It’s a bad sign when the judge comes over to tell you the rules.

In the saddleseat ring, they like a rider in the center of the ring to go all the way out to the rail and make a gradual sweeping turn, lets say to set up for a pattern or for a victory pass. Two weekends ago, when the time came to line up, I was planning just such a maneuver in a vastly big ring only to hear the voice-of-god, aka my instructor, yelling “Turn, Turn now.” This got stored in my head as Don’t waste time – get to the line-up as fast as possible.

Last weekend, when the line-up was called, I was at the completely wrong end of the ring. The other rider was already in place. I would need to trot three-quarters of the way around the ring to pull in next to her. This seemed excessive. Remembering that I needed to get to the line-up as fast as possible, I cut across the ring. I was aiming for a diagonal but ended up with more of a serpentine. Saddlebreds perform in a set pattern. They aren’t big on spontaneous maneuvers. I knew I was in trouble when Trump pinned his ears and informed me that he had not signed up for a Handy Hunter Class, thank you very much.

As we stood in the center, the judge came over to explain that I should have stayed in the direction I was headed. There is even a rule to that effect. Apparently, there have been collisions when riders are let loose to freestyle into the line-up.

5 thoughts on “Ringmanship

  1. Oh good grief! I can’t believe that’s a rule. Or that it was necessary to prevent crashes. Surely anyone with any business at a show ought to have sufficient steering and awareness of their surroundings to be trusted to change direction without cutting anyone up? But then who said show rules make sense?!

  2. The real reason for the rule is so that riders will go to the lineup in a timely fashion. A lot of people were starting to use “going to the lineup” as a stage to show off their horses and abilities and try to “improve” their ranking with the judge. This became a logistical nightmare with riders going every which way and some trying to occupy the same space! In some instances actually became dangerous. It was also causing the classes to become longer. This rule has only been in effect for a few years.

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