Why Not Rack Off Into The Sunset?

Adventures in Saddle Seat


Yesterday, I said that my life would be easy if I committed to saddle seat. So, why don’t I?

It’s expensive and I’d hate every minute of it.

Not riding or showing. I love the ASB attitude and showmanship. It’s the rest of the process that fails to appeal.

It’s expensive … Other people caring for your horse does not come cheap. Other people training your horse is an even faster wallet suck.

Let’s talk about showing. A new show outfit. A second suit if I wanted to do equitation. A show bridle. Fancy horse shoes. Show fees. Academy horses have several riders to share the costs. The show bill for my spiffy suit horse would be all on me.

… and I’d hate every minute of it. Someone else caring for my horse? No. Someone else making decisions about my horse? So much no. Someone else riding my horse on a regular basis? A thousand times no. I understand the paradigm. I know it works. Not for me. Not now. Not ever. Mine. Mine. Mine. Have I sufficiently conveyed my level of possessiveness?

If I had my heart set on ASB dreams, I would adapt. I would find a way to pay for it, as much of it as I could. I would come to terms with my control issues. If it was my dream, I’d deal. I just don’t want it enough. I don’t want it enough in any discipline. If the road to equestrian fame and glory means giving up the reins and being a guest on my own horse, I won’t go. I’ll keep my horses at home and stay a backyard hero.

I’ve said all of this six years ago, in my first year of showing saddle seat [Suiting Up]. Nothing has changed. Why repeat myself? I figured ‘Why not?’ was an reasonable response to yesterday’s post. So I answered the question.

One last note. Lack of barn drama is another benefit of the AOT life. Some barns have more; some barns have less. No barn is immune. The only sure-fire method to avoiding barn drama is the ability to walk away chanting, ‘Not my circus, not my monkeys.’ If I had a horse in training, at SSF or anywhere, I would be one of the monkeys.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

5 thoughts on “Why Not Rack Off Into The Sunset?

  1. I always dreamed of having my horses in my own back yard, knowing it would never happen. Even if they were just pasture pets, as mine ended up being anyway.

  2. I’ve been boarding a horse for what will be two years this spring. (We have three at home) It hasn’t always been fun, but it has been enormously productive. When purchased, he was a just gelded, coming on six year old who was a shut-down, somewhat stud-headed greenie. Now he’s a super-solid, major chill citizen. That couldn’t have happened at home. He’s had exposure to things he’d never get at my house. During the time I’ve been boarding I’ve ridden or ground worked him 5-6 days a week, which again, is something I couldn’t do at home. Short of walking him to and from his pasture, nobody has sat on him or done a single thing with my horse … he’s my project and mine alone, not theirs. Drama? Yes, every barn has that to some degree. (IMO, the barn owner can be the worst offender) But there are always options, including riding at a time when I pretty much know nobody is going to be there (the joys of being retired), or moving him it if gets to be too much. I’ve moved him because I didn’t like the care. I’ve moved him because I didn’t like the direction the barn was headed. I’ve moved him because he felt too far away. I’ve moved him because the price didn’t match the daily reality. Despite all that, he’s adapted well and we’ve made a ton of progress, as witnessed by his flawless behavior when we shipped and relocated just last weekend. Will we stay there forever? Nope. But I’m not sitting out the winter after all the progress we’ve made. Maybe next winter I’ll bring him home and just let him hang out for three or four months. We’ll see. But I would have to do so knowing I’m too old to ride outside in snow, slop and cold, and it would mean a full winter off for us both. Truth be told, at my age I board him as much to make sure I stay in year-round riding shape as he does. And keeping his head in the game means fewer springtime shenanigans, which is a win. 😉

  3. There’s a middle option – you could do AOT. Ask Courtney if she would board and do lessons but not full training so you’re still in charge of your horse day to day but you do 2 or 3 lesson rides during the week in addition to your own rides. It’s done- it’s more common in the mid-west than out east from what i’ve seen but it’s not unheard of and would probably get you more fun out of everything!

  4. Natural. Any use of the terms has to account for the amount of selective breeding that has gone creating all horse breeds. The ur-horse was probably a shaggy, stubby-legged, pony type.

    Boarder. A possible middle ground. Except, a) after 25+ years of keeping horses at home, I would be the world’s worst boarder & b) my area is very trainer driven. There are few barns that I know of where they feed your horse & then let you get on with your life.

    AOT. I really don’t know enough about performance saddle seat to pull this off. Intro dressage? Low-level hunter/jumper? Amoeba eventing? Sure. I can keep a horse in work with help from lessons.

    My dream? Depends on the day. Some days I feel it has died. I’m too old & have wasted too many opportunities. Other days I trudge forward. While this is neither healthy nor appropriately grateful, it is my headspace at the moment. .. and then I feel guilty that I am not leaping about, farting rainbows.


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