Form Does Not Follow Function

Although originally used to train riders, equitation has evolved into a hyper-stylized discipline that is an end in itself.

After my regrettable class at our fun show [Report], I have been feeling that my riding is in a rut. That I have gone as far as I can in saddleseat on good looks & charm. That I have gotten to the point where I am making the same mistakes I make on any horse. That I need to fix some fundamental error in the way I ride.

When Instructor and I were going over my show photos from the last big show [photo location given in Report], she said that I as far as horse guidance went, I rode just fine. If I were in a suit class – where rider position does not count – we wouldn’t bother picking these nits. She has said this before [Times Change]. I finally heard it.

I’m a good rider. Why is this so hard to say? Sure, I’m not Olympic level, but neither am I terrible. I can make the majority of horses go approximately where I want at approximately the pace I want. There is no deep tragic flaw that requires me to reinvent the wheel nor to reorganize my universe.

With a suitable horse, I could do a local hunter class or a low-level cross-country course almost immediately. With a nice horse and some ramp-up time, I could go further. I can accomplish a lot just the way I am. However, if I wish to engage in the particular activity that is equitation, I must add on the specific skills required for that endeavor. Similar to learning the order of the letters around the outside of a dressage ring.

It’s not rocket science. Why do I keep trying to make it such? This is meant with no disrespect to riding. Per Wofford, it’s simple; it’s just not easy.

Categories: Horse Shows, Horses

1 reply »

  1. Regrettably, form does follow function. The original idea behind equitation instruction still remains – the invisible way to influence what goes on with the horse in your charge. Prevents (or is designed to prevent) sloppiness. And it’s good for the soul – builds moral fibre. Go for it.

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