Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Archive for the ‘Horse Shows’ Category

I Do It All, But Not as Well As Milton Does

Saddle Seat Wednesday

I did not show last weekend. I did not feel ready.

Between rain, the holidays, the cold snap, and riding (yay!) and driving Milton, I’ve only had two saddle seat lessons since the last show [Show Report]. This was not enough to give me confidence that Whiskey and I were ready to go back into the show ring.

It is possible that the more I ride the home team (Kermit dance!), the more my saddle seat will deteriorate [Pondering]. Although I have not yet figured a way to continue dressage lessons [Dubious Future], whenever I sit on Rodney, I try what I can remember of the exercises. Every time this happens, I reinforce my dressage/hunter/jumper/eventing habits and move farther from inexplicable correct saddle seat habits, i.e. hands in the air, grip with the knees, sit on the cantle. Riding Milton (yippee!) will double the effect.

Even Greg’s driving tips the balance away from saddle seat. Combined driving is based on eventing. Driven dressage is ridden dressage with cart added. Listening to his lessons and watching him at shows puts me in the d/h/j/e headspace.

I had a brief reprieve in November, but the only thing Nationals proved was that I can ride Dottie [Show Report], which is right up there with proving one can drive Alvin.

This isn’t a bad thing. I have two sets of horses to ride. (!!!) More learning is good. I have faith that I can do both, eventually. For a while, it’s gonna get confusing, mostly for saddle seat. The habits of 40 years will always win out over the habits of 5 years.

Confession: There was another reason I did not show. Greg was not able to join me. I showed at the first Winter Tournament without him. It was not fun. My rides were fine [Show Report]. Beforehand, not so much. As I’ve said before [NRHA 2016], I don’t get any less nervous when he is there, I just have someone to be nervous at. I hope I will get my act together sufficiently that I can show without such intense moral support, at least at the little, one-day shows. This weekend was not that time.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Show Photo: ProAm 2017

Saddle Seat Wednesday

Bzzzt … Thank you for playing … You are the weakest link …

Doug Shilfet Photography. Web image of purchased photo.

Originally, I didn’t want to remember anything about this show:

This is the first time I did not buy a riding picture. It was that bad.
[Show Photo: Pro-Am 2017, The Wonderful Mr. Whizbang]

In the interest of completing the historical record, I went back and ordered. Why buy a bad photo? There was at least one where Desi was cute. Mostly she looked annoyed. I was a cross between grinning jack-o-lantern and deer-in-the-headlights in all of them. It was a horrible show [Show Report: Riding at ProAm 2017, or Showing Without My Security Blanket I] that ushered in a horrible spring/summer [Sine Die Saddle Seat, Pondering the Hiatus]. Why not get the picture that reflects the true situation?

My trifecta of saddle seat sins: looking down, leaning forward, and riding off my lower leg. Observe the daylight between my knee and the saddle. At least my hands are up?

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Road to the World Cup: Have Saddle, Will Travel. Guest Post

Saddle Seat Wednesday

Coach Courtney’s daughter, Reagan Upton, is a (the!) leading saddle seat equation rider. She is the first adult to win the saddle seat triple crown: United Professional Horsemen’s Association Challenge Cup (Reagan won in 2015, 2016), USEF Saddle Seat Medal (2016, 2017), and the National Horse Show Good Hands Trophy (2017, held at The Mane Event for adults).

Her most recent adventure has been to qualify for the World Cup Team. In the spirit of the old Road To Rolex posts, I’ve asked her to share her story. Step one: getting there. Reagan and her mom flew to Missouri last December for team try-outs at William Woods University. The horse were supplied by the organizers. Usually when you need a saddle, you also need a horse. How do you ship a saddle when you aren’t taking a trailer?

Welcome Reagan.
Traveling with saddle:

I am 28 years old and have been riding for virtually my entire life, but have never encountered the issue of how to fly with a saddle.  I’ve never had my luggage lost before so I figured I was due for it and this would be the weekend it happened. I had my suit, hat, boots, gloves, and everything for horse show hair in that bag. Everything else that might get lost could be purchased at a Missouri Walmart.


I am a person that plans EVERYTHING in advance and had to make sure I had all the minor details worked out prior to getting to the airport.  I decided that I most certainly will be carrying on my saddle (by far my most precious cargo), but what would TSA think of me trying to get the chunky, bulky piece of leather through security?

So I Googled “how to carry on a saddle”. There were multiple forums on the subject that were very helpful.  A few people had experienced issues with the stirrups.  TSA had believed they could be used as “weapons” and required they be checked.  I decided to roll the dice and believed I could get them past security.

