Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Show Report: ASAC 2016

Saddle Seat Wednesday

The 29th Annual ASAC Horse Show
Sponsored by The American Saddlebred Association of the Carolinas
March 10-12, 2016
T. Ed Garrison Arena
Pendleton SC, (Clemson University)

Sultan’s Miracle Man
Academy Equitation Adult WTC. 3 of 6
Academy Showmanship Adult WTC, 3 0f 6
Academy WTC Championship A, 0 of 17
Thank you to Courtney Huguley for the chance to ride her wonderful horse.

Riding Results
It was a Goldilocks show. In the first class. I went too fast. In the second class, I went too slow. In the third class, I had too much competition.

First Class
I remain undecided on the crossover between saddle seat and dressage. In the morning. Sam was in a mood. Mindful of our experience at the last show [Report], I made sure not to pull (even though he started it!). I was taking and giving with my reins the entire time. Not enough. Apparently, the approved saddle seat process is a solid whoa-dammit heave then a letting-go of the horse, lather-rinse-repeat. This more extreme than dressage aids. In dressage, the rider softens the hands but stays in contact with the horse.

Or maybe not.

The more I ponder post-show, the more I wonder if releasing all pressure to the point just before slack in the reins is closer to correct dressage. I can’t speak with authority. While I’ve done a lot of dressage, it’s all been at the shallow end. Perhaps what I think of as “soft contact” has been hanging on the horse’s mouth & pulling the nose down.

This is my current riding triangle [Correction]. Is saddle seat similar to dressage, or not? Is what I think of as dressage similar to what really happens in dressage, or not?

Second Class
All of my classes were short. Passes were half-way around the ring, or once around the ring at most. For the second class, I entered cautiously. By the time I decided I could ride Sam instead of argue with him, we were lining up.

Championship Class
Over 30 WTC entries were split into two Championship classes. It was a traffic madhouse. Awesome. It was a great chance to practice getting seen. One of the cheering section said I fought well.

I believe the six adult riders were split between the two classes. In any event, the one adult who placed in my class took 8th. She was the winner of both adult classes. I didn’t have a chance. However, I’d rather ride in a class of 17 and not place than win a class of two. Well, let’s be serious, I’d rather WIN a class of 17. Baby steps.

Mental Maneuvers
The goal for this show was to work toward a sustainable mindset. In the past, I’ve been all about the win. It was successful …

Reserve Grand Champion Adult WTC Pleasure National Finals  Reserve Grand Champion Adult WTC Equitation National Finals November 2015

Reserve Grand Champion
Adult WTC Pleasure National Finals
Reserve Grand Champion
Adult WTC Equitation National Finals
November 2015

… but lead to meltdown [Show Report], burnout [Whither Now?], and an excess of nerves [Why Bother With Nerves?].

As with establishing other healthy habits (food, exercise), change can be difficult. Being less geared up made me more moody. People repeatedly asked if I was okay. By Saturday morning, I was crying and dry-heaving in my hotel room. Fortunately, the caffeine experiment [Physiology of Nerves] continues to work. Just holding the box settled my stomach, knowing that relief was imminent. (Despite recent evidence to the contrary [SitRep Milton], I’m not a weepy person. Or, at least, I don’t think of myself as a weepy person.)

Two other factors affected my weekend. First, I was not tweeting [Today]. On the upside, I did not have tweets to distract me. I was not analyzing the scene in order to identify and distill pithy comments. I was fully in the moment. On the downside, I did not have tweets to distract me. I was fully in the moment.

Second, Greg wasn’t there. Now that the home horses can take care of themselves, Greg has been coming to more shows. 🙂 He didn’t come to this one. 😦 I’m getting used to having him in my corner.

BTW, I had a great time in my classes. Always do. That has never been the problem (touch wood). It’s the run-up that wrecks me.

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