Adventures in Saddle Seat
Optimus’ dance card was filling up. Would I mind riding Sam at the next show?
If I must.
This is me, nobly taking one for the team.
Since I seem to be destined to ride Sam as long as the universe and Sam will let me, we have been concentrating on showmanship, learning those little tweeks that elevate a round from good to great. This is best done on a horse that the rider knows and feels comfortable with.
Takeaway – Horse
Always be asking for the horse to come together more. Every stride. It is sooo easy for both horse and rider to have a sparkling moment and then sliiiide gradually into doing less work over the next 2-3 strides. It is the rider’s job to be asking for the horse to stay uppp, stay uppp, stay uppp (insert Monty Python sketch). Saddle seat showing is about maximum compression for a short amount of time.
This doesn’t mean pushing the horse beyond his capacity. It means knowing what your horse can do at and asking for him to work and stay with you at each moment. The horse may be a 22-year-old lesson horse, but he can be the best 22yo lesson horse he can be. Credit for the assist to SSF Instructor Emily for helping me clarify this [Learning From Youth].
Takeaway – Rider
The rider has no excuse. My 22yo lesson horse is unlikely to carry his head up and back in the classic chesspiece outline of a Louisville victory pass. I, on the other hand, should be riding as if he will do so in the next stride. I am sitting up and back because my horse is just that level of fabulous.
Have a plan. Be deliberate. Ride every line, every corner, with intent. No sitting on the rail looking pretty in a perfect position. Take that perfect position off the rail and show your horse.
I’m exhausted just typing this.
Thank you for reading,