Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Westlish Gelding

One of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me was when my neighbor, Gary, called to me from across the street. "Good morning, Cowgirl!" he said.

Gary, you see, is an older fellow who has a long, respected reputation as a working western rider. He has many a tale to share about his own life with horses. So when I hopped on Wally in his western saddle and picked up the pair of split reins, and Gary referred to me as a "cowgirl," I was honored.

And then, of course, I had to ride Wally the very next day in English tack, as you see here. But that's what's nice about Wally and other horses like him, the horses sometimes jokingly referred to as being all-around westlish horses. They're well trained western but they're also nice to ride English. What the heck, they'll even hop over a crossrail or low vertical jump if asked. While Wally will never step inside a show ring with me, I do enjoy riding him huntseat every now and then. It helps me recall the many years (okay, decades) I spent competing in huntseat equitation. Wally has a to-die-for sitting trot. Where was he when I was doing all those medal class work-offs?

And so, while I may treasure earning the accolade of "cowgirl" from my neighbor, I'll never let go of my huntseat past. Wally's just fine with that, too.

If you'd like to share a tale about your westlish horse-- or any other comment-- click on "comments" below or email me at hc-editor@bowtieinc.com . I love reading all your emails and comments!


Anonymous said...

While I may never compete western, I have ridden my dressage TB in a western saddle. It was at the NC 4-H State Championships earlier this summer and there were four arenas. One was the humongous indoor arena where the hunter and half the western classes were in, then the covered arena where half the dressage and western classes were in, then the huge huge warm up arena, and the other dressage arena.

The rules was that you had to pertain to the schooling discipline - the primary discipline had the right to go in, then the secondary discipline could go in.
For example, hunters were the primary discipline in the indoor, but dressage riders could go in as well, they just had to give the right of way to the hunters.
However, two of my three tests were in the covered arena, and dressage riders weren't allowed in there... at all.
I had to ride my horse in there before my tests on Sunday, so on Thursday I borrowed a western saddle from a friend, plunked it on Bucky and got up there myself. I walked in there during western schooling. The steward took one glance at me, and turned away. Once in the arena, we warmed up and started practicing our moves that we needed for our tests.

We got a lot of strange looks that night. It was amazing.

A couple pictures:

NOTE: It was also his first time going in a western saddle, and I can count on one hand the number of times I've been in a western saddle... in my entire life.

Anonymous said...

My arab has become a jack of all trades (and master of inhaling carrots).
He was a trained hunter when I got him and since then we have competed in dressage, team penning, endurance, and carriage driving. The only thing were missing is saddle seat training.

Cindy Hale said...

Awesome stories! Gina, I like how you were very inventive and figured out how to get your horse into that covered arena. Now that demonstrates a determination to ride well and win. Bravo! Thanks for sharing the photos, too. I always love seeing other people's photos.

And the multi-talented Arab is another good example of a horse that can do a lot of things well. Isn't it nice to be able to enjoy a variety of riding styles, all on the same wonderful horse? I certainly think so!

Anonymous said...

My Walker, Eunice, has shown in English, western, bareback, gaming and trail (both in my prefered all-purpose saddle). She likes bareback the best. We help herd sheep in, but not cows. Cows are scary, Eunice doesn't do cows. I plan on teaching her sidesaddle this year.