How Many People Does It Take To Ride a Horse?
All of them.
People to transport the horse.
People to care for, feed and, clean up after the horse.
People to help shop for clothes.
People to do my hair.
People to do my makeup.
People to pin my sleeves at the last minute when they luff in the breeze.
People to manage the tiny buttonholes.
People to check that my tie is straight.
People to tack up while I stand around not getting dirty.
People to hold my jacket when I get ready to go.
People to hand me lipstick for a last minute touch up.
People to warm up self and horse.
People to give me the nod at just the right moment to storm into the ring.
People to sit around the edges of the ring reminding me of my riding sins.
People to cheer when the results are announced.
People to put on the neck ribbon.
People to remind me which direction to go in a victory pass.
People to throw dirt to perkify horse ears in the photo.
People to reverse the process while I stand around hugging people.
Go Team Stepping Stone!
What Would You Do?
Coach asks me to check the judges’ card for one of the kids. Hmmm? Being an inquisitive type, I check the posted results from my classes on Friday. Second class. Yup, 6th of 7. First class. Well. The announcer read the card wrong. I wasn’t 6th. I was 7th.
I followed the directives of the announcer in good faith. Do I keep my green ribbon? However, I know I was last. Should I fess up to the organizer? In the end, I felt morally compelled to swap out my ribbons. Besides, I didn’t have a pretty, purple ribbon.
This happened again for the driving class on Saturday. I was announced 4th but the card had me 5th. Fuck it. If they can’t figure out how to run a horse show, it’s not my job to do it for them. I kept my white ribbon. Besides, I already had a pink.
Where Should I Go?
Finish Your Pass! From my first saddle seat show [Sorta], when I pulled up immediately, I have tried to remember this. On the long side, keep going. On the short side, stop.
In my second class, we are trotting in the second direction. We are told to walk. Okay, I’m still headed across what would be the short side of a dressage arena, i.e. across from C. I have not turned right to head down the long side, M-B-F . Therefore, I walk.
Turns out, the long side/short side distinction is more of a suggestion than a geometric directive.
To a dressage rider, I stop between G&I. To every saddle seat rider filling the arena, I am randomly coming down to a walk in the middle of the ring. This is not done. So not done.
What Do The Horses Think?
Have the nerve-inspired bout of Tourettes before getting in the cart.
Me, sitting in cart, says: “… shit, shit, shit …”
Alvin, listening attentively, hears: ” … trot, trot, trot …”
In the schooling ring, Alvin is all business. On the way out, he sashays across the warm-up ring. As soon as his feel hit pavement, the air completely leaves the balloon and he says, ‘We’re done. I’m goin’ home.’
After the schooling session, I want to be nice. So, I stop Sam in order to get off, loosen the girth, and walk him back. This is not what Saddlebreds are used to. They are ridden back to their stalls. ‘Why are you making me stop? Why aren’t we going back to my bedroom? Why are you doing this weird thing to me?’
What Did It All Look Like?
Sandra Hall Photography. Classes listed yesterday [Part 1]. I’m easy to find in all 8 classes. I’m the only one with a helmet: black on Friday, black with bling on Saturday, & blue on Sunday.
I have ordered NAF14-038-012 (driving) & NAF14-067-052. Sam may look better elsewhere, but my inner 12 year old wants the victory pass photo. Note during the line-up for the last class, everyone else is looking straight ahead in a poised and confident fashion. I am looking off to the side. I hope I am watching another competitor ride the pattern, but I doubt it.
I’ve learned a tremendous amount about riding while polishing my position. Certainly, there is more to learn. On the other hand, I could lead a rich and fulfilling life if I never rode in another equitation class. On the third hand, I still don’t have a big, fluffy blue …