For years my daughter Kari had been stuck wearing ties with my limited tie tying abilities, until Frierson from Frierson's Custom Riding Apparel, took the time to explain the Shelby knot to me. I think I had always been going with one simple loop over and under, and it always looked about half right.
The flat walk is an often challenging and sometimes hated part of horse showing. For horses as energetic and eager as American Saddlebreds, this leisurely gait can seem painfully slow and intensely boring, yet it remains a vital part of the class specifications for the pleasure division.
From horses that jig instead of walking, to riders that employ evasive techniques, everyone seems to be trying to avoid it. But the flat walk should not be dreaded but celebrated – and its importance recognized, but not exaggerated.
Evan Orr dressed for the mud at this year's Lexington. Here he runs alongside CH Moonlight Memories and McGee Bosworth wearing safe and weather appropriate boots.The rider is impeccably and beautifully dressed, the horse shines as only a show horse can under the lights of the arena, the tack sparkles, and the trainer… is wearing a tank top and flip flops? While problems with show ring dress are not common, they do happen, whether due to extreme weather conditions, forgetfulness or simple laziness. There are no clear-cut rules regarding attire for show ring attendants, but a few guidelines and some common sense can go a long way in choosing appropriate attire to wear when attending to something inside the show ring.
Today’s American Saddlebreds may look quite different than their original ancestors, but even then, the long necks, smooth gaits, endurance, and willing personality stood out to the founders of our country. In fact, the American Sadddlebred breed is deeply rooted in the history of the United States of America itself.
In an effort to promote everyone’s “self-esteem,” today’s youth sports often reward children simply for having the right uniform and equipment. But when participation trophies are awarded just for showing up, children miss one of the best opportunities competition can provide – the not always welcome, but very important lessons in sportsmanship. In fact, when it comes to equestrian sports, these lessons are as vital a skill to master as that of equitation.