Three Signs That Equitation may NOT be Right for You April 05 2015

Is equitation the right horse riding discipline for you?

You may have seen last week’s article on the five most common equitation mistakes and thought to yourself, maybe I should try equitation? Well I agree, you SHOULD try equitation. It’s a great discipline that can improve a number of aspects of your riding ability overall.

BUT equitation is ultimately not for everyone.

In fact, I started my own “career” in the division of Pleasure Equitation and after feeling as though I was reaching a bit of a plateau, decided to take what I had learned and move into a performance division. So, how do you know if equitation isn't the best long-term fit for you? Here are three signs that may mean equitation is not the discipline for you.

1. You like to go FAST

While equitation can absolutely be the thrill of a lifetime, if you don’t find patterns to get your blood pumping, you may be most excited by being in a performance class. There is nothing like the power of a speedy and true rack or the metronome style trot of some of the greatest three gaited horses. Equitation is precise, elegant, and controlled discipline and if you have to make an either/or choice (we can’t all do both), and you have a need for speed, you should definitely turn your eye toward a performance division.

2. You don't sweat the small stuff

If you find yourself saying “yea, yea, yea” in your head when you walk a pattern with your trainer, first of all, check your attitude at the door.

Secondly, you may not care too much about the little things.

The precision of equitation is founded on the little details; hitting your center points, leg and hand position, all the way down to the rules about attire. If you just want to hop on and ride without spending too much time prepping on the ground, equitation will absolutely bore you to TEARS. Try a classic performance division like Show or Country Pleasure where your job is to ride well and be happy about it!

3. Riding more of a hobby than a sport to you

While I have a hard time relating to this mind set (as I spend six days a week with horses), some people just find the occasional weekend at the barn to be enough, or a good enough stress reliever. I say, anytime spent with horses is time well spent, but only being willing or able to commit a day every week or so to practicing may make it more challenging to follow the disciplined regime necessary to reach higher level equitation performance. It could also make it difficult to ride more exciting (and challenging) horses. Three and five gaited horses as well as park horses tend to be more of a challenge. Their intensity is what makes them suitable to those divisions.

If you seem to fit in this category, consider a driving division. Equally as prestigious, Fine Harness is a division that has seen some of the most renowned saddlebreds this industry has had the privilege to behold. You can also wear a really cool hat!

So while Equitation may seem at times like the be all and end all, you may find that another division may be a better fit. While my time in equitation was invaluable and pivotal to my learning as an equestrian, I was undeniably happy when I made the switch to a performance division. The important thing is that you feel like you're always being challenged, but also that you're continuing to grow as a rider.


Have any stories of your own on the switch to or from Equitation? Tell us how it went in the comments down below!