Why I Am Not A Saddle Seat Genius, And Probably Won’t Be

Adventures in Saddle Seat


Haven’t had a lesson in a while, so I took a look back. This year, 2018, marks my seventh year in saddle seat, including five show-heavy years from 2013 to 2017 [2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017]. You’d think I’d understand how to ride an American Saddlebred.

I’m not fishing for pats on the back. I’ve had some great times and some great rides. As for truly grokking the sport? Mostly I’ve learned what I don’t know. While I have street cred for my skills at the introductory level, I don’t grasp the first thing about piloting a horse on the green shavings [Why Green?].

Jumper Analogy. I have been jumping crossrails on school horses. I have been to Crossrails Nationals. I haven’t a clue how to ride a 1.2 meter class (or 3′ 11″, the lowest level for Amateur-Owner Jumpers).

Dressage Analogy. First level. First-Level Nationals. FEI levels remain a mystery. I’m told dressage is actually interesting once one climbs out of the basement.

I’ve been introduced to the show bridle, the saddle seat term for a double bridle [Different Versions of the Same Thing]. While I have ridden and shown with it, I am still in the Do No Harm phase. I don’t actually know how to use the the daft thing to influence the horse.

Tack Analogy. Wear spurs. Try not to poke holes in your horse. Wear spurs. Send subtle and complex message to your horse – so I hear.

Pleasure Driving. I am only just starting to be more than a happy passenger.

Jumping Analogy. Grab mane. Hang on. Versus. Follow over the fence with a sympathetic hand. Turn in the air. Land in position to adjust for the next fence.

A handful of nice horses have carted me around at a rack [Let ‘Em Rack]. And, of course, those times the horse racked when we weren’t supposed to [Trump-the-Horse, Robert]. Getting & keeping it on command, under pressure? Not a prayer.

Dressage Analogy. You know counter-canter. You learn tempi changes. Your horse throws a lead change when you want counter-canter, or counter-canter when you want a lead change. Eventually, you sort it all out.

I bring this on myself. My lack of familiarity with fancy saddle seating starts with my stubborn refusal to move up to performance classes. [Suiting Up]

Life Analogy. I am stuck in an eternal Academy limbo. At least I have eternal Academy limbo to be stuck in. [Show Report]

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

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