outcome, you’re quite legit where your teacher has placed you. Trust your teacher!

  5. Ha! I wrote several chapters about my hunt for the Walk-Trot End of Year Championship Ribbon. Thing was bigger than my pony. So, I’d be throwing stones at a glass house if I did anything but cheer you on. 😉

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