in the light after OKC…

Who do you think is the best “unnoticed” equ. rider on the circuit? Of course we all know who the great riders are right now, but who do you think is moving up there, or might be the next world’s champion?

44 Responses to in the light after OKC…

  1. MManfreda08 says:

    Katie Fraser(I believe that’s how you spell her last name). She rides The Sorcerer, I’ve never seen such solid western equitation in my life.

  2. Em says:

    I do agree with you about Katie, she is so smooth on her horse! It looks like she’s not even moving. Very impressive.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think theres a lot of eq riders that go un noticed. They can be the best riders in the ring but because there not mounted on the best horses in the ring they never place in the top 2. I think its such a shame eq ends at 17 as some people can’t afford to buy a horse in order to be competitive which maybe they could in later life…

  4. Anonymous says:

    I agree, I think that it woule be cool to have an adult equitation division!

  5. evamorgan says:

    I thought Sara Shimmer had by far the best workout in the AMHA saddle seat medal finals. Very precise and correct.I had her a lot higher than the 7th place she got.
    I loved the workout they had to do. I miss my eq. days, I loved the workouts!

  6. For me, it i particularly difficult to watch the a few of the same horses carry different riders to World titles year after year. It really points out how much the horse has to do with the division, and that can be frustrating at times when this is really supposed to be judged heavily on the rider’s ability to guide and enhance the horse. Perhaps when you get to the national level, the training of the horse becomes even more important than the training of the rider. ???

  7. Anonymous says:

    I agree completely with Alicia. I would almost like to see eq riders switch horses much like the EQ world cup was run.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I agree or even have a pool of eq horses that riders are choosen to ride, like the actual world cup that would really test everyones horsemanship

  9. Anonymous says:

    I was really proud of our Jr rider Claire Brownie. I think she has such poise and is incredibly solid. I think she’s gouing to be one to watch:)

  10. tay ray says:

    Natasha Daigle. She rides classic eq. I can’t remember her horses name but I think she is a really solid rider and always has really quite rides

  11. Anonymous says:

    I completely agree with Alicia. It is frustrating to me too. I’m a jr. exhib in the hunter division. I ride in only pleasure now because my horse isn’t steady and consistent enough for me to do equitation on. I used to show equitation all the time and did really well but I don’t have the money to show two horses, one that’s good at pleasure but not even close to being equitated, and one that I can take through a pattern smoothly. So I’ve decided to choose just pleasure. I only have one summer left as a jr exhib and I won’t be showing eq even though I’m competetive enough to win in OKC. That’s kind of frustrating. I’d like to see some of these top notch eq riders on different horses (like say mine!) and see how they’d hold up.

  12. Anonymous says:

    you do have the winter ahead…I say equitate your horse and show ‘em how it’s done!!:) If you’re competitive enough to win at OKC then take a shot at it!:)

  13. Anonymous says:

    for some reason I am not getting signed in these days and therefore coming up as ananymous…sorry.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I agree about Sarah Shimmer…I think she is pretty solid and had great patterns…what didnt they like?? Perhaps the fact that she actually had to ride her horse instead of sitting there and looking pretty?? I thought she should have been top 3 in most classes!

  15. anonymous says:

    My friend has a really tough horse who couldn’t do patterns. It took her 2 years of hard work, but he is finally getting there, and she nailed all of her patterns in OKC! He may not be an amazing eq horse, but she’s worked her butt off and it is paying off! (Note: he is only 6!). So don’t say that you “cannot” equitate your horse just because he’s young, or has never done eq before — it’s possible if you put in the time and effort!

  16. While I appreciate the enthusiasm of the above poster, I do wish to caution that there are horses that just won’t equitate, and especially at the Regional and national level, a hole in your horse on a pattern will hurt you, even if you ride through it very well. Should you give it a shot? Absolutely! But be realistic that it may not happen over a winter, and pushing a horse through pattern work can sour some of them pretty quickly. Proceed with enthusiastic caution! :-)

  17. Anonymous says:

    I do agree, Alicia, that some horses won’t equitate, but I think that most horses that are trained well enough to show and do well on a national level are half way there. They don’t have to be absolute autopilot, but if they already steer and w/t/c well enough, all you have to fill in is getting leads off the rail. Other than that, any serpentine, etc is just a matter of steering. We sold a partially equitated horse last year at Jubilee that went on to win at OKC that year as an eq horse.
    You are correct, a flaw in your pattern will hurt you…but the reward of teaching the horse, learning how to help a green horse in a pattern, and even making the cut to DO the patterns is what equitation is all about. Only 1 kid gets the blue, so there better be some other reward or goal in there that is worth shooting for or there is no sense in trying for all of the others. The last 3 horses I have bought for equitation horses have not been equitated when I bought them…but they have been good thinkers, solid in their training, and with riders that are capable of doing more than sitting there. There will be mistakes, but that’s how horses and kids learn, IMO.

