Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Archive for the ‘Saddle Seat’ Category

Safety Doesn’t Have to Be Ugly: Helmet-Hat Debut

Driving Thursday

Been There, Done That competed with her combined helmet & driving hat at the 31st Annual ASAC Spring Classic Horse Show. The green hat, by Debbie Navelski of RodeApple Hats, is designed to fit snugly over a helmet. [Guest Post: It’s Let’s-Wear-A-Helmet Day!]

The judge had no problem with a helmet in pleasure driving, giving the pair the victory in the first class.

The driver wanted to be sure that I credited owner Reagan Upton, trainer Courtney Huguley of Stepping Stone Farm, and of course, Rare Friends. Photo by Sandra Hall, used with permission.

For more helmet-hat action, Sandra Hall Photography > ASAC Spring Classic (once that icon is gone, Horse Show Proofs > 2018 ASAC Spring Classic 18) > Thursday Evening 1 to 26 > 23 Open Park Pleasure Driving & Friday Morning 27 to 44A >40 Open Park Pleasure Driving Stake.
Rare Friends elsewhere on RS, in his guise as an Academy horse.

[Show Report, Show Photo]
[Show Reports, Winter Tournament #1 & # 2, 2016/2017]
[Show Report, Winter Tournament #3, 2017]

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Going Gold Again

Saddle Seat Wednesday


Medal for points gained at last year’s shows. ASHA Academy Awards Program

Once you work your way up to gold, you can earn a new gold each year. There is a second tier, the Academy Master Medal Awards Program, “which encourages participation in promotion, education, and continued involvement with the American Saddlebred.” ASHA Youth Awards

I’ll leave speeches and club activities to the kids. I already have enough issues with competing in a beginner/youth division. Yes, I ride in adult classes. No, there are no up&out rules or time limits. Still, I’d rather be swimming with the big fish. That’s not happening at the moment. As I’ve said before, I am stuck in Academy limbo; at least I have Academy limbo to be stuck in. [Show Report]

Excuse me, what I meant to say was ‘How nice of them to send me an award.’

[I Get Gold]
[Loving The Loot], My Academy Award

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Winter Tournament Banquet 2015, Driving

Driving Thursday

(Continued from yesterday) … as it turned out, I won!


Alabama Winter Tournament Association, Facebook Group
End of Series Award
Academy Driving – 1st of 2
Thank you to the Wamble family for Alvin and to Courtney Huguley for Whiskey.

In the case of fewer blue ribbons versus a greater number of reds, it depends on the points assigned to each. Sometimes the math goes your way, sometimes it doesn’t.

Obligatory Grip & Grin
Photo by Courtney Huguley

I was out of proportion pleased to find out I won the division. As I made my way sedately and maturely back to my seat, I wanted to hug the award blanket to my chest and never let go. Admitting to an inner age of 12 may be an overestimation. 8? 6? 4?

[Show Reports: NACHS 2017 & Winter Tournament 2017-18 #1, Driving]
[Show Report: Winter Tournament 2017-18 #2, Driving]
[Winter Tournament posts]

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Winter Tournament Banquet 2018, Riding

Saddle Seat Wednesday


Alabama Winter Tournament Association, Facebook Group
End of Series Awards
Advance Horsemanship WTC Adult, 6th of 6
Advanced Equitation WTC Adult (Pattern), 5th of 5
Pleasure Horse or Pony WTC Adult, 4th of 4
Thank you to Courtney Huguley for Whiskey.

Eyeing the loot and questioning my decision to sit out two of the shows.

I had missed shows. I had not done brilliantly when I did show. I expected to be last. I went anyway.

a) I am a firm believe in attending awards ceremonies. If someone is nice enough to hold an competition for me to show in/spectate at, it is simple courtesy to stay for the final bow.

b) I didn’t want to be accused of showing up only when I won.

As it turned out … (more tomorrow).

The show names on the ribbons were used to call tables to the buffet line.

[Show Report: Winter Tournament 2017-18 #1, Riding]
[Show Report: Winter Tournament 2017-18 #2, Riding]
[Winter Tournament posts]

Treats for the sturdy steeds without whom this would not be possible, complete with bags and pens to note the name of a favorite horse.

