Saddlebred Steadiness, Optimus at the Ellen Beard Clinic


Awareness of the outside world. The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

Ellen Beard
Success in the Saddles
Multi-Disciplinary Clinic
Stepping Stone Farm
Chelsea AL, USA
Friday 1 April & Saturday 2 April 2022

tldr: the school horse and the old lady hold their own against suit horses and their kids.

Reposted photo. Was bad about mounted media all weekend. [Saddlebred Attitude]

Folks rode their own horses twice and a school horse once. So that’s what I did. For my second session on Saturday, I swapped disciplines and rode Optimus. Everyone else had their school horse ride in the morning when I was having my second ride on Rodney, or trying to. [Thoroughbred Theatrics]

Which meant I was in the ring with some very nice horses, including two National Champions from last year and a Louisville Champion of Champions.

This round was in the nature of a practicuum. Less teaching, more showing what had been learned from previous sessions. Run as a pretend horse show class.

Some of the fancy horses were having a Big Time. I spent my round practicing traffic management in order to show my horse and to stay away from trouble.

So nice to be able to ride without having to wonder if the marbles will roll off the table. (Gives a hard side eye to the home team.)

I learned that “Speed is not your friend.” This is particularly true when a) one has just come from riding hunter/jumper/dressage/eventing, which is all about forward forward forward & b) one is on a school horse and is subconsciously trying to keep up with the fancy horses. I slowed down a hair and thought about presenting my horse within his ability.

Shades of Sam. On more than one occasion, Optimus wondered what I was doing up there. ‘If you would care to ride me like a Saddlebred, I will go like a Saddlebred.’ During the line up, Optimus kept moving around until I sat in the back of the saddle where I was supposed to be.

Personal Progress Unrelated To The Clinic

When I found out I was riding Optimus in the afternoon, I relaxed. Relaxed! I wasn’t fussed at all. I had a small moment while adjusting my stirrups but it passed and I was fine. Even at the mounting block.

Optimus isn’t Sam. Optimus will never be Sam. But then, Sam probably isn’t Sam anymore. In that the Sam in my heart is less and less related to the Sam who trotted on the earth. As with Previous Horse, time is casting a golden glow over memory. But I digress.

Optimus is his own horse. He is developing his own place as a horse I can be comfortable on.


Note to self. Must remember that one of those “kids” is now a young adult. Hard to move someone from one mental category to the other.


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