Breanne Long, a senior at North Caroline State University, is taking riding lessons as a PE elective this semester and has agreed to let HN tag along.
Program Ride II
PE 260: Intermediate Equitation (1 credit hour)
Prerequisite: Beginning Equitation
Course Description: “This course is designed to apply knowledge of the fundamentals of health related fitness toward developing, maintaining, and sustaining active and healthy lifestyle through equestrian sports. Intermediate techniques, theories and performance in equitation including skill at walk, trot, canter over ground poles and small cross bars will be taught. Care of the horse, tack and safety around horses will be assessed. Students will travel off campus once a week. Students must meet the weight restriction of the North American Horseman’s Association. Refer to the online schedule of classes for the current fee. Students must provide their own transportation to the stable, paddock boots, and riding pants.”
The local 4-H horse judging team joined our lesson this week. They have a competition at the beginning of December and their coach decided they needed some extra practice with horses and riders they haven’t seen before.
I was, for a very short time, a member of a 4-H horse club and participated (with no training or instruction) in a horse judging competition. We were simply instructed to judge groups of four horses being shown at halter. The competition was held in Tennessee, in an area known for its western pleasure and reining horses. I was (and still consider myself to be) a hunter. I judged each horse based on how well I thought it would perform in the hunter ring and, unsurprisingly, I placed almost every grouping in exactly the opposite order of the official “correct” placings. The correct order had the most Quarter Horse-looking horse (most were Quarter Horses) in first.
Disclaimer: I have nothing against Quarter Horses–they just aren’t what I know.
That being said, I was very surprised when at the end of our lesson the coach called out the top three horses (based on confirmation, frame, and way of going) and Bob (a thoroughbred) was at the top of the list! Needless to say, Bob is not my horse, he is a lesson horse, however, it still feels good to have someone validate the horse you’re sitting on.
While our horses were being judged, we were practicing the serpentine from our program ride. Riding a serpentine with equally sized loops isn’t difficult, unless you’re in a ring with 11 other horses, four jumps, and two instructors standing in the middle. Bob and I did fine as long as I reminded him that he was supposed to listen to me and not go on autopilot following the horse in front of him. I’m excited for the program ride in a few weeks because, if for no other reason, I get the ring to myself for a few minutes!
I’m looking forward to the Jump for the Children Duke Children’s Hospital horse show this weekend in Raleigh, NC. Hope to see some other HN fans there!
About Breanne: I started riding at age 8, following in my older sisters footsteps. My first horse was a cranky 32-year-old appaloosa and my last horse before college was a bay TB mare. I showed hunters but stopped riding once I started college. Now I’m slowly getting back into the horse world and would love to try eventing in the future.