So, as maybe most of you might not know, I love horses. In fact, the major I am studying at college is Equine Business Management, which is the study of the industry and all parts of the horse world. My college also offers an opportunity to join one of three intercollegiate riding teams (Hunt Seat, Dressage, and Western). Naturally, I chose Hunt Seat.
Having this be the first time I'm actually competing at a level, I'm starting off at walk/trot. My instructor thought this would be good for me since my accident and all (If you don't know, go back a couple journals). I'm still a little tense, but I managed to place 4th in my first show.
Don't know how these shows work? Let me explain. The IHSA, or Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, partners with hundreds of colleges around America. These shows are regional, and last for an entire season (My college has a show every week for 2 months). It starts off with you training at a barn that the IHSA deems appropriate. Then, during the show, you are placed in a division that the instructors and judge deem you worthy to be in (you may have to take an example ride).
Oh, and one more thing. You don't necessarily know the horse you are going to ride. Other colleges will trailer in a couple of their horses for community use, as well as using the horses the barn that is hosting the show has. At the beginning of the show, an overseer will draw names of the horses out of a hat. The riders then get matched with their steeds. Some horses, but very few, have weight limits. A rider could get matched with the slow draft mix, or the fired up paint pony. You get a small message about how to handle the horse, and then you ride. It takes a lot of skill to be able to hop on ANY horse and ride it, even for one simple class.
I ride in beginner walk/trot division, since I am still recovering trust and confidence. However, I am just now realizing how differently people teach. The place I was at before would always tell me to lean back, and leaning forward was giving the horse something to lean into. This place we use to train encourages leaning a little bit to help keep balance and make the riding look more natural.
For those that have no idea what I'm talking about, I will stop ranting for now. I just wanted to give a little insight on what I've been doing since school started.