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.