Where The Rot Sets In

Saddle Seat Wednesday

I had another long ponderment planned to build on last week’s discussion of my deteriorating saddle seat position [Back To Kindergarten]. I find myself without enthusiasm for the thinking. Short version.

1) The position is unfamiliar, which makes me insecure.

When things go well, I can cope. When things do not go well, I revert. I do not revert to hunter/jumper. I do not revert to bad saddle seat. I pick a third option. I revert to bad hunter/jumper. That looks all kinds of lovely in a saddle seat show ring.

2) I don’t like being in a car without steering and brakes.

Alvin canters off. Big refuses to come back from the extended trot. Sam bolts. Or rears. Or spooks. Robert hops into the air to protest too much leg.

Oh well.

In these cases, the horse and I are still connected. The horse is saying No!, but we are still conversing, after a fashion.

What I don’t handle is a horse – or the possibility of a horse – not in touch with reality. By this, I mean a horse so scared, or so mad, that they no longer know where they are, nor care where they are going. (Bill Walsh on the subject of ‘they’ as a gender-neutral third-person singular, scroll down. But I digress.) If I even think the horse is going to lose their shit, my cute equitation position is the first thing to go.

The latter is not uncommon. Folks who spend their lives schooling green horses, retraining problem horses, or tuning up client horses adopt positions that prioritize safety over style. My reaction is technically valid, just hypersensitive and extreme. Moi?

Both tendencies have been present as long as I have been riding saddle seat. Lately, they have been exacerbated by my New Tank Syndrome, i.e. riding saddle seat while reestablishing dressage/hunter/jumper [Kindergarten].

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

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