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  • Written by Julie Unger
  • Category: Learn

The No Stirrup Debate

Once again it’s “No Stirrup November,” which is celebrated not just in the saddle seat world, but across all equestrian disciplines. But, as it does each year, this unofficial month-long celebration raises the question … Is going without stirrups actually a good thing?

There is a philosophical divide within equitation – some believe no stirrup work is vital to the practice of equitation, while others believe it is without merit, and may actually hinder the rider’s posture in the saddle. Today, many patterns include no stirrup work, and many riders enjoy the challenge of it. However, Helen Crabtree, one of the most prominent equitation instructors in the history of saddle seat riding – and the woman who literally wrote the book on saddle seat equitation – never shied away from expressing her disapproval over riding without stirrups.

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  • Written by Julie Unger
  • Category: Learn

Racking Up Knowledge: What you need to know about judge feedback

You bring your horse down from the canter and prepare for the final trot into the line-up. The class is over, and as you join the other horses and riders in center ring, you’re mentally walking through your performance – every canter lead and gait change. You guys did great, except for that one little flub, but you don’t think the judges noticed. Just a few more steps, and you’re next to the other horse and rider combinations. That’s when you look down, contemplating how you will smile humbly and accept your ribbon, when you notice in horror just how dirty your boots are. Maybe the judges won’t care. At least, you hope they don’t.

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  • Written by Allie Layos
  • Category: Learn

The Ultimate Guide To Catch-Riding

Catch-riding is often considered the ultimate test of good horsemanship. To ride your own horse well is one thing, but to be able to hop on any horse and ride it well … well, for many equestrians, that’s the dream. Catch-riders are given the opportunity to make that dream a reality, but the experience can sometimes be confusing and even stressful. Understanding the catch-riding process fully can help ease that stress, so riders can concentrate on the most important part – the excitement.

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  • Written by jennifer w maclean
  • Category: Learn

Are You Showing Your Horse Too Much? Here’s how to tell

Photo by Julia Shelburne-Hitti.Photo by Julia Shelburne-Hitti.Horse show season is upon us and we couldn’t be more thrilled! Most horse enthusiasts would show every weekend if they could. But how often should you really show your horse? The answer to this is complex and very specific to the individual horse, but there are some common factors that can help owners create the best plan for both horse and rider for a successful and enjoyable horse season.

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  • Written by jennifer w maclean
  • Category: Learn

Common Pitfalls in Show Ring Style and How To Avoid Them

Back numbers should always be easy for the judge to read. Photo by Julia Shelburne-Hitti.Back numbers should always be easy for the judge to read. Photo by Julia Shelburne-Hitti.If the American Saddlebred is the “peacock” of the horse world, then the rider is its plumes. The elegant picture of a beautifully appointed horse and rider are what make saddle seat horse shows mesmerizing. When a horse and rider are well turned out for the show ring the focus is clearly on their performance, but if the rider is dressed badly or inappropriately for the class or division, this can be distracting for the judge and audience. To make sure the focus is always where it should be, there are a few common errors that exhibitors should take care to avoid.

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