Once I got to the airport, I checked my luggage and descended upon the dreaded TSA checkpoint.  I had my saddle in a bag with the flaps fastened to each other to make the saddle appear smaller and to make it easier to roll through the security scanner.  I sat the saddle down on the conveyor belt and nervously watched it roll away.  I don’t know if I was just paranoid and expecting the worse, but it felt like the security guy stared at it for a lifetime.

At this point, I just knew they were going to search my saddlebag and begin arguing why I couldn’t carry it on. Another moment goes by and out pops my saddle. No questions asked or even any odd looks towards my direction. I picked up my saddle (with stirrups attached), placed it on my roller bag, and off I went to my plane.

We made it through with zero problems.

Fun fact: A saddle might not give you weird looks at the airport, but a whip case sure will!

Looking Back 2017, Saddle Seat

Saddle Seat Wednesday

What a weird year. I had horrid rides. I had great rides. I flaked out and didn’t ride at all. And yet, at the end of the day, I finished up in the same place as always: some blues, some reds, solidified my hold on second at Nationals. I haven’t heard the year-end results for the ASHAA, but – given the faces in the crowd – I suspect I ended up the same place there as well. I’m not sure what lesson the universe is trying to teach here.

Fortunately, my bad rides did not drag down my good rides. Unfortunately, my good rides did not elevate my bad rides. Sam & Dottie? Lovely. Everyone else? Not so much.

By the Numbers
Riding, 10 shows: 5 big, 5 little. Robert (Winter Tournament 2&3), Desi (ProAm), Snippy (Dixie Cup), Sam (MidSouth), Dottie (Alabama Charity, SSF, NACHS), Whiskey (Winter Tournament 1&2)

Driving, 7 shows: 3 big, 4 little. Alvin (Winter Tournament 3&1), Snippy (ProAm, MidSouth, Alabama Charity, NACHS), Whiskey (Winter Tournament 2)

Greg did one ASB driving show. After that, the pleasure shows with Bliss were enough fancy driving for him.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Show Report: Winter Tournament 2017-18 #2, Driving

Driving Thursday

Alabama Winter Tournament 2017-2018
Stepping Stone Farm
Chelsea, AL USA
Saturday, Dec 16, 2017
[Show Report]

26. Academy Driving with Whiskey – 1st of 2
Thank you to the Courtney Huguley for Whiskey

Back in November, Miss Courtney asked me to help her hitch a new horse. She took all the risk. I held the horse a little and then stood around with the metaphorical whiskbroom to pick up the pieces.

From the previous trainer, Miss Courtney had gotten conflicting reports on whether or not the horse, Whiskey, had been driven. Miss Courtney knew Whiskey’s original trainer and was pretty sure he was the type to drive his horses before teaching them to ride. Pretty sure. As she said, we all did a whole lot of praying in a short amount of time.

Whiskey was a star.

You could see him flipping through his mental files, trying to figure out where he’d done all this strange stuff before. The second time we hitched, Whiskey was all, “Yup. I remember this.” I took a turn that day. Third time, “I be a driving horse.” The fourth time Whiskey hitched, I drove without Miss Courtney warming him up and then Whiskey gave an intro driving lesson.

At the show, we took the precaution of hitching in the ring, given the chaos of horses coming in and out. Probably wasn’t needed. Whiskey was a total pro.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Show Report: Winter Tournament 2017-18 #2, Riding

Saddle Seat Wednesday

Alabama Winter Tournament 2017-2018
Stepping Stone Farm
Chelsea, AL USA
Saturday, Dec 16, 2017

1. Advance Horsemanship WTC Adult – 4th of 7
2. Advanced Equitation WTC Adult (Pattern) – 6th of 7
7. Pleasure Horse or Pony WTC Adult – 3rd of 4
Thank you to Courtney Huguley for Whiskey

Given the high-level suit riders in the class, fourth was a respectable ribbon to start with.

In the second class, we displayed a wee bit more, um, exuberance than was called for. For example, at the end of the equitation pattern we chose to canter back to the line-up rather than trot. That was not our only error.

During the break between classes, horse and rider brains got stuffed back into their respective boxes.

Third class was too quiet but at least not alarming. Best we were going to get at that point.

Whiskey looks to be my ride for a while. I need to learn how to get the flair without the flameout.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Winter Tournament (S)No Report

Today was supposed to be a show report. We did not have a show. We had snow.

Before anyone busts on the South for not handling winter conditions, allow me one word: Ice. Places that get lots of snow are places that stay cold. Snow continues to be snow. When we have snow, the temperature bounces back and forth across the freeze line. Snow becomes water becomes ice. Snowmageddon [Snow, Montage, Ice, Letters] happened when the warm roads melted the snow and the arctic air refroze it. No one drives well on sheets of black ice. Sending everyone out onto the roads at the same time to pick up kids from school? Okay, that was a poor choice. But I digress.

No horse show; no horse show report.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott