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DOING NEW THINGS WITH ONE OF SADDLE SEAT’S OLDEST FINALS

Submitted by Lindsay Shearman, Co Founder of The Jodhpurs Company www.thejodhpurscompany.com

One hundred and thirty one years ago, onlookers flooded Madison Square Garden to watch the first NHS “Good Hands” final. Billed as ‘America’s Oldest Indoor Horse Show’, the event looks much the same today as it would have back then.

While sports have come (like basketball) and gone (nobody plays rounders anymore) in the 131 years since that first final, Saddle Seat still endures. One of the greatest joys of Saddle Seat is its tradition, and that was on display in the grace and precision of this year’s final:


The 2014 Good Hands Final | The Jodhpurs Company

That an event like this has stood the test of time suggests that the Saddlebred industry must be doing a lot of things right. However, in the video, there are plenty of empty seats in the coliseum, and that alone indicates room to grow and to innovate. As an equine industry we must continue to ensure that our Breed, our barns and our sport develops out reach beyond the relatively small niche of equestrian enthusiasts.

The young riders in this year’s class spent years of their young lives perfecting their form and the partnerships they have with their horses – a bond that any equestrian can understand.

But these riders aren’t just impressive young athletes … they’re also the future of our sport.

IMG_9757 webThey’re natural ambassadors, natural leaders, and they’re socially connected and empowered by Social media. Last year’s winner, Jessica Wuesthofen, had 1,262 Facebook fans following her journey to an eventual Triple Crown, an unprecedented reach, and brilliant use of a thoroughly modern and innovative method of connecting with people outside the show ring.

IMG_9844 webLike the leaders in other equestrian disciplines (for example, dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin), Saddle Seat is finding its 21st century social ambassadors, and Saddle Seat’s Equitation division has found its way to the forefront of the Saddlebred industry.

Why does that matter? How can we grow the event, the industry, the Breed? As with most things new and innovative in this world, the future of this industry lies with the next generation. The riders participating in this event, and all the riders that will follow to participate in this event over the next decade, will naturally bring change to how we present our breed and style of riding. All we have to do is be open to it. The horsemanship, athleticism and grace displayed by each of these athletes are impossible to disguise! The NHS “Good Hands” committee will serve as a platform that each of these riders can utilize to connect with others and share what it is they do with the equestrian and non-equestrian worlds.

IMG_9879 webStarting life as “America’s Oldest Indoor Horse Show”, the NHS “Good Hands” Final, like the equine industry itself, has many bright and exciting, history changing years ahead.

That an event like this has stood the test of time suggests that the Saddlebred industry must be doing a lot of things right. However, in the video, there are plenty of empty seats in the coliseum, and that alone indicates room to grow and to innovate. As an equine industry we must continue to ensure that our Breed, our barns and our sport develops out reach beyond the relatively small niche of equestrian enthusiasts.

The young riders in this year’s class spent years of their young lives perfecting their form and the partnerships they have with their horses – a bond that any equestrian can understand.

But these riders aren’t just impressive young athletes … they’re also the future of our sport.

IMG_9934 webThey’re natural ambassadors, natural leaders, and they’re socially connected and empowered by Social media. Last year’s winner, Jessica Wuesthofen, had 1,262 Facebook fans following her journey to an eventual Triple Crown, an unprecedented reach, and brilliant use of a thoroughly modern and innovative method of connecting with people outside the show ring.

Like the leaders in other equestrian disciplines (for example, dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin), Saddle Seat is finding its 21st century social ambassadors, and Saddle Seat’s Equitation division has found its way to the forefront of the Saddlebred industry.

IMG_9925 webWhy does that matter? How can we grow the event, the industry, the Breed?  As with most things new and innovative in this world, the future of this industry lies with the next generation.  The riders participating in this event, and all the riders that will follow to participate in this event over the next decade, will naturally bring change to how we present our breed and style of riding.  All we have to do is be open to it.  The horsemanship, athleticism and grace displayed by each of these athletes are impossible to disguise!  The NHS “Good Hands” committee will serve as a platform that each of these riders can utilize to connect with others and share what it is they do with the equestrian and non-equestrian worlds.

Starting life as “America’s Oldest Indoor Horse Show”, the NHS “Good Hands” Final, like the equine industry itself, has many bright and exciting, history changing years ahead.