Saddle seat riding is fun, but it isn’t for the faint of heart.

It combines powerful, animated horses, tough competition and, sometimes, a lot of (self-imposed) pressure. Things don’t always go as planned. Not every ride or class is an easy one. And in this crazy world, sometimes it takes a little creative thinking for a saddle seat rider to stay sane.

Here are nine #alternativefacts saddle seat riders tell themselves:

1. I bet he only looks strong.


Sometimes you need to tell yourself this to gather the courage to get on a certain horse. But if the horse looks strong when you’re standing on the ground, he’s probably going to be a lot stronger when you’re sitting on his back.

2. He’s not hot, he’s just really game.

No, no. If he’s attempting to run off, swap gaits and perform airs above the ground instead of listening to you, he’s as far from “game” as the North Pole is from the South.

3. That horse is so pushbutton.

It’s nice to think that the horse that keeps beating you in the show ring is somehow easier than yours, but truly pushbutton horses aren’t quite as plentiful as you think. And chances are, your horse isn’t such a rebel either.

4. I look great in my top hat.

Some people can pull off the top hat, and some of us just can’t. But it’s okay; just avoid looking in the mirror.

5. That pattern doesn’t sound so hard.

Perform a straight line off the rail with exactly five thousand lead changes, drop your stirrups and reins and return to the line up at a show trot? No problem.

6. No one will notice if I rip my pants as long as my underwear matches my suit color.

But your pants still have a hole in them, see?

7. The judge didn’t see that mistake.

It’s a comforting thought, but if you were paying attention to your horse like you should have been, you have no way of knowing that, really. (And, either way, the most important thing is that you keep riding!)

8. A full lap around before the line up will fix all the mistakes I made during the class.

If you blew both your canter leads, spun, shied and gallivanted around the middle of the ring, when they call for the line up, JUST LINE UP. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

9. If I can’t hear what my trainer is yelling to me, he must be asking me to work the bridle more.

Hey, you might not have heard correctly, but it can never hurt!

About the Author

Allie Layos is a lifelong equestrian with a passion for the written word, and she likes nothing better than to combine these two interests. While she has ridden multiple disciplines, her first love is saddle seat, and she serves as editor-at-large for the international show horse magazine, Saddle & Bridle. Her work has also been featured in a variety of equine-related books, websites and other publications.