More Thoughts, More Loot, Nationals 2018

Adventures in Saddle Seat


tldr: Won 5 weeks ago. Am still obsessed. Am likely to be for a while.

[That Elusive Sunday Blue, Show Report, National Academy Championship Horse Show, 2018]

Show Team High Five
Photo by Shannon Dove Alsbrooks

The two riders were trying to give each other a high five, but their mounts were not cooperating. I stepped in the middle to complete the gesture using the transitive principle of high fives. LtoR Virginia Hannah on Tigger By Tiger aka The World’s Greatest Horse, me, Madelyn Shockey on Radiant Promise.

Clothing courtesy of An Equestrians Touch. Clothing being modeled on Tigger’s stall door.

In the past, the Pleasure Final ribbons have come with a check and the Equitation Final winner has gotten an embroidered director’s chair and jacket. Do I have to tell you how badly I coveted that jacket?

This year, Pleasure Final places got a gift certificate and clothing, vest for the winner – that would be me – and hats for second and third, Prizelist.

BTW, If they’d had these prizes in previous years, I would have five hats [Red Queen]. Eq has always been winner take all.

I have changed my phone’s contact icon to a close-up of the rosette. I smile every time I send a message.
The competitiveness at Nationals was way higher than in my local adult Academy classes. At most shows, I am first into the ring. ASB riders are not used to being alone under the judge’s eye. I am. So, I am not fazed by going first. Usually, my fellow entrants are happy to let me. Not at Nationals. I had to maneuver to be first. When that didn’t seem to be working for me, we switched to later in the parade.

During the class, it was hard to get a clean pass. No one was languishing on the rail. Everyone was clogging lanes four and five. The 13 riders felt like a crowd of twice that many.

At the end of the class, the line up was much more of a stepped-on ant hill than usual. During the year, even in the larger championship classes, we all sorta stroll into the line up. At Nationals, it was horses in every direction, at full speed.

In terms of attitude, Nationals was about on level with local shows when I first rode in it. It’s gotten more and more cutthroat over time. This year was out of the park.
I do not talk to my ribbon. I do not pat my ribbon. I do not tell my ribbon that it is beautiful. Not at all. That would be weird.

Gift Certificate courtesy of Winner’s Circle Horse Supply. Sadly, my need for ASB tack is limited and there are only so many socks one can order. So, I traded my gift certificate to Coach Courtney for lesson credit. I am mentally putting the money towards a truly staggering photo bill from the official show photographer. I went a little nuts. As you will see tomorrow.
Would I go back? Well, there is still the equitation final. As for the pleasure classes, rules say out after two wins. So, I can still ride in both divisions. It would be fun to go back with a competitive horse on whom I feel solid enough to ride with confidence and flair. But that is true of any horse show. In any event, I have proven singularly inept at predicting my future. Every year, I say never again. Then, come November, there I am in Murfreesboro.

2013 “I could lead a rich and fulfilling life if I never rode in another equitation class.” [Show Report]

2016 “Would I go back? Oh. H*ll. No. I am tired of Academy. I am finished with Nationals. If I never see Tennessee Miller Coliseum again, it will be too soon. Over. Done. Not happening. The curtain is down and has been nailed to the floor.” [Show Report] I’ve ridden at Nationals twice since then.

Besides, I don’t have a jacket yet.

Impressing, or failing to impress, the judges, depending which class this was.
Photo by Shannon Dove Alsbrooks

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

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