As I said in the subject line, I’m thinking of going over to the dark side-- I’m taking some saddleseat lessons. My first one is next Tuesday afternoon.
I actually took some a few years ago, but the barn is too far away from my new house for a comfortable commute. So I poked around and found a new one that’s closer. I’m hoping this new one has as nice an atmosphere as the other barn-- so welcoming and just plain fun!
I’m still keeping my own horse, naturally. But if I really like SS, is it expensive to part-lease a horse?
Part-leasing isn’t as common for show horses, but many trainers will part lease a nice lesson horse or have another owner that would be willing. You can also show in academy on a school horse and not have to own your own horse.
Academy is a stepping stone to showing in a suit. Basically once you are capable of decent equitation and getting around a ring, they have classes on Saturday mornings at most saddle seat shows where lesson kids (non-horse owning kids and adults) can show in classes that are judged on the rider and horsemanship only. You wear shirt/vest/tie w/ jods and boots. They also have regionals and Nationals for academy riders.
Here is some info: https://www.asha.net/media/2285/youthacademyguidelines.pdf
@luvmyhackney Thanks for the link-- I’ll check it out. As I said, I’m just now getting started, but I’d love to show again. The h/j show world is a bit too much for me now, especially since I’m older. I’d take up eventing, but at 58, my bones don’t mend as easily as they once did, so I think I’ll skip it. Thus, if SS is my cup of tea, I’ll show SS and then take my own boy around to a little local show once in a while. There’s just nothing to beat the excitement of a horse show, is there?
A good friend of mine in Illinois successfully blends Saddle Seat and Dressage - her horses are successful in both disciplines (not sure if the individual horses do both, of if different horses do each, but that’s not the point). She is a breeder, trainer, and competitor… Good luck and have fun!!
Have fun! I tried it in college just to say I’d done it and EVERYTHING felt opposite of hunter riding to me. But I’m glad I tried it; you can always learn something from another discipline if you are willing.
Thanks! I have taken a few lessons a while ago and I agree, it’s completely different from h/j. However, one of the things I liked about SS is that that it IS completely different from h/j. The barn where I took lessons had a very different vibe. I hope the new one has the same feeling.
I don’t ride SS but i ride “SS breeds” for sport. The SS barn environment is totally different and awesome. At H/J barns and dressage barns it always felt hushed and focused just on performance whereas SS barns feel like one giant social party.
Riding a SS horse is a blast. Driving is fun. I’ve learned a lot of new things about fitting up a horse from the SS folks and I’m now way more skilled with the lines and way more conscientious about variety in training work.
I can’t answer your leasing question, but many “reasonably” competitive SS horses can be found far cheaper than the same level of competition in hunters. Yes the top end will always be the top end, but I’ve found the whole world of it to be a bit cheaper overall from lessons to showing.
Thanks for your info! That’s exactly what I meant-- the one barn I took lessons at was very laid-back and fun. It had a much different atmosphere than the h/j barns I’d ridden at, more like “Riding is fun! Horses are fun! Showing is fun!” which is exactly what I want at this age.
I’m not kidding myself, I know I’ll miss jumping, but I figure if I really really really miss it, I can always go back to it. What I don’t miss is the vibe you mention. And I love the excitement of showing.
I so look forward to riding SS. One thing that’s a little disappointing is that I’ve been told that it can take years to learn to rack. I’m hoping that I can at least learn to slow gait fairly soon, as that’s the rack, only slowed down, correct? Anyway, the horses are so beautiful, if I can ride an actual Saddlebred, I’ll be very happy.
I don’t know about buying a show horse at the moment; as I said I want to show so badly, but I own a horse right now and I love him! So I’ll have to see how everything goes and maybe something will turn up for me. crosses fingers
You’ll have to keep us posted!! I don’t know about the years question (my horses are three gaited) but I’m sure as a horseman already the path might be shorter for you And remember, saddlebreds have hunters too - they don’t jump but are beautiful and fun - kind of a cross between a ss horse and a hunter!
I show and own a saddlebred hunter/dressage horse. Wicked smart, absolutely gorgeous and totally personable these horses are! Enjoy and report back!!