One, two . . . one, two . . . one, two. Posting trot . . . diagonals. . . de agony of de beat.
Many riders at Saturday's Lehigh Riding Club Horse and Pony Show found out just how agonizing it can be trying to get correct diagonals. They also found out just how important getting the correct diagonal is to the judge.
For those who think this sounds like a foreign language, here is a brief explanation:
The trot is a two-beat gait in which the horse moves diagonally-opposed pairs of legs. The rider lifts his hips forward barely out of the saddle as one or the other of the horse's front legs moves forward. This is called posting the trot and is done tostay in rhythm and motion with the horse and to avoid concussion.
When riding in a circle or on an oval -- as in a ring or arena -- the rider lifts forward as the horse's outside front leg moves forward.When circling to the right, the rider lifts his hips forward as the horse's left front leg moves forward. The rider is then on the left diagonal.
Now, back to the Lehigh Show.
At least five of the 15 riders in the Pleasure Pony Under Saddle class posted on the incorrect diagonal when circling to the right; several of them also posted incorrectly when going to the left.
"You see mistakes like this at shows this early in the season because many people haven't ridden all winter," said judge Sally Shirley of Westminster. "I was surprised that some of the riders with the best positions posted incorrectly throughout the entire class."
Overall, Shirley said she was pleased with what she saw through the heavy mist from her perch on the bed of apickup truck next to the ring.
"I'm seeing lots of nice quality horses and good suitability of the ponies and horses to the riders," she said.
One of Shirley's toughest judging duties of the day came in the Leadline classes.
Lindsay Warner and Curtis Bosley, both ofHampstead, were led on their ponies Snowbird and Scout's Honor, respectively. Curtis, 6, won the Leadline class, and Lindsay, 5, won the Leadline Walk class.
"This was a tough division to judge," said Shirley. "It was very close competition. Both kids were very good."
And so were their ponies.
"Those little ponies were so well behaved," said show organizer Bev Abbott. "They were the kind I would put my kids on. And Lindsay and Curtis were great. They were so serious and so confident."
The Short Stirrup division was a triumph for ToniStambaugh of Westminster. Stambaugh, 8, rode Smokey, 7, to second place in the Short Stirrup Walk class and the Short Stirrup Walk-Trot class; they earned blue ribbons in the Short Stirrup Walk-Trot-Canter and Short Stirrup Over Fences classes.
"He's a good boy," Stambaugh said of Smokey who also does duty as a school pony at Beth Stambaugh's (Toni's mother) riding academy. "His best thing today was his jumping. He really listened to me."
Here are other winners from the Lehigh show:
* Short Stirrup reserve champion: Ashley Lesko on Popcorn.
* Low Pony Hunter champion: Jessica Herbert on Best of Spirits; reserve: Josh Buchman on Midnight.
* Small Pony Hunter champion: Katy Sullivan on Nicely Dunn; reserve: Jennifer Furman on Dawn Jenny Wade.
* Large Pony Hunter champion: Karena Kaiser on Foxhollow Step Ahead; reserve: Rachel Ebersole on Head of the Class.
* Open Hunter champion: Melanie Abbott on In the Spotlight; reserve: Cheri Kershner on Diamonds & Pearls.
* Pleasure Pony champion: Heather Arnold on Royal Image; reserve: Karena Kaiser on Foxhollow Step Ahead.
* Low Horse Hunter champion: Leslie Bosley on Tuscany; reserve: Kelly Kaiser on Nancy Drew.
* Pleasure Horse champion: Leslie Bosley on Tuscany; reserve: Cheri Kershner on Diamonds & Pearls.
* Adult Amateur/Childres Hunter champion: Sarah Stein on Mouse; reserve: Melanie Abbott on Obsession.
Kelly Conaway of Taylorsville continues her winning ways on the pony racing circuit. At Saturday's Grand National Steeplechase in Butler, Baltimore County, Conaway and Garfield won the medium pony division; Conaway was second aboard Natalie inthe small pony division.
There was no division for junior horses,so Charlie Conaway III couldn't race Saturday. But he found another worthwhile way to spend his time when he rode his games pony Shalimarto escort his sister to the paddock and to the starting line.
Sunday: Carroll County Western Circuit Show at Ship's Quarters, 833-4593 or 526-9325
May 2: Trail Riders of Today meeting and potluck supper at Masonic Hall in Eldersburg, 6 p.m., 795-4262
May 5: Carroll County Equestrian Council monthly meeting, East Middle School in Westminster, 7:30 p.m., 833-4593
May 16: Trail Work Day at Gillis Falls Reservoir Site, Mount Airy, 795-4262