These are Saddlebred treats. If any Thoroughbreds in the area would like to earn treats, then can qualify for their own banquet, thank you very much.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

ASB Lesson

Driving Thursday


Greg & Whiskey at Stepping Stone Farm

Since our driving horse isn’t driving at the moment, we went over to SSF for a lesson. Greg hasn’t been in a two-wheel cart since last October [Show Report Driving & Lessons, Milton’s First Carriage Drive] and hasn’t been behind a Saddlebred since last May [Show Report, Show Photos].

He did great, of course, as did Whiskey.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Road to the World Cup: Three-Gaited & Five-Gaited. Guest Post


Saddle Seat Wednesday


Stepping Stone Farm rider Reagan Upton is on the U.S. Saddle Seat World Cup Team. She is sharing her story. Welcome Reagan.

Part 1 Road to the World Cup: Have Saddle, Will Travel
Part 2: Road to the World Cup: First Team Practice
The World Cup riders are divided in a three-gaited team and a five-gaited team. At practice, we would sit and watch the other team. The three-gaited team practiced first while the five-gaited team watched, then we swapped out. There really isn’t a lot of separation between the two groups. We all do everything together as one with the exception of our practice rides.

While there is not much rivalry between five-gaited and three-gaited, I think there is some between the members of each team, but no one talks about it out loud. There are six members of my five-gaited team but only five can compete for the railwork and only five can compete for the pattern. Everyone is competing to not be that sixth person who has to sit out. It is probably the same with the three-gaited team.

The same person will not sit out both days of competition. Everyone is guaranteed to compete. So basically four riders will compete in both rail and pattern and the other two will be what we call “split”. They each will ride the same horse but one will ride the horse for the rail portion and the other rider will ride the horse for the pattern portion. The two split riders will have to wear the same number since scoring is based off back numbers.

Equitation on a five-gaited is exactly same as you would trotting and cantering. The same position applies. There is more leeway with your legs though. Squeezing with your lower leg is essential in balancing a horse while racking, especially through the turns, so it’s not expected to keep your lower leg perfectly still and off the saddle while at that gait.

America shows do not have five-gaited equitation classes. The UPHA used to host a five-gaited horsemanship class that was focused on equitation but they discontinued it. South Africa does have five-gaited equitation and it is quite popular. This is probably why SA beats USA’s butt a lot in the five-gaited International Competitions.

All of my Championship victories have been three-gaited. I chose the five-gaited team for a couple of different reasons. It was a safer route in my mind. Saddlebreds are the only breed that do five-gaited so I knew I would not have to go against the Morgan and Arabian riders. At trials, 20 riders tryout for the three-gaited team but only 12 tryout for the five-gaited. I played the numbers game and figured it would be easier to beat out six riders than 14. Another reason was I felt that I would more of an asset to the five-gaited team. Past five-gaited teams have been made of really good gaited riders but they did not have much of an equitation background. I felt my equitation skills would help the gaited team.

ASHAA Awards for 2017

Saddle Seat Wednesday

American Saddlebred Horse Association of Alabama banquet for the 2017 competition year.

My Ribbons & Trophies

Champion WTC Adult Showmanship
Champion WTC Adult Equitation
Champion Academy Driving
High Point Adult Academy Rider

The high-point prize was a hand-painted glass of your horse, in this case Milton.

At first blush, it seems silly to have a separate Adult High Point when there is only one Adult Academy division. However, if the award included both adults & kids, an adult might show often enough to win it anyway, as I did the first year [Awards]. This takes a ribbon away from a kid. Not a fan [Quietude]. It would be even more likely now, with my points from driving. I’m happy to have it the way it is.

Close-up of high-point table: Amateur, Juvenile, Academy Child, Academy Adult, Trophies, State Awards, Barn Awards.

Trophy Theory
Last year, the ribbons were the same, but suit got better trophies. This year, same trophies; fancier ribbons. Either way, I agree. Suit should have better loot.

Ribbon Tables. Academy on the left, suit on the right, high-point in the middle.

Amusing the Masses
This year, each suit division winner was introduced with one or two factoids. I imagine it was a slog for the trainers write up, particularly for folks who won multiple divisions. For the audience, it was a great way to enliven a long list of names.

List of previous posts [Saddle Seat Banquets].

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott