The arena is pin-drop silent as an equitation rider performs the final circle of an intricate pattern and halts his or her horse in center ring. After a flawless workout of trots, canters, lead and diagonal changes, all that is left now is the return to the lineup. In most cases, this requires a turn before picking up the trot and heading back down the rail. But since it is not stated in the written workout, what kind of turn should it be?
The question is understandable, as saddle seat equitation rules do not actually specify whether riders should perform a turn on the forehand, a turn on the haunches, or some hybrid of the two. In a sport that seems to spell out everything, from suit colors to where the bight of the reins should fall, this lack of clarity may seem frustrating at first glance. However, it may also be a chance for riders to demonstrate their horsemanship skills in a way that goes above and beyond anything written rules could’ve called for.