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CNER United States Pony Club Dressage Rally - May 11, 2019

Our very first ever PC rally was this past Saturday at Apple Knoll Farm in Millis, MA. It kind of cracks me up that I joined PC for the express purpose of access to more jumping instruction opportunities, and my first mounted experience is a dressage rally hahaha.  

But honestly, it was so much fun.  Maybe it is because I am so used to showing alone or maybe because I love the show prep and set up just as much (if not more) than the actual riding, but competing in a PC rally is now one of my most favorite experiences.  And I cannot wait to do more!  I think the only thing different for this show was having to label EVERYTHING with my name.  Otherwise, my show prep was just the same as normal.

Sadly, our original team of four riders ended up dwindling to just two, as one young rider ended up sick with a 103 fever and a barn was quarantined because of a horse with EHV-4 so none of the PC members from that large boarding barn could attend. Therefore, my remaining teammate and I were split …


Longtime readers know that I fooled around with saddleseat last year (read here and here) on my big mare.  I know very little about saddleseat, but Reva has a big trot and I liked the way the clothes look, so I thought WHY NOT?  LOL!  I am stupid and brave, what can I say?  I basically looked like a hunt seat rider dressed in a saddleseat suit and tack.  :-D  Looking at the pics now, I see how low my hands were, etc.  But we had a blast!  I knew that we were not perfect, but it was about having fun (and wearing cool clothing! LOL!!!)

In an effort to actually LEARN more about this discipline for real, I took my first saddleseat lesson today!  It was super fun!  I love that my instructor Theresa did not make me feel like a complete idiot!  LOL!  I rode a cute chestnut Saddlebred mare named Gina.  (Oh, how I love chestnut mares!!) Theresa's daughter rode her in a big show last fall and did quite well.

Obviously, the mare looks 100000 times better when ridden by someone who knows what they are doing!  LOL!  But I figured this was a fun photo to share!  
Anyway, it was definitely interesting to be on a horse that moves so differently than I am used to.  My biggest problems right now are not sitting back far enough in the saddle and not keeping my hands high enough.  And trying to figure out how to tighten one rein (the snaffle) while not touching the other rein (the curb) is going to take some getting used to!  Gina was uncomplicated to ride, but I know she was a bit confused by me and my wishy washy aids.  We basically just walked, trotted, and cantered while I tried to stay on and not completely embarrass myself, and I had so much fun.  Her gaits were nice and the way she moves is different than what we look for in dressage or hunt seat.  Her canter was very comfortable but felt so rocking and odd!  It even sounded different to me!  She doesn't bend like I expect her to, so that will take some time for me to understand as well.  

I am going back next weekend for another lesson.  I'd like to take a bunch, because I think it is a cool new thing to learn!  It is funny that some people have been a bit taken aback by my desire to try something new.  This completely drives me nuts.  I admit I will always love dressage and eventing and will probably always show in those disciplines.  Any horse I own will be ridden with dressage basics.  I love my dressage lessons with Judy and will resume those once the footing improves (we are in the midst of ice and snow here...).  

But I have never been a discipline snob.  The only thing I am not too fond of is the way QHs are ridden at the high levels, but all that means to me is that I know I personally will never ride that way.  Do I care what people do with their horses?  No way!  As long as you are having fun and taking good care of your horse, then knock yourself out.  I would never look down on or crack jokes about someone doing something different with their horse.  I think it is cool to see/learn about new things.  I have friends with Hackney ponies, and while I know NOTHING about how to ride/show them, I think it is totally cool.  I have friends who only like to trail ride.  Do I think they are beneath me or that I should crack jokes because they don't compete like I do?  NO WAY!

And as I explained it further, I have won a shit ton of ribbons, awards, championships, year ends, etc. with my three horses and I have nothing to prove to anyone.  Sparky is retired, Dreamy is pretty much plateaued, and Reva is only six so I have lots of time to do lots of things with her.  I have been riding for nearly 30 years and I just have a desire to be versatile!  I have NEVER tried saddleseat before now.  Will any of my current horses ever be truly competitive in open saddleseat competition?  No way.  Do I plan to buy a Saddlebred?  No, at least not right now.  (And actually, I think if I ever wanted to actually ride and show saddleseat I would buy a Morgan.  They were my first love after all.  :-)  Sorry to my SB friends!  LOL!!)  But why not try something for fun and enjoy myself?  Someone asked me recently what my horse/showing plans were for 2012.  I immediately answered "to have fun".  And this is totally in line with that goal.  I have a plan to try team penning this year too as well as foxhunting.  We might just do them each once, but I have always wanted to do these things.  

I have never been able to choose between straight dressage and eventing, so I have always done both.  I have played around in hunter/pleasure shows forever as well.  So why not add saddleseat, team penning, and foxhunting to my repertoire?   

Think before you judge someone.  Obviously this applies to life in general, but also to horses.  Nothing irks me more than someone being a discipline snob.  Enjoy the variety of what is out there to do with horses.  Even if YOU don't want to do it with your horse, appreciate that others do.  There is more to life than 20 meter circles in a dressage ring.  

Even though I really do LOVE riding 20 meter circles in a dressage ring.  LOL!!!!  ;-D  Just writing that makes me want to take a dressage lesson...


AareneX said…
Clapping and cheering for your efforts at trying something new! Hooray for you. I enjoy reading about what you learn, even though it's not on my agenda for at LEAST another 20 years.

Now, if we could just get you out of an arena and out onto a few miles (okay, just 25 to start) or trails....!

Dressager said…
Amen! I love me some versatile horses and riders!
Laura said…
I think it is really cool to try other horse disciplines! Why not? I wouldn't try saddleseat right now, because I would totally fall off! I think it is great that you are taking some lessons - after riding for a long time, it is good to mix things up a bit and get a different perspective. Have fun!
Kate said…
I agree- versatility is under rated by many. I personally am not a huge fan of saddle seat, and for my own personal views and opinions will never show in that discipline (Just like I'm not a huge fan of some of the western game & rodeo events) but I agree that trying it would be fun. Though I think I'd probably try driving before saddle seat... always been interested in that.
Best of luck with your lessons!