I recently started riding sidesaddle and LOVE it. How important is the costume of the rider to the judge?
I find it is much harder to collect my horse without both legs but we are working on that. Do the judges take into account the difficulty in sidesaddle vs western or english for the alternative classes? Any hints on sidesaddle from a judges point of view would be wonderful.
A great many of the peruvian judges really do not understand the side saddle and how good a rider has to be to make it look so easy.
There are rules for the attire of the side saddle and they are listed on pages 14 and 15 in the napha rule book. There may be percentages used in the SS class for how the class should be judged. So, yes, there are points for attire (correct attire that is). Wrong attire could DQ you.
If you use a quirt...that will help with the collection. If you have your horse doing a correct gait, is smooth and the horse is working with you as a team...you will have no trouble in the alternative classes.
I have to tell you that a great many of the horses in the show ring are doing the wrong gait. So, make sure you are doing the correct gait and you will do great.
What is a quirt? My horses enjoy lazy trail rides & sometimes collection can be a challenge in the ring especially with a sidesaddle as you don't have both legs to apply pressure as you drive forward.