Catch Rider

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Her room is decorated with posters of horses in every shape and size and at night she reads Hunter Seat Equitation written by George Morris. Opportunity and fate collide when she is offered a job at Oak Hill, a fancy show barn, with a world class trainer. This book is yet another iteration of the equestrian tale as old as time … poor girl beats rich, mean girl with drunk codger of a trainer and horse with a heart of gold by her side.

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On a basic level, the story is very good albeit incredibly predictable. The author began showing hunters at the age of six and taught when she was older, so the world shown in Catch Rider is realistic … to a certain extent … more on that later. Unfortunately, Sidney is just not all that likeable as a lead protagonist. I love a solid, fiery female in my fiction, but Sidney came off as borderline arrogant.

I was a rider who could ride anything. That passage came at the beginning of the book, so I had hoped the author would allow Sidney to emotionally mature as she progressed through her training, but that just did not happen. I never felt she truly connected with any other character, including the half dozen or so horses she rode throughout the book.

Perhaps the author intended it that way, seeing as how Sidney only ever wanted to be a catch rider, but the consequence was a lack of emotional depth. To make the horse look easier to ride than he is? To not scare a baby? To get a stopper around? This has to do with determining whether you are there to "ride" or "train" a bit. The armchair saddler Politically Pro-Cat. I was a catch rider for a number of years on the ponies. Although now I mainly show for my trainer on his sale horses, I do sometimes still catch ride. It has a lot to do with networking.

Or, being in the right place at the right time. If you are tiny, pony barns would be a great place to start. I'm an adult now, but as a 17 year old, I only weighed lbs and was 5'3". Needless to say, I had a slew of medium green division ponies or large green division ponies who needed solid miles that I would show. Experienced riders are not prone to brag. And usually newcomers, if they start out being boastful, end up modest.

I don't think it takes as much talent as it does abilty to network. Obviously they need to be able to ride. Even minimal ability can be improved and turned into real "talent". But only IF a rider really, truely has the determination to put in the time at the home barn and is realistic about how much time that will involve.

Not saying this applies to this OP but most of the kids I see just have no idea of the real time and committment involved. Some also don't realize catch riders don't just pop up at the shows-they are in the pipline well before they get that show ride, working their butts off at home where nobody sees. When talent comes into discussions, I am often thinking back on a certain rider's early lessons. Where the instructor finally said he had no talent and needed to take up tennis.

That same rider still views himself as far less talented then many of his peers. I would say to to get a working student gig.


When you are riding 6 horses a day, and taking lessons on different rides, it gets a lot easier to jump on a new horse and go. I would "catch ride" at events, extra horses my trainer couldn't ride over scheduled , horses moving up and the owner wanted some one else to take them out first time etc. While networking is very important, and talent helps a whole lot I think that feeling is something that you are born with, or gain over a very long time.

I don't think that it is something that can be taught, even by the very best trainers. Windswept Stable. Originally posted by gmv View Post. Tex Mex.

I agree with Findeight. I'm am far from being the most talented rider, but I've had multiple offers to show every week on the A circuit for a few years. These horses are almost always for sale so I'm really careful about what I say. Especially when you are talking about divisions like ponies and children's or lower level equitation, most trainers or owners will forgive mistakes. They want to be able to call another trainer over and say "hey, watch this horse go, he's for sale" when you walk in the ring.

Then if you chip or make a mistake, they say, "See how cute he is? It's really much more about your willingness to smile and pet the horse when you come out of the ring than anything else. So all that being said, if you can just get your foot in the door with a couple different trainers, then it usually can take off from there. Start by hanging around, making friends, offering to help with other stuff, watch all the horses, then make it known that you are available if they need an extra rider for an under saddle class, etc. It was a complete dream come true lol.

I'm hopefully going to interview for a WS for next summer in a week or two. I definitely do have that "YES" attitude, and I'm always kind of disappointed in my barn mates. It seems to me that in my barn, the ones who get the opportunities are the ones that make you feel like they're doing you a favor. Originally posted by findeight View Post.

