This is Part 3 in our series highlighting interesting facts about each of the four disciplines equestrian studies students can pursue at William Woods University.
Sarah Track, Saddle Seat Clinical Instructor, shares what makes Saddle Seat unique at William Woods and in the equestrian world in general.
- Rack On! The William Woods Saddle Seat string of horses is comprised of many 5-Gaited American Saddlebreds. The 5 Gaits are: the walk, trot, canter, slow-gait and rack. The slow-gait and rack are man-made gaits comprised of the horse putting one foot on the ground at a time creating a smooth and fast ride. Warning: Slow-gaiting and racking can become addictive!
- They keep their heads held high. No matter what breed, Saddle Seat horses should be flashy, long necked, high stepping horses with a willing work ethic. These horses will have a showy attitude but are level headed, kind and people pleasing.
- Saddle Seat at William Woods covers diversity in breed. William Woods houses not only three-gaited and five-gaited American Saddlebred lesson and show horses but also National Show Horses, Arabians and Morgans for the students to ride. This variety allows the riders access to breeds they may not have encountered before their arrival on campus. This ensures a more well-rounded equestrian educational experience upon graduation.
- … And diversity in shows. William Woods competes at all different types of Saddle Seat horse shows. These shows range from the American Royal National Championship in Kansas City and the Louis Charity, to the smallest schooling show on campus. Having access to all of these different levels of shows allows the students pursuing their bachelor’s in equestrian to grow with the size of the show. Many times the bigger shows provide students with a goal to work toward in their junior and senior years.
- Since 1996, William Woods has been host to the USEF Saddle Seat Equitation World Cup Selection Trials. Every other year the top equitation riders from American Saddlebred, Arabian and Morgan divisions are selected to come to William Woods and compete (on school horses) for a spot