Jane Carlton

Can’t Is Not An Option

Looking back, most people probably wouldn’t say high school was the easiest of times. Homework, college pressure, and having a social life are ever-looming. Add into the mix a competitive show career in the pony hunters, and it’s a recipe for stress. Brittany Walters-Bardwell, from Temperance, MI , has found the perfect balance between maintaining good grades and showing her medium…

Switch It Up—Shifting from English to Western Pleasure

By Jane Carlton English and western riding may sound diametrically—and geographically—opposed, but many riders are tempted to try riding on the other side of the ring. But it’s not as easy as simply swapping saddles. Careful thought and consideration goes into every discipline switch—for both horse and rider. Can the horse handle different maneuvers safely and comfortably? Do you need…

PLAN OF ATTACK—Take the Terror Out of Trot Jumps

Horror. Nightmare. Terror. Hate. Nothing in the show ring could cause riders to freak out enough to use such strong language, right? Oh, how you’re wrong! Trotting a jump as part of an over fences class, either hunter or equitation, can bring together troves of riders in their distaste for the maneuver. Sit the trot or post? Turn sharply or…

The Anxious Amateur’s New Years Resolutions

As 2016 peeks its head around the corner, I, like the rest of the world, find myself reflecting on the past year. What went well? What needs to be worked on? I don’t know about my other anxious comrades, but making lists soothes my soul. So here’s what I aim to do in the New Year—in handy-dandy list-form. 1. Ride. More.There’s…

Benched

One perk of sitting out horse shows: meeting your friend’s gorgeous mare, Dutch. As the most anxious of amateurs know (and I know you’re all out there), sometimes sitting on the sidelines is better than hopping on at a show. Sure, my wallet doesn’t disagree to sit shows out, but it can be a tough situation to come to terms…

The Anxious Amateur’s Pre-Horse Show Checklist

I’ve been attending horse shows for more than half of my life, and yet I still shake like a leaf when it comes time to enter the ring. I’ve settled into a pretty decent pre-show routine, where I can get rid of my nerves enough to not completely collapse into a puddle of fear at the sight of a judge’s…

Ace the Test: A Guide to the Equitation Work Off

For equitation riders, earning a blue ribbon starts with a great riding round, but it doesn’t end there. It finishes off with many riders’ least favorite part of competition—the testing phase. Judges typically ask riders back into the ring to complete a few of the 19 equitation tests outlined by the U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF), a tradition that leaves many…

How Low Can You Go?

Jump height and I have never been best friends. When I was younger, I always looked longingly at those 3’6″ jumps, but my fear (and, let’s be real, my lack of skill) always held me back. There were a few summers I showed at three feet, a height that many people consider standard, but college and work brought that to…