Friday, March 30, 2007


On Sunday, March 18, 2007, the R. W. Mutch Trophy class was held outdoors in the Mogavero ring at 10:00 am. A half hour before the class began, the riders were segregated in a small area and an orientation to the class commenced. From that point forward, their was no contact with the trainers. The class is quite different than any other because the junior riders must walk, execute and analyze the course as well as warm-up their horses without the help of their trainers. Overall, from a junior rider's point of view, the class is very exciting and I was determined to do my best on the wonderful horse, Aaron, that was kindly lent to me by Karen Polle, a fellow rider at Beacon Hill.

The first round presented several challenges: a tough gymnastics line, tight turns and a one stride. Three judges who are different from the over fence judges, rated your warm-up from minus 2 to plus 2 and your over fence score is, then, adjusted accordingly. After round one, I was called back on top and received a bonus point in the schooling area.

The second round included two tests: a trot jump and a counter canter jump which included a turn. I was able to jump a solid round with Julie Welles, scoring slightly ahead of me and Maggie McAlary in first place.

It has been a goal of mine since winning the class in 2006, to win a second time in 2007. After two rounds, Maggie was 1.25 points ahead. Most of us thought, even the announcer, that the class was over after two rounds. But the judges decided that Maggie and I would switch horses, completing the same course and test from round two. In the end, I was called back on top.
All in all it was a great day and a memorable experience, at that!
Catch up with me later this week for more on WEF Tampa!
Talk to you later.
Maria Schaub

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


It is clear to me - through patience and an openness to the special qualities of each animal, that being a catch rider allows you to understand riding from a very healthy and sensible place. The learning and trust between a horse and a rider is reciprocal. A catch rider has to adapt quickly, using strategies that acknowledge a horse's way of going and level of experience. For me, each new horse offers something different, a special new learning experience.

In the last five years, some of my best memories as a junior rider on the WEF circuit have been as a catch rider. I was fortunate to meet great trainers, owners and horses and, for that, I am especially grateful.

This week Beacon Hill will compete at a Littlewood Show, which is held on the WEF showgrounds.
On March 26, 2007, we travel to Tampa for the last two weeks of WEF.

Talk to you later!
Maria Schaub

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


From a junior equitation rider's point of view, course design can often present challenges.

For example, with the Hunter phase of the Washington, the course is usually set on a twelve or thirteen foot stride. Adjusting in the lines may be necessary depending on the size of your horses' stride. Checking for a dotted line - a line beyond which you may not go in making your opening circle is important in this class. The dotted line will be marked on the course diagram at the in-gate not necessarily in the ring (sometimes it is marked with a line of bushes).

In general, Equitation courses usually ask questions of the rider. When evaluating an equitation course, thinking of the course from all directions can be helpful. When you look at a fence, it is better to think of it as part of a whole line - evaluating what went before and what is coming after. The course diagram can help you get a sense of how the course flows and what you want the complete picture to be like.

Talk to you later.
Maria Schaub

Monday, March 05, 2007

Some Thoughts On Sportsmanship

Hi, everyone!
The thoughts about sportsmanship that I will talk about today, are principles that I try to live by each day. If you get a chance, let me know what you think about these ideas.

Be considerate of your horse, and all horses, and their welfare, in and out of the show ring.
The horse always comes first!

Be respectful and show appreciation to your barn-mates, trainers, the farrier, the grooms, the barn mangers and all the other staff associated with your barn. Create a positive environment for everyone with your attitude!

Be polite and courteous to all the people you encounter and meet at horse shows, such as, the starters, trainers and riders from other barns, and their parents and families, as well as the horse show managers, course designers and all other horse show staff. Developing good relationships with the people who help you when you are horse showing can truly be a plus!.

Measure your riding accomplishments by trying to achieve your personal best. Having a positive attitude and vision of how you want to ride and compete, will help you in and out of the show ring.

Think of the greatest riders in our country, acknowledging how they compete both individually and on cooperative teams, and show a great team spirit and attitude yourself. By supporting the future development of equestrian sports in the United States, you are reaching one of the highest levels of sportmanship!

Catch up with me soon for some thoughts on course designing.
Talk to you later!
Maria Schaub