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As a catch riding jr. Those same barnmates who "disappoint" you may need a horse ridden when they get sick, go on vacation, head off to college, etc.

Reiner - August 2012

Across Sicily. Talent and networking both are important for catch riding. If you know someone who puts you on a horse and you do a crap job you won't be asked again - and there goes your catch riding opportunity. Ride a lot of horses. A lot. NEVER turn down a ride.

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Go in with an optimistic attitude and pay attention to the horse and what you know and the trainer's instructions. You will likely never get a perfect ride on a catch ride unless it is a really MADE horse - and even then, it's tough. Knowing a horse definitely has its up side. Mostly, though, just ride a lot of horses, develop a good feel, and adjust accordingly. I've found sitting in on all the lessons you can, sort of hovering around and making yourself useful to your trainer by helping out and whatnot goes a long way too. My trainers pick catch riders mostly based by the amount of time they put into the sport and of course how well they ride.

And of course being ringside when the trainer decides they want someone to step on the horse and take them around a few times to see how they look doesn't hurt much. My trainers are BNTs in the breed world, and that really doesn't hurt when someone is looking for a rider.

I've been asked to step in for riders that have the stomach flu, for horses that have needed lady riders to qualify for a certain division, for a trainer that just had too many young horses, because they just thought I'd look good on the horse, and a slew of other reasons. If you become a sought-after catch rider, you will learn never to attend a horse show without show clothes! Best of luck - it is fun! So many times I've been asked to do an under saddle or jog for someone just because I'm around and they can't find anyone else.

I know this is just a small thing but it can lead to something bigger, or a relationship with a BNT that may have something for you to show later. That relationship lead to a weekly catch ride for the winter circuit. Help Contact Us Go to top.

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Yes No. OK Cancel. Stallion Spotlight Real Estate Spotlight. Complete Profile Welcome to the Chronicle Forums. Complete Profile Announcement Collapse Forum rules and no-advertising policy As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Thanks "If we we couldn't laugh we'd all go insane, if we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane. I do agree. No one wants to pay for a rider to go in and chip at every fence! Once--ok--we know the pony can take a joke As is knowing how to set a green one up for a lead change.

Networking, being in the right place, LOTS of experience on green, and having a good feel and being accurate. Good attitude and good commincation skills. When you do get asked to ride, THANK the person and or owner and say something positive about the pony or horse --even if you had a horrible time. Be positive, thankful and smile! I never ask a kid twice if they complain about what they had to ride thru. Mind you I do not put them on anything unsafe or evil I agree with someone above that said to look for a working student position. Start at a smaller barn and get some miles under your belt.

I think of the same rider. He's certainly done well for himself but you're right - he has always freely admitted he had to work at it. That said, a catch rider is expected to give the horse an accurate, appropriate ride.

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Having a reputation for making horses look good and go well - and for NEVER having anything other than nice things to say about them - is key. I am reminded of a very good rider who catch rode a LOT of baby greenies the year my youngster was just starting out down at WEF. I watched her very tactfully get this one rather wild baby around and was very impressed to see the horse improve from line to line after the first line I did wonder if she was going to be able to get all the way around, as it lit up like a christmas tree on the opening circle.

The horse actually settled really nicely for the last line and jumped it beautifully - whereupon she made a nice fuss over it. She walked out to the waiting trainer and somewhat crestfallen owner, hopped off and handed over the reins, smiled and said, "He does so much right for such a young, green horse. I really like him. Bet the trainer will have her ride it again, knowwhatimean? At my new barn, I made it clear to my trainer that I was willing to ride any horse, any time. That said, she had me start schooling the lesson horses. When she saw that I was a balanced and handy rider, she started recommending me as a rider to horse owners in the barn.

So now, if someone is sick or going out of town, I hack or school their horse for them. Since I've started doing this, I've ridden half the horses in the barn most of which are nice fancy show horses. Another place I've gotten my catch rides are at some Welsh pony shows. I took my project pony to some and when someone saw me take miss green bean mare around the ring, they asked if I would hop on their green or difficult pony.