Equestrian Class:Working, Middle and Aristocracy.

The Equestrian class in Ancient Rome ranked just below the Senators.But that is not what I am going to write about here. This blog post is an examination of the different “classes” of equestrian competitors. So let’s start with the workers!

THE WORKING CLASS COMPETITOR.

In dressage, hunter and jumper these are the workers and the independents. They do everything themselves. They set up their horses stall, hang and fill the water buckets, spread out the bedding, organize their horse’s grain feeds and their hay, hang hay bags, hang fans if the weather is hot, etc etc etc.  They do all the mucking out ( cleaning) of the stalls,  cleaning and refilling of water buckets, arrive at the show early and feed their horse’s breakfast, hand walk the horse, groom and braid.

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Then they tack up, ride in the competition, untack, bath their horse if necessary and take out braids, pick out stall, replenish the bedding, refill water buckets, give feeds, replenish hay, perhaps hand walk again, and at the end of the day go home to fall into bed and be ready to get up the next morning and do it all again.

THE MIDDLE CLASS COMPETITOR

This is the category I fall into. I have some help. I usually have my husband help me set up the stall and hang buckets and fill hay nets. I prepare the feeds and put hay into the haynet.  During the show, I have help ( usually my coach’s assistant) to come early in the morning to muck out the stall and take Biasini for a hand walk. When I arrive I groom and braid and tack up myself.

 

My braids are not professional but they are not bad for the dressage style of rosebud braids.

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I ride my test and bath Biasini or brush him and take him for a hand walk, prepare any feeds and hay for the evening and for breakfast. In Florida there is a very reasonably priced Equine Nanny who will give horses a night feed and a breakfast feed and also check on the horses every hour through the night. This is a tremendous help. With this level of help I am at the show for most of the day but not all the day and I can save my energy for riding the test.

THE ARISTOCRACY.

In the discipline of dressage there are very few amateur riders who have full time professional grooms to take care of all details of showing. Professionals who are riding more than one horse at a show have full time grooms to help them.  But….in the disciplines of hunter and jumper having a full time groom, at least at the Winter Equestrian Festival,seems to be the norm. Here horses are braided by professional braiders who do a magnificent job with the manes and the tails and may be doing it in the middle of the night!

The horses are then brushed and polished, tacked up and a nice fly sheet with the stable name on it is put on the horse , the riders number is tied around the neck of the horse and the horse is hand walked to the ring by the full time groom.

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The horse and groom  then wait at the side of the warm up ring for the rider.  This is certainly convenient for riders  who are riding in more than one class and more than one horse.

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At WEF there are children, adult amateurs and professionals who have full time grooms and who ride more than one horse.  I hope this has given you a grasp on why this group  really is the aristocracy of equestrians.

 

44 Comments Add yours

  1. Your braids are beautiful!
    And, heh, I think I fall in the extra sub-category: AA, who slides in on a banana peel doing all her stuff, and fills in by doing other extra stuff for whomever was kind enough to let my horse come in their trailer (extra braiding, grooming, cleaning, anything.)
    My husband thinks I’m nuts 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      You made me smile with this!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Miss A says:

    It’s a charm with doing a lot yourself, isn’t it? It’s all about quality time with your horse. But I can see the business part of it as well I guess. Just riding. I think I would prefer how you do it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yup! It is fun to spend time with my horse and i used to do everything and be there all day but at my age i now get a bit of help so I’m not there for the entire day.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Tina Schell says:

    What an interesting post Anne – I loved reading through it. I had no idea of any of this and to my untrained eye your braiding is much prettier than the pros’ ! What a commitment the life of a horsewoman is!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks Tina. I like the rosebuds best but the hunters always do those tiny braids. That’s their tradition.

      Like

      1. Tina Schell says:

        Aha. I’m w you on the rosebuds!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Janet French says:

    Would any of you folks know Edwine Hugunholtz, I have lost contact with her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      sorry I don;t know her.

      Like

  5. This is so interesting and I love all the braids. I can’t even braid my own hair that well. 🙂 Biasini’s rosebud braids are beautiful. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Well Biasini’s hair is thick and wiry. I separate out the hair for each braid and one by one spray with Quick Braid, then braid and fasten with a small elastic. Then I roll up the braid and squish it to flatten the roll a bit. Then i sew it in with waxed thread going back and forth through the braid about 4 times. I think they look good and they stay in well. The hunter braids are tiny as you can see in the photo. I think they sew them in with thread or yarn. It is very exacting work. I’m glad dressage does not demand that!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. They do look really good. This sounds very complicated though, no wondering I looked at them and thought I couldn’t do that with my own hair! 🙂 xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. anne leueen says:

        It isn’t too difficult once you get the hang of it. I actually find it quite relaxing to do it. It takes me about 45 minutes and in the business of a show it is a calm time to spend with Biasini. Thanks for your comments on this.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Alli Farkas says:

        Your braids are exactly what I do with my mare. Nothing else will stay in. It helps that Quic-Braid makes everything stick together like glue!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. (HorseLover4Ever) Elizabeth says:

    I loved the comparison between all the different types of equestrians–very interesting article!! And how wonderful and shining you had Biasini looking!!! Nice job… (:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks Elizabeth! Biasini has a very shiny coat so it is rewarding to get him looking his best.

