Awareness of the outside world. I love this idea. Winners at each level rode at the awards presentation, “To show the progression of the Dressage horse from the earliest stages of the journey to GP.” Cob Jockey: IDS GMO Year End Awards and Symposium. Also this one, a model horse show with donated models. Braymere Custom Saddlery: Circle C Girl Scout Show, by Stephanie Blaylock.
The ultimate expression of no stirrups is no tack at all.
Years ago, I had the opportunity to watch the Foxfield Drill Team at one of the indoor shows, probably Washington at the Capitol Centre. I was most taken with the demo. I want to try it.
Side note. The announcer burbled on about magical this and that. I didn’t buy it. I saw nice horses, good training, and good riding. Why introduce fantasy when reality is impressive enough?
I have ridden à la Foxfield twice.
Incident the first. George was far more suitable than my horse at the time. The best place to jump was in the owner’s front yard. We moved a set of standards and had at it. George obligingly hopped over the small jump. Of course, once I landed, I had no steering. I may have had a neck rope, history does not record. Whatever I had, it wasn’t doing me any good. George cantered a few more strides and stopped. This brought him under a shade tree. While he loitered under the spreading branches, my head and upper body were among the branches. This was during a cicada emergence. I was surrounded by bugs and bug carcasses. A lot of bugs and bug carcasses. I screamed. A lot. George stood there, looking innocent, ‘What? I did what asked.’ [Throwback Thursday, The Whatever Horse, Guest Photo]
Incident the second. Previous Horse. This was back when round pens were all the rage. I built one out of standards and poles. A pen made out of jumps. For a horse showing in jumpers. Proof that poor choices are not limited to the young. Fortunately, when he exited stage right, he had the decently to land directly underneath me. I may have been airborne.
The time I did bareback hill work with Previous Horse and insisted that he retain his less-preferred lead up the steepest part of the hill. He expressed his displeasure. He went up; I went up. He went down; I went down. He went up; I went up. He went down. I … lost the plot and went down while he was coming back up. Bareback. On a Thoroughbred. Wham. It was years before long periods of sitting were comfortable. Plane rides were entertaining.
Finally, I rode Previous Horse with a saddle but bridleless in a small, round pen during a clinic. Nothing dramatic to report.
Thus ends my sans stirrup, sans tack stories.
Stay safe. Stay sane.