Congress Pattern Breakdown: Hunt Seat Equitation with Judge, Sissy Anderson
We would also like to thank HorseShowPatterns.com for allowing us to post the pattern in this article. You may view the pattern that is posted below or click here to download. GoHorseShow chose the Equitation 12-14, 15-18, Amateur and Amateur Select as they share the same pattern, and we find the other classes often share similar maneuvers.
Equitation 12-14, 15-18, Amateur and Amateur Select as seen by Sissy Anderson
The 15-18 Youth Equitation pattern is running in the Coliseum this year at the Congress. I feel it is important to go to the arena and visualize from the stands where you want to lay your pattern out on the dirt. There are nine maneuvers broken down in the description of this pattern with only one cone/marker set in the arena. Therefore, you have the use of the entire arena to best adjust your path for the size/stride of your horse. If you have your points to ride to before you practice, I think you will be better prepared when you go to execute the pattern on your horse. Then, you can adjust your path if needed when you are in the arena with your horse.
2. Left diagonal and square corner. This is where it is important to know how far and where you are going to mark your center of the pattern. Once you make your square corner to the right, you have made a commitment to come back to the same place in the middle further into your pattern.
3. Stop. Perform a 180 degree forehand turn to the left. The stop should be a smooth collected stop in the center of the arena, followed by the left forehand turn. This turn should show the judges a correct turn (not sacrificing correctness for speed), and without resistance from your horse.
4. Hand gallop 3/4 circle on the right lead. When you move into the right lead, it should be a natural progression into the hand gallop. Establish the canter first and (very important) address your reins to shorten with hands moving up the horse’s neck as you move into the hand gallop. Personally, I like to see a rider “bridge the reins” to shorten as opposed to just “walking the fingers up the reins”.
5. Collect the canter and change leads, simple or flying. In preparation for your pattern, you should know where your 3/4 mark is on your circle where you will collect back to the canter. The rider’s seat should come back to the saddle and the reins can be let back out to normal position. At the close of your circle, you should be right back on your line in the middle of your pattern, and perform your lead change there (simple or flying).
6. Canter 1/2 circle on the left lead. This 1/2 circle should stay at a nice forward pace with the size comparable to the right hand circle.
7. Right diagonal. The break to the right diagonal should come at the bottom of the circle in line with the center of your pattern. This should still be flowing forward not closing the circle, finishing up even with your center point of your pattern before you stop.
8. Stop, back one horse length and perform 180 degree turn on the haunches to the right. This should be a collected square stop. Back one horse length and turn on the haunches to the right, careful to finish your turn straight where your exit line will be.
9. Sit trot past A. Pattern is complete.
Overall in this pattern, I feel that it should be ridden with forward motion, connection and accuracy in each maneuver. It is impressive and evident to a judge when a rider comes in with an apparent plan and executes it to the best of their ability. Best of luck to all!
Judge, Sissy Anderson, hails from Leitchfield, Kentucky. An AQHA Professional Horseman, Anderson holds cards with AQHA and NSBA. She has judged the AQHA World Show, Quarter Horse Congress, NSBA World Show, AQHA Novice Championship East and West along with many major circuits and futurities around the country. Sissy’s daughter, Laska Anderson, was recently named AQHYA Reserve World Champions in the hunt seat equitation.