Spontaneous Showing, Show Report, Alabama Fun Show, ERA Stables, 2019

Adventures in Saddle Seat


ASHAA Fun Show
Elite Riding Academy Stables
Arab AL, USA
Saturday, September 7, 2019

3 Academy Driving, 1 of 2
With Whiskey Throttle
30 Academy Showmanship WTC Adult, 2 of 4
31 Academy Equitation WTC Adult, 2 of 4
With Sultan’s Miracle Man
Thank you Courtney Huguley for ever-willing Whiskey & the ever-fabulous Sam.

Last weekend, plans for the home team fell through. Instead of sitting around being pissy, I asked if I could be included in the horse show at the last minute. The following conversation ensued.

And that is pretty much how it went. No boundaries were pushed, but a good time as had by all. Yes, even Sam. BTW, Coach Courtney’s icon is from our demo a few years ago, [Alvin Goes To School]; mine is of The Ribbon [More Thoughts].

As I got into the cart, I tried not to think about the fact that I had not driven since the last Winter Tournament, back in February [Round & Round]. No problem. Class is simple. Whiskey is a pro. We got it done. I even managed to pass the other cart in a reasonably tidy manner at the trot.

I have a bad habit, both driving and riding, of floating the reins at the horse and saying, Go, Horsie Go! This is fine if you want the horse to thunder around on the forehand, in a free and frolicsome fashion. If you want the steed to stand up and salute, you have to ask. One of the rail advisors reminded me to do this in the middle of the second direction. We put in a few fancy steps right at the end.

Although the class itself went well, I was a hot mess before and after. Suit driving went first. We swapped drivers in the ring. I got in. I moved off. Coach Courtney said go left. I was trying to adjust my reins and get around the other cart and avoid squashing the other driver walking across the ring and I went left >>>>>. The fact that saddle seat classes always start counter clockwise <<<<< also escaped my attention. Sigh. After the class. Unhitching. Coach Courtney asked if my side was undone. Yes, I said, the safety was undone. The trace on my side? Not so much. Note to self. Driving leaks out of my head even faster than saddle seat.

When I mount up in saddle seat, I have to remind myself of the differences [Switching Gears]. I REALLY have to remind myself of the differences at the canter transition to remember to use outside-rein, outside-leg aids. Otherwise I use the inside rein and get a lovely counter-canter. Overall, the bulk of it comes back to me better than I had been expecting.

On the other hand, I could feel in the first class that the fine-tuning had left the building. I could not get my shoulders back enough. They were okay but not equitation-level snappy.

In the second class, Coach Courtney had me motivate Sam a little more. That I could do. The dressage shows and hunter classes have reminded me how much more I prefer showing when the focus is on the horse. I heard a few startled 'Look at him go!' comments, as we zipped by. These days, most people know Sam as a school horse for beginners. The audience said that Sam appeared to be having fun. I think even Sam was surprised to find that he still had a few show horse maneuvers left.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

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