The frosty mornings, the hours upon hours of practice, and the literal sweat and tears that come with getting that perfect equitation pose can seem rather undesirable. Why would anyone want to pursue that? To all of the riders out there who still can’t seem to see the benefits of equitation outside of improving your riding, here are a few of them:
- Posture. More than ever, adolescents are found slouching, crouching, and contorting their backs in ways that are extremely unhealthy! People are all going to have back braces by the time they are twenty years old if they don’t learn how to stand and sit up straight and walk with poise! It is, however, quite rare to see an equitation rider slouch on or off of a horse. All those rides with your shoulders tied back with a whip between your shoulder blades definitely have an effect on your posture in daily life.
- Elegance. Nothing stands out more in a crowd, than elegance. An equitation rider is required to exhibit the utmost elegance while performing rail-work and patterns so as to make it pleasurable to watch. As Audrey Hepburn, one of the most elegant women known to walk this planet earth once said, “Elegance is the only beauty that never fades.”
- LIFE IS NOT FAIR. IT JUST ISN’T. Every single equitation rider out there has felt as though they were given an unjust ribbon, maybe even based entirely on their appearance. As heartless as it sounds, equitation teaches you how to deal with it. Hard work and dedication have always pulled through in equitation, not how pretty you are, or how much your horse is worth, but in those moments when someone’s (namely, the judge’s) opinion doesn’t swing your way, equitation will have taught you the confidence to feel sound in your ability, rather than cause you to crumble under the judgment of others.
- This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Participation in the equitation finals is only for junior exhibitors, so do it while you can! Equitation is a great way to meet amazing people, to stretch your mental and physical capabilities, and to obtain a priceless connection with a horse that will (guaranteed) change your life.
- And lastly, for the performance riders out there who would still rather be on a flashy show horse: equitation will make you a better rider. Equitation will make it possible for you to ride any horse, no matter how crazy his eye’s are. The ability to feel what a horse needs, while navigating through a pattern, will undoubtedly allow you to maneuver and show your way through the best and most crowded of classes with ease and style. If that is not reason enough to practice equitation, then I do not know what is.