Standing on the saddle soap box

At the beginning of April, Hank and I entered three online horse shows: a western dressage show, a stock horse show, and an open show.

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Two of these shows offer the competitors the chance to watch their competition complete their runs in a given class, which is useful to see how you compare to the winning ride. Winners have not been announced in these two shows yet; the deadlines for submission have either just passed or have not arrived yet.

The problem I’m noticing in a few of these videos – mainly by the western folks – is that they’re not really taking the show seriously. Many of the videos look like warm-up rides, with riders lifting up their reins and bumping their horse’s head down. This is problematic, as the judge has the ability – and *is* – looking at you the entire time. It’s not a training session – treat it like an actual show.

Even basic horsemanship position is lacking a bit. Although I know I don’t have the perfect position myself *cough* heels *cough*, I do know that my free arm should be at a 90 degree angle by my side and my general position in saddle or on the horse should not change.

Showmanship suffered too, with horses not square and pivots turning into downright turns. Again, not every run is perfect – that’s hard to achieve, if not impossible. But in a format to where you have the ability to video the most correct run to submit, do it.

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Anyway, that’s the small rant of the day, so I’ll get off my saddle soap box. I know some folks are still learning or have been out of the showing world for a bit, and that’s alright.

I just know my trainer would give me heck if I* submitted videos like these to be judged.

*(Of course, taking my skill set into account is a big factor in this equation, as is the skill set and experience Hank has.)

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