  18. GraceMorgn says:

    I posted about Team Morgan and their competition against South Africa back in August. In my opinion, some of the most outstanding saddle seat eq riders were the six girls who were rode in that event. Lyssa Bomgaars, Brynne Cummings, Kelsey Irvine, Taylor Sams, Caitlyn Scholl and Maggie Smith not only have beautiful equitation, but are tremendous riders.

    For the event, they drew random horses and had 30 minutes to learn to ride it and equitate on it. Quite a few of the horses had quirks that adjustments had to be made for. They won the event and 5 of the 6 individual medals.

    None of the them have ever been World Champions, but they are true riders. Caitlyn helped equitate and rode a 4 year old this year and Brynne rides a park horse. All the girls aged out this year or last except Lyssa and none of them ever had a made eq horse.

    I am not sure it will ever happen, but I truly believe a format such as the Team Morgan competition or the World Cup should be used to crown the World Champion in equitation. I understand the many concerns involved, but it would be the most true test of who is the best rider.

    If you want to find out more about Team Morgan and their competition, please check out my article in the Morgan Connection.


  19. Anonymous says:

    I think thats an awesome idea * Ashley *. That would truely be the test. Why don’t we use that system? If you make the cut for the finals in eq- this should be a test. If you are that good of a rider to get that far, something simple as changing horses shouldn’t be a big deal. It should make or break you. I wish I had a chance like that when I was a junior exhibtor eq rider. That would have been really cool. Imagine the crowd around the eq classes- no more simple, boring, patterns- this would make things a little bit more lively!

  20. nonymouns says:

    I think it is odd that year after year the young men riders get overlooked.

  21. In regards to equitating horses– I prefer to purchase my eq horses unequitated because I want to put patterns on them myself. Also, I think the definition of what is “equitated” is different from trainer to trainer. I have had horses come to me “equitated” that can’t even think about doing a straight line lead change, but were very good, say, at a standard figure 8. I agree that most show horses are 1/2 way there already. How you do the other half and the time it takes varies from horse to horse.

  22. jns767 says:

    I haven’t seen too many equitation riders (outside of Michigan anyway), but I really think that Jenny Miller is the cutest little rider, I think she’ll be one to watch as she gets older ;).

  23. GraceMorgn says:

    “I think it is odd that year after year the young men riders get overlooked.”

    I can’t speak for other disciplines, but in Saddle Seat I don’t believe they are overlooked. Reese Richey won the triple crown as well as the Classic world a few years ago. Tommy Brisco did fairly well throughout his career. When the boy has been the best rider, they have definetly used him.


  24. Anonymous says:

    I certainly don;t think the young men are overlooked…if anything I think some have an advantage.
    As for switching horses, it used to be done alot…I only got to do it once in my equitation career…and it was neat. Fun to participate in, fun to watch. I think, sadly, in our world of litigation that insurance and peope getting hurt is a pretty big deterrant.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Alicia, which horses in particular are you bothered by, that keep carrying different exhibitors to World Championships? Is it possible that the barns they are in happen to do a good job turning out thier riders? Obviously, we have seen winning horses change barns and not do as well as before. This happens in equ. and pleasure classes.

  26. GraceMorgn says:

    While I am not Alicia, I share her views on eq horses being a tremendous part in how a eq rider does on the national level. It would be one thing if the horses stayed with the same trainer and it could be attributed to a really great trainer, but they move barns. The riders and the trainers are the variables. The constant in the equation is the horse, which means that it is a major factor.

    One of the horses that is currently showing that does quite a bit for the rider is Hollybrook Romeo. None of his riders did very well nationally prior to him becoming their eq horse. They didn’t change their riding skills as much as they changed horses. Now do not misinterpret, I think his riders have been fine riders, but I certainly think he is one of the main reasons they did as well as they did. He has been an eq horse for 5 riders for at least 3 different trainers. ( I think 4, but I am not sure.) He has taken them all to top 5 in the World in eq.

    Other horses that made the rounds are Trophy J’s Valentine, (5 different riders), Stonecroft Make A Wish (3), Coalition X-Static(3) , Wind Blu Roadmaster (3) and that is since 2002. All of the riders placing top ten with at least two different trainers. Trophy J’s Valentine has been with 4 different trainers! Hence the horse has to be doing quite a bit of it on their own.


