I Want It All

[No end-of-month commentary. I’ve done enough authorial navel-gazing this month. [I’m Baack]

Spent the weekend streaming the 36th Annual Saint Louis National Charity Horse Show, courtesy of Seehorse Video, and ignoring the multitudinous posts about the American Eventing Championships.

The big show for saddlebreds is in Louisville. However, that show does not have ASB Hunt Seat Pleasure. Therefore, the big show for these folks is in St. Louis. I watched the entire championship class, S&B ASB Hunter Classic 2013 National Championship, sponsored by Saddle & Bridle magazine. It is very winnable. Some horses had nice trots. Others had good canters. A few had cute jumps. No horse had the whole package. OTOH, the division is young. I predict massive upgrades over the 10 or so years.

None of the jumping rocked my world. The work-off was one fence on the long side. The relaxed horses were too slow. The forward horses lacked smoothness. None of the entrants had the rhythmic impulsion that made Rox Dene such a joy to watch. [Do a Google image search. You will thank me.] Part of the problem was the size of the jump. I couldn’t see the fence directly but from the effort made by the horses, it was fairly low. It’s hard to look flash over a jump that is essentially a big canter stride. It’s easier to show off a gorgeous bascule when the horse has some hang-time.

If we can find a Saddlebred who can do this as a secondary career, I am so there! There are people with horses who specialize in this class. More power to them. My attention span is too short. If I had a Saddlebred, I would want to event and do ASB hunter and get scores in USDF All-Breeds dressage and …

I’d be the same with a Thoroughbred – not that I have any particular Thoroughbred in mind when I say this. The idea is not impossible in theory. Any horse who is competitive at Preliminary should be able to hop around 3’6″ Working Hunter at local shows, swim through lower-level dressage, and go clean at 1.05m or even 1.15m, sufficient for Low/High Adult Amateur Jumper. This lovely beast might lack the movement or speed to be Regional Champion in these ancillary disciplines, but one would not be laughed out of the ring for trying.

I’m not totally about competing. I want to go on trail rides and get back into sidesaddle and try riding bridleless …

Are your dreams focused or do you multi-task?

Update: Another post on the class, this one from 2011. Fallible memory says that everyone jumped this year, so the standard does seem to be evolving quickly. My Life as a Rider: Saddlebred Hunter Classic Championship
Gratuitous Cat Picture, with Special Guest Star

Young Dash suffers species confusion.
Young Dash suffers species confusion.

10 thoughts on “I Want It All

  1. Lol, lovin’ the gratuitous cat picture!
    Me, I don’t want IT ALL, I just want some of it… I’m making a concerted effort to get myself back into a routine with my boys. I want trail riding & low level dressage, and seeing as my barn owner is an accomplished Natural Horsemanship person, I’m going to do some of that lark too.
    ‘Tis all just a matter of kicking my butt into doing stuff regularly.

  2. Should be interesting to see what happens when the Saddlebred Association starts hiring hunter judges for their hunter classes. Made a world of difference in the AQHA. I’d love to see the Saddlebreds introduce jumper classes.

  3. You Can have it all, but as you noticed, the hunter division at the breed shows are still very much in their infancy. However, the ASB sporthorse groups on facebook often have some nice examples of exactly what you are looking for…and they are out in the ‘real’ world competing (like my dressage ASB who IS a USDF All-breeds winner). Sometimes the facebook groups have some nice ones pop-up for sale, like this cute youngster (who I don’t know from Adam, but thought he looked nice). …so don’t give-up, keep looking!

  4. I saw an ASB in the Beginner Novice division at an event this weekend… it looked straight out of the 3-gaited ring, with super snappy knee action and a “set” tail. Looked VERY out of place to my eyes… he truly looked like he belonged flying down the rail at a Saddlebred show, i think he’d clean up!

    1. How did he jump? And yes, I realize – unless I got extraordinarily lucky – an ASB in eventing would be for the fun of it, not to win friends in dressage. They are athletic & sociable critters. We’d get shot down in dressage & romp around cross-country/stadium. Sounds like a good trade-off to me right about now.

  5. Well you know that my boys and I multi task. I’ve thought about it several times over the last few years, since we compete so much, I know that I would get tired/stale if it just one of our sports each weekend. Some people do that, but mixing it up is what works for me. We aren’t as good as a specialist but it’s more fun for me and I think for them too. And we do ok out there. (for other readers my boys are dogs – but it’s the same concept).

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