      Like

  7. Excellent article for someone like me (a non-equestrian) to read and understand.
    Those rosebud braids…wow – you go Biasini!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I’m glad you found it interesting Laura. The Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) is really something. There is no shortage of funds being spent on horses and keeping a lot of people employed in their care and presentation. Thanks Laura for your comment and I appreciate you liking my rosebud braids!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love your tutorials! Keep them coming!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Jo Ann There is some humor in this one as well, I hope!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Linda Crank says:

    I thoroughly enjoy your blogs. I’m definitely a middle class equestrian too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Ok! Thanks for commenting Linda!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. omg…those braids!!!! wow! 🙂 do u think the horses understand and love all this beauty-touch? :)) or is it only for us, humans? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I think they are much the same as humans: some love it and some do not. Biasini stands quietly to be braided and when he gets into the show ring he becomes a “show horse” so I think he likes it.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. Emma Cownie says:

    Those braids are fascinating – I love the rose braids. Can you do them on humans (only if they have a very long neck lol!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes the neck would have to be long and the hair very thick and wiry!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Emma Cownie says:

        That reminds me – there’s a Horse Mane Shampoo that people use on their own hair in the UK. Have you ever used horse shampoo on your own hair?

        Like

      2. anne leueen says:

        I haven’t but there is a shampoo here called “Mane and Tail” that started out as a horse shampoo and it is widely sold in stores now. We use it for out little dog.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Emma Cownie says:

        That’s the one I’ve seen in the shops. Good for dogs too?!!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. anne leueen says:

        We use it on our mini Schnauzer.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Tonia says:

    Ha! Ive never thought about this in this way, but now that you mention it there are definitely “classes” in showing, in all disciplines. I noticed it WAY more in the hunter/jumper world, which I am no longer really a part of. Almost everyone, including myself, is a “worker” in my area, so our local shows are very “down to earth” although that doesn’t mean the caliber of riding and horses isn’t excellent…there are Grand Prix level horses and riders here, but the same person out there riding tests on that GP horse is the same person who braided them and bathed them and fed them, for the most part. Not only that, but many of us volunteer to help set up and tear down the show rings, make sure every stall has a bag of shavings in front of it and the competitor’s name on the door, etc.! Yes, I am completely exhausted after one of our show weekends, but I feel very fortunate to have shows only 30 mins from my house and with a great group of hard-working people who are also excellent competition to ride against! Did not come across this type of community in the h/j world as much…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks so much for this comment. I think that the type of show you describe is so good and may be exhausting but it is genuinely fun. And the whole “aristocracy” thing does not guarantee better riders! There may be beautifully bred horses but not necessarily ridden by better riders. The Winter Equestrian Festival is something in a class of it’s own. The upside is that the best jumper riders in the world come here and you can watch them for free. There are also many excellent hunter riders. But there is a great deal of wealth as well supporting all of this.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Auntysocial says:

    And then there’s me when I did a lot of endurance and XC rocking up last minute rolling a half mud caked horse out the back, giving him a quick dust down with my sleeve so I can get a saddle on then jumping on “Reight sorted… let’s roll”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      HaHA! That’s great. Thanks for this comment “Aunty” it gives some perspective to the wide range of equestrian pursuits!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. sandyjwhite says:

    Very informative, Anne. I had no idea of the different categories of competitors. There is so much work to be done, I’m sure it’s welcome to have some help.
    And I think your braid work looks pretty darn good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks Sandy for the braiding compliment! The categories are just something that came to my mind as I was showing last weekend. So it is a bit of a humorous take on it. At least that’s what I intended. But the divisions really do exist in the horse world.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. Very interesting look at a (to me) unknown culture. The “nanny” does hourly checks all through the night? Because the horse might be uneasy in the unfamiliar surroundings?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      They check them to make sure they are ok and around 2am they will top up water if necessary. Some horses stress at shows and can become ill. The nanny will spot this and can phone the owner and a vet if necessary. That doesn’t happen often thank goodness. My horse is fine at shows and in the morning i can see fromtheir report how he was at each check: standing up, lying down, how much more water they put into his buckets etc. It is a great service.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Cyranny says:

    Not bad? I think your rose-like braids are beautiful 🙂 But then again, I am not a judge, hehehe

    Like

    1. anne leueen says:

      fortunately in dressage braids are not judged but in England they have classes in shows were the grooming, shoeing braids are all part of the judging!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cyranny says:

        Well it sure looks like a lot of work, but when it is a passion, you probably don’t feel time passing by 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. anne leueen says:

        True! In a way you don’t and as I am usually always busy time goes quickly.

        Liked by 2 people

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