Riding Loose

Saddle Seat Wednesday

I am taking some time off from lessons. Nothing serious. Post-season recuperation I should have taken after Nationals [Report]. I didn’t at the time because a) I wanted to go to Perry to finish out the season [Report]; b) I wanted Greg to drive at Winter Tournament, and I knew he wouldn’t if I didn’t [Report]; & c) I’m too stupid/stubborn to stop even for my own good.

To keep my hand in, I have been binge-watching USEF Network on demand videos of three-gaited classes from the World’s Championship Horse Show.

In NASCAR, a “loose” racecar drifts out with the backend around turns. Many drivers are not comfortable with a car that does not go where it is told. OTOH, loose cars are fast cars. Winning drivers learn to deal with what the engineers hand out, rather than dictating how the car should handle.

See where I’m going with this?

I’ve talked about obedience – or the lack thereof – in saddle seat before [Obedience Epiphany, Back to the Bigtime]. A concommitant to obedience is precision. Yes, an ASB must canter when asked. OTOH, if the horse canters here or six feet farther on, mox nix. In dressage, six feet further on means you have blown the movement. In jumping, six feet to the left means you are jumping the standard. Even in saddle seat equitation, the patterns allow a degree of rider discretion. The ring doesn’t have a host of letters triangulating each footfall.

While Saddlebreds may be loose, they are not cars. Saddlebreds have expectations of their riders. They have been trained to go. You better go with. If that means the rider has to leap on while the horse trots away from the mounting block, meh, halting is only useful in the line-up.

Therefore, I have a mantra for my saddle seat lessons: Be Ready for the Ride.

Spotted at Freedom Hall
Spotted at Freedom Hall

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