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