  27. busybfarm says:

    I agree with your comment 100%. While I agree that equitation encompasses the whole picture, the rider’s ability should be the focus, but all to often it isn’t.

  28. emma says:

    I think a lot of it has to do with a good trainer pairing a great horse with a great rider. I’ve seen some great eq. horses in the ring with a novice rider and the perfect picture just isn’t there. As well as a great eq. rider with a novice horse. Again, looking for that perfect picture. Also, I don’t believe the great eq. horses are as easy you might think. I saw most of the girls who did very well in OKC work hard in the ring and at their patterns. You spoke of Hollybrook Romeo, I saw his rider several times needing to take her time during transitions as it appeared horse thought he knew what was next and didn’t want to wait for his cue. She made him wait until she told him what was next. That horse was not the only one…there were a few who had glitches in their patterns but still did very well. There is no excuse however for an eq rider trotting on the wrong diagonal, cantering a circle on the incorrect lead or forgetting a portion of the pattern. Just my opinion… :)

  29. jeffery9430 says:

    There is always someone waiting in the wings, working really hard all winter in that cold, cold barn, that comes out of nowhere! That’s the best .
    Sherry Hannan-Novak

  30. caitykat56 says:

    I know this is a little late but I think that there were many overlooked riders in the eq at Oklahoma. I though that the main problem is that when the “top” riders messed up leads and diagonals hey still made the cuts, while the other riders that nailed their patterns didn’t.

    Another thing that bothered me was that no offense to the jr. riders but many people I spoke to thought that the Medal is for the senior riders. The jr. riders don’t have the same overall look of the senior riders. I was never aloud in the medal when I was a junior because it was for the senior girls…I had the rest of my carrer for that class.

  31. Scottfield03 says:

    I agree, Caitykat56. I think the Medal is the pinnacle of SS Eq, and should be for the Senior riders. i don’t allow my Jr riders to compete at the Grand National in that event. I do, however, let them try for it at our regular horse shows, just not the finals. I don’t mind seeing a junior rider try for it, it just won’t be from my barn. Hey, if they want to spend the money and use up the horse to get into another class, have at it. I think it puts them at a disadvantage later in the week when the horse has to go again and do more pattern work.

  32. GoodLookinGal says:

    If the horse isn’t a deciding factor, how do you explain Meghan Bradley being left out of her qualifier when she rode a school horse (No ribbon out of 14 riders,in a class that pinned to 10th), but then winning 3 world titles later in the week when she was on Hollybrook Romeo? This is not a criticism of Meghan. (meghan– you are talented, worked hard, and deserved everything you won). It is a criticism of the judges. The SAME rider, TWO different horses, and the pinning is THAT different? The Romeo horse is a whos who horse, and he was the horse that got the judges to really look at Meghan, and when they did, they liked what they saw. So which is it? Was she a fantastic rider on a poor horse, and she was penalized for not being on a good enough mount? And penalized very severely for it? Or was she a good rider who is overlooked if she is not on a many times world champion horse? If everyone had traded horses, i think the same horses would have won.

  33. blondie says:

    I think equitation is judged on the “total picture”. Exceptional skills on a great horse.

  34. caitykat56 says:

    Scottfeild, I do think at the smaller shows and even at regionals it is a great thing for the junior riders to give it a go…in fact I encourage it. I just thought at Oklahoma with having 3 junior riders make it and see some big names sitting on the sidelines was a bit outrageous.
    I did notice that those girls that made it with the exception of one all went down in the pinnings later in the week. I think that having a total of four classes is plenty they don’t need an extra two.

  35. swevans3232 says:

    Okay-so it’s been many (and I mean MANY) years since I showed Eq. (I mean we are talking Crabtree era). I have, however, spent alot of time, for various reasons, watching the eq classes. When I rode eq it was important have a show horse, to keep it collected with a head set, and look like a package. I am always appalled at the lack of headsets-sometimes to the point of having their nose stuck straight up in the air, the horse strung out, and basically not a put together look in the ring. To me it looks like the kids are posing and NOT RIDING. I was watching one rider at Grand Nationals this year who clucked to the horse every single step (and yes I do mean every single step of her pattern), when I looked closer I realized that the kid did not have her legs on the horse at all. Kids fault? Nope, instructors fault as far as I’m concerned. Now-If I noticed, because I’m not always the brightest when it comes to Equitation, very experienced judges also would have noticed.

    I have always thought that “Equitation” is a deceptive phrase, it could be construed that posing is allowed. Perhaps “Horsemanship” would be a better term. Equitation, as it was explained to me when I was a kid (remember this was in the ice age according to my kids), is that equitation was form and function coming together as a complete whole. It appears to me that the Function part of the whole is missing from the equation lately.

