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.
Horse showing itself may be a subjective business, but in actuality the rules are pretty straightforward. In the performance, pleasure and equitation divisions, rules come from a national governing body and remain the same across the country. Then there is the academy division, a relatively new addition to the horse show scene, which has been governed differently since its first day – on purpose.
Most exhibitors probably walk into their barn’s aisle at a show, hang their suit in the dressing room, see the pictures and display racks on the curtained walls and simply don’t realize how much work has gone into creating a comfortable and inviting home-away-from-home for the barn and its clients.
As anyone who has helped to set up before a show knows, there is no magic elf that comes in and does the work. Everything – from the dressing room to the tack room and hospitality area – was created with a lot of sweat, elbow grease, some screws and maybe a few tears from dedicated staff and helpers. This creative and precise process is all about the details.
From trimming whiskers to painting hooves, many details go into preparing a horse for the show ring, but preparing a rider requires an equal amount of skill. Lapels must be pinned, boots and sometimes gloves must be taped and makeup must be flawless. And then there is always the challenge of the horse show bun.