Road to the World Cup, Riding for the USA, Guest Post

Adventures in Saddle Seat

 

Stepping Stone Farm rider Reagan Upton is on the U.S. Saddle Seat World Cup Team. She is sharing her story. Welcome Reagan.

Part 1 [Have Saddle, Will Travel]
Part 2 [First Team Practice]
Part 3 [Three-Gaited & Five-Gaited]
Part 4 [Do I Miss Equitation?]
Part 5 [Traveling for the Team]
Part 6 [What Is Equitation?]
Part 7 [Rail Work vs Patterns]

Today is day 1 of the Saddle Seat World Cup. The five-gaited team competes Wednesday, July 4 and Friday, July 6 Thursday, July 5. Competition to be livestreamed on the USEF Network. This post was written before the competition began. Good Luck Reagan!
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Team Gear

It wasn’t until my recent years that I decided to add being on Team USA to my bucket list. I’ve always thought it would be super cool to be on the team, but it was only a few years ago when I decided this was something I really wanted to achieve.

World Cup is a bi-annual competition. In 2016, I considered trying out for the team, but decided not to when I found out the competition would be the same week as my national championships. I chose to compete at Nationals. Turns out that was not a bad decision. I won both the Adult USEF Medal and UPHA Adult Challenge Cup unanimously that year.

When 2018 tryouts came around, I decided it was now or never because I was not getting any younger. I was invited to tryout and made the team. For some reason, until lately, my sense of accomplishment ended after I made the team. I thought “Yay, I made the team and now I get to add being USA World Cup team member to my riding resume”. Once I made the team, I was preparing for the competition as if it was another horse show. Ride your horse. Kick ass. Rinse and repeat. People would ask if I was getting excited or nervous. My internal response was always “not really… it’s just another competition.”

It wasn’t until recently when someone (our beloved Katherine) told me that she thought I was too close to it to see how unspeakable cool the whole thing is. And you know … she is right. World Cup is the only international saddle seat competition. It is basically the saddle seat Olympics. The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) treats the saddle seat team the same as they do their Olympians for other disciplines. We get the same attire as the Olympians and considered a legitimate part of Team USA. That is pretty freaking cool!!

I am now recognizing and letting it soak in how rare of an opportunity this is and how this is not just another competition. I am representing my country and that creates a sense of pride. That also creates a sense of fear. If I don’t ride well I won’t just be letting myself down but I will also be letting my country down.

So if someone were to ask me now if I am getting excited or if I am getting nervous, my response to both would be “HELL YES!”

Categories: Horse Shows, Horses, Saddle Seat

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