    I think that when the “high powered” or top few Eg horses win year after year it is because of the package, the kids on them look good because they look, whether they really are or not, like they are RIDING not POSING. The papckage is complete. I would rather see a kid who’s leg may not be absolutely perfect, but has an effective leg, a child whose elbows may be out a touch but has a horse in the bridle, not above or below it, and a kid who is riding evey hair off that horse and still maintaining equitation within the parameters set under the Eq rules.

    So-obviously, my daughter will never be one that anyone has to worry about in Eq-because I won’t let her sit and pose and refuse to get her a horse that she can do that on-she has to ride every inch of every class. My horses have a real good sense of timing and a warped sense of humor. But right now she’s having fun and is trying to convince our World Titled (yup we got one-but you better ride him-and I trained him) Eq horse that it really IS a good idea to canter.

    I also would like to make it clear that I have no idea who any of the Eq riders are (except one) and I really don’t care who wins. So…if I have stepped on anyones toes or hurt anyones feelings, please realize that I have no idea who anyone is, this is not being directed at anyone in particular, and is not something that I have noticed only in Morgans, this is becoming prevelant in the saddle horse industry as well.

    I do want to take a minute to applaude anyone who has a guts to go into the Eq ring, it is now and always has been a very cut throat division and I know the pressure that these young men and ladies put on themselves is incredible. The kids I know that ride Eg are also extremely high achievers in school and are always a delight to be around. I remember the pressure I put myself under (in the ice age) and not so fondly remember being sick right before my class.

    To the young lady with the hunter, work this winter, steady the horse up and go for it. When my daughters Eq horse was switched to Eq from the open classic division, we did it in two months and his pattern wasn’t rock perfect, but it’s only 50 percent.

  36. colwilrin says:


    Thank you, thank you so much for saying what I have been thinking for years. I also grew up in the “Crabtree era” and my first edition copy of her book on equitation is dog-eared and wrinkled from the number of times I read it in my youth.

    The purpose of equitation is to ride properly so you can get as much out of your mount as possible. I think that it may have been Crabtree herself that used Judy Whitney as an example of how proper equitation (post-equitation years) make a horse set up in the bridle and collect better. Now, we all know Miss Judy is definitely NOT a poser! LOL

    I also cringe when I see jr. exhibs, stiff as a board, posting painfully around the ring as their horses appear to be looking at the sky. The riders who are able to collect their mounts appear more confident an skilled. Perhaps this is where a good mount plays a pivotal role. If the horse basically “sets itself”, the horse will hide a multitude of that rider’s faults. To me, the best equitation riders are the ones that can fix a major horse fault in such a way that they appear to not move at all. I would actually give extra points to a rider who was confronted with a difficult situation and corrected it seamlessly. In a similar situation, the posers just fall apart.

    One final equitation peeve of mine. Yes…you are supposed to look out of your corners, but whoever starting instructing these kids to keep a perpetual head-cock to the inside should be flogged. The kids have their chins up so high, and heads cocked in such a manner that they are likely to get eye strain trying to check their horses headset. I just laugh when I see it. When you are on a straight away, you should be looking ahead!

    Small peeves aside, kudos to all the youth that bust their butts all year to get to these shows and compete. They are amazing, and from what I’ve seen in the last few years, we have a lot of good young riders out there.

  37. swevans3232 says:

    I forgot about the “head cock”. I too believe in looking through your corner, but at OKC I noticed riders looking around the next corner when they wer entering the straight line. So they come out of the corner and have their head turned to the left (if you are going first way for example). I saw one kid plow right into the horse in front of her because she was looking across the ring and not where she was going. It was funny at the time. She pinned fairly high too!!!

    I keep telling my daughter “chin up” does not mean that you drown if it rains

  38. evamorgan says:

    swevans3232 and colwirin, I agree.
    First and foremost a good eq. rider should have their horses correct in the bridle at all times! The idea of teaching proper position is because that is how the aids are most effective and therefore you can get the most out of your horse. When done properly it should appear that “you thought it and the horse did it”. And smooth transitions are also very important. Especially on the patterns, it should flow seamlessly. Not to mention straight canter departures.
    I also agree about the head cocking, I first noticed it a couple of years ago and it just looks ridiculous.
    Okay, that’s probably enough venting from me.
    As a former eq. rider I do indeed know all the time and effort that goes into it and you have to have a thick skin when being judged because it is so personal. But I still miss it after 30+ years!I found the best way was to ride for my instructors praise if she was happy then I was too. Thanks Barbara Irvine for making me love it. Although on some of these bitter cold days I sometimes question my career choice!

  39. Black Eye Beth says:

    (Stacy is having a problem posting so she asked that I post this comment for her-BEB)

    One of those Jr riders that made the finals was a rider of mine. She was in the class because she earned the right to be. She won the proper ribbon, worked hard, and has excellent skills…horsemanship as well as equitation. She landed in the top 10 and then finished up the week in the tip 4 of both the Jr finals, so I think her horse took it just fine, although some don’t. She didn’t get in anyone’s way or mess up anyone’s ride, she made the cut fair and square because she had excellent railwork and a very good pattern. If the class is truely our “pinnacle” then we should want as many as possible to try for it…not feel they shouldn’t based on some unwritten rule, IMO. And we should want the best riders back in the finals, no matter their age. It seems as though that is the issue…not that the Jr riders rode, but that they made it back…that was judges decision…if the kids weren’t up to par, they wouldn’t have. If you aren’t going to let the Jr riders in the Medal then I would think you’d have to exclude the Jr horses from the Open Championships…the pinnacles of their divisions. I think JW That Special Flaire proved that he belonged there as well.
    I can’t normally post, so if you want to respond you’ll have to e-mail me:) Sorry! Also…Arianna Corrigan won 2 of the 3 finals and was reserve in the third, I believe, all on the horse bought for her when she was a walk trot rider…she rode the same horse all the way through:) It can be done but the horse has to have the ability to showcase a good rider…not all do.

  40. evamorgan says:

    Good post Stacy, I agree 100%.
    Why wouldn’t you let the Jr riders enter the Medal finals, they qualified the same as the Sr. riders.

  41. swevans3232 says:

    I agree with you completely. If the Jr rider’s qualify they should ride in the finals, reagrdless of the division they came out of. I personally love to see the little ones riding in the finals. If they don’t pin well, or at all, oh well. They had the experience and the fn of competing which is what this is all about. In 2007 a rider borrowed my classic horse and qualified for the World Championship out of the 13 and under qualifier and won the 17 and under Championship. It would have been a shame if she had been held back because of her age. Kudos to the 13 and under riders who have the gumption to ride against their older counterparts and not be intimidated.

  42. StacyGRS says:

    Beth fixed my sign opn problem..thank you Beth…so now I’ll post my own thoughts. Anyway, I have no issue with someone trying to “step up” in competition…these days everyone tries to “step down” and be a ringer so anyone that wants to go into deeper water, IMO, gets credit. And, if in the process you, fairly, beat someone that didn’t see you coming because of the division you came out of then, well, isn’t that sort of the fun of competition? Competition can’t be all about winning or we are in trouble…it has to be about competing and putting yourself up against the best.

  43. GoodLookinGal says:

    I have seen the riders from both Scottfield’s program and Stacy’s program, and think very highly of them both. How nice to see two professionals, with very different opinions on the same topic, discuss it in a professional manner, and apparently, agree to disagree. No attacks or slanderous remarks, just simple statements of different views. I can understand and appreciate both perspectives, and respect both opinions. You are two classy ladies, Stacy and Alicia! I like that you are not discussing this in terms of who is more right or wrong, just different opinions on the same topic. I always look forward to your fair and kind posts.

  44. jgarrett_fhf says:

    i have to agree with many of the earlier posts. i wish we had an adult equitation divsion and other different classes. i have been showing since i was 6 in the morgan shows and became very discouraged when i got out of the jr exhib. when you are used to showing in all those classes then you go to the shows and your classes are cut in half because you can only ride in pleasure, it seems like it is not worth your time. i have always been asked how to keep more of our youth interested in the morgans and showing after they graduate and get out of jr exhib…make it worth their time. have more classes and offer rewards like they do in the open shows.

    the other obstacle of showing when i came out of the jr exhib division was the clash of schedules with ladies or amatuer classes. i still have this problem. there will be a hunt ladies class and then a western ama class with one class in betwen. even though we cant make the schedule perfect for everyone we should study them and try to increase the number of entries by fixing this problem.

    if we want our morgans shows to survive, especailly with the economy, then there needs to be “something” for everyone and not just something, there needs to be many “somethings” for everyone so that they will be involved and all the money that is spent will be utilized better. i love showing and riding, but i would rather go to a local, less expensive show where there are more options and experiences for my horse. or just go out on my property or anothers property. i have been doing a lot of riding and open shows and learning new things and having new experiences with my horses that have not happeened at the morgan shows, not that it it would be impossible, just as of right now, the opprotunities are not available.

    i am not saying that a horse is going to get every experience at a horse show, but i just think that there could be more things happening at them to get people involved. i also know this is very challenging and easier said than done.

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