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Lengthen the Canter: What Seat Does a Judge Want to See a Rider in for an Equitation Class?

Submitted by member: Abby

In an equitation class, if you are asked to lengthen the stride at the canter, would a judge prefer to see a rider seated or in a half-seat? And is there a rule for this or is it optional?

Answer by Julie Winkel

In an equitation class, when asked to lengthen the canter, it should always be done seated in a full seat position. When asked to hand gallop, the rider should always get out of the saddle in a half-seat. Although both the lengthening of stride and the hand gallop are the same 14 mph speed, they are ridden in different seats due to the difference in balance. The center of gravity shifts forward in the hand gallop, whereas the lengthening of stride has the center of gravity further back towards the hindquarters. Furthermore, a judge should only ask a rider to hand gallop to a jump, not show a lengthening of stride to a jump, as that would require an improper change of the rider’s upper body at take off, interfering with the horse’s balance.

More Learning

For more equitation tips, click on the blog posts below:

What is the Ideal Seat for Equitation Classes? by judges Julie Winkel and Geoff Teall

What Release is Best For Equitation Medal Classes? by Peter Wylde

Equitation Work-Offs: Acing Trot and Counter-Canter Jumps by Julie Winkel

How To Mount Your Horse In An Equitation Medal Test by Juie Winkel

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Julie Winkel

Julie Winkel has been a licensed Hunter, Equitation, Hunter Breeding and Jumper judge since 1984. She has officiated at prestigious events such as Devon, Harrisburg, Washington International, Capital Challenge, The Hampton Classic and Upperville Horse Shows. She has designed the courses and judged the ASPCA Maclay Finals, The USEF Medal Finals and The New England Equitation Finals.

For more information, visit her website: www.mwstables.com

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