What It Looks Like to Win a Five Gaited Show Pleasure Class July 13 2015

I have very little sense of what it’s like to successfully ride in a Five Gaited Show Pleasure Class. My riding looks far from pleasurable for any party involved, as I flop around like a wet noodle. Luckily, a far more talented and less noodlesque rider than myself wore a GoPro at the Oshkosh Charity Horse Show a few weeks ago, so I could get a better sense of what the experience actually looks like.

The talented rider (and great sport) who wore the GoPro for was Abby Kastenholz from Knollwood Farm, and the horse she was riding was Ch Freaky Links, a world and national champion with many wins against great horses. Between editing all the footage and being at the show, there were a few things that really stood out to me.

  1. I have a newfound respect for just how much strength and balance it must take to rack. Racking must really feel like you're flying. Either that, or hanging on for dear life. There's just so much movement happening when a Saddlebred goes into a rack, I have no idea how anybody could control it.
  2. It must take a ton of composure to stay calm in a big class, both for the horse, and for the rider. Watching a class from the rail, it always feels like there's a lot of space between horses, but watching from a rider's perspective, even through a fisheye GoPro lens, you realize just how much traffic there is to sort through in a class of ten horses.
  3. There's a lot that goes on behind the scenes. While I typically think of a class of 10-15 minutes long, there's a lot of getting ready, getting your horse dialed in, and getting your nerves under control that I'd never really considered.

At The Jodhpurs Company, we believe that riding is a sport, not a hobby. But so often, as a spectator at a horse show, it's easy to watch talented riders make it look like a piece of cake to keep a big, strong and easily excited and frightened animal under control. It's awesome to get a sense of how much work actually goes in to riding such an amazing and powerful horse from the rider's point of view.

What did you think of the video? And what surprised you at your first show? Let us know in the comments down below!