October 26, 2021

Heartland Regional: English Division

Saturday afternoon were Connor's three English Pleasure classes: Hunter Seat Equitation, English Pleasure and the payback English Pleasure Stake. By entering all three, I would be eligible for the English division championship. I had to have a reason to enter Hunter Seat Equitation, otherwise I'm not sure why I'd put myself through this torture:

Those are some short stirrups. All pictures, as usual, courtesy of the amazing Leah.

While my Dressage tack was technically legal for HSE, the rulebook is very specific about the type of riding you're supposed to do in it (light, forward seat, knuckles at a 30 degree angle to the neck, that kind of thing) and the Dressage saddle would be working against me in that. So I borrowed Mary's CWD, jacked my stirrups up, floated the reins at him and proceeded to try to remember that in some sports, the way the horse goes isn't judged.

Connor's like why can't we do this sport all the time?

We ended up taking a deserved second in that class to, you know, an actual hunter. I wasn't mad.

Me: "Ummmm I'm supposed to lean forward I think?"

But after that, I made a quick dash to the barn to change back into my Dressage saddle which felt - ahhhhhh - so good after sitting in that pancake flat CWD. Mary's CWD is the super flat SE01 tree while mine is the semi-deep SE02 tree, so it felt flat even compared to my own jump saddle, which at the time was still in Florida.

Ahhh that's better - although don't look too closely at my tack. Black loaner saddle, brown jump saddle leathers, chocolate brown reins and my barnmate's chestnut 20+ year old hunter under saddle bridle

The two English Pleasure classes are judged based on just that - pleasure. Does the horse look pleasant to ride? Is the picture a beautiful one? So while I took up a bit more contact and rode more actively than I did in HSE, my main goal was just to not nitpick him.

And we ended up winning both of those classes as well, making us the English division champions for the show.

After Saturday, I was left with this feeling that it was pretty cool to see my horse coming in here and doing the things he's good at, in a show designed to show him off for what he just naturally is. I spend so much time doing sports with him that he wasn't necessarily bred for, and while he does well at them, it's not the same as participating in an event whose goal it is to show him off for what he is.

Connor to Leah: "Are you getting my good side?"

 The next morning was the jumping classes, and then he'd be done!


  1. Connor: you want pleasant I'LL SHOW YOU PLEASANT. I'm the most pleasant.

    Also his tail wow. I know where Speedy gets it from now.

  2. Your Frankenstein hunter tack is cracking me up!

    Also, Connor's tail deserves a ribbon!

    1. It was cracking me up too. My one goal for this year's Welsh show was not to break any rules (and I did anyway!) so having matching tack was a distant second. Although since Disco is apparently going to take the Welsh world by storm, I did commit to actually putting effort into my tack and outfits by next year's Welsh show, in June.

  3. It's almost like you didn't give anyone else a chance to win any classes... Lol! Congratulations again! This horse show was just full of great days for you guys!