Academy Pleasure WTC Adult, 3rd of 3
& Academy Equitation WTC Adult, 2nd of 3
Well, that was a first.
I completely and utterly failed to get the left-lead canter. Oh, I’ve blow a lead before, but always corrected before it was too late. Not this time. Had it been a dressage test, I would have gotten a 0 for the movement.
Trump and I had problems with that lead in our last lesson. As soon as I sat up & asked nicely, he was cool with it. I wasn’t worried about the show. I should have been. When he failed to execute upon first request, I descended into bad habits. Previous Horse was an ex-racehorse. He would canter by telepathy. I got in the execrable habit of pitching my shoulder at him & letting him plop into a flat canter. Saddlebreds do not move in a neck-out, nose-first hunter frame. They certainly do not move in a neck-out, nose-first, on-the-forehand, bad hunter frame. Trump was all kinds of confused by what I was asking him to do. When in doubt, he racks.
I did this in both classes. I have no idea why I wasn’t last in my second class. Third place must have had an even worse day.
Wait, that’s not all.
In the first class, I lost my stirrups at the canter, the one in the second direction that we managed to achieve. I never have trouble keeping my stirrups. First, I lost one. I had about two strides wherein I could be slick and pick it back up. Instead, I lost the other one. At this point, I had the choice between fishing for my stirrups or steering the horse. I hunkered down, hung on, and waited until we walked.
When one is learning the sitting trot, it is often easier without stirrups. I’m told that eventually one can sit equally well with or without. I never got this far. But I did spend a lot of time trotting and cantering without stirrups. No biggie. I’d already blown the class anyway.
Otherwise, at the four trots & the one canter I didn’t whiff, I was stellar. I was tight with my upper body and piloted flawlessly with my hands in the ideal saddle seat position.
I ride one way. I get good ribbons. Smiles all around. I ride what seems exactly the same way. I lose. Displeasure is voiced at various decibel levels. I do not doubt that a difference exists. However, I really and truly cannot feel the difference. If I can’t feel it, how can I fix it? It would be asking someone who is colorblind to pick out drapes.
I’m not that good a hunt seat/dressage seat rider. I’ve done a lot of both, had fun, and been blessed with great moments, but no results that would raise eyebrows if listed in The Chronicle of the Horse. I’ve just accumulated sufficient muscle memory to screw up the saddle seat. Yes, I am annoyed with myself today.
(It is possible to be a lovely, sympathetic rider without ever competing: educating greenies, galloping racehorses, trial-riding retirees. Not me. Winning was, and is, my goal. With a happy, working partner, but winning.)
Afterthought: Trolling through the archives reveals similar sentiments expressed back in September using close to the same words [Show Report: UPHA]. When I was still in Walk-Trot, the problem was intermittent. I won more classes than not. Now, my lack of saddle seat equitation has become more obvious. I suspect because a) hunter/jumper/event showing is mostly at the canter, therefore more muscle memory & b) cantering is closer to jumping, therefore more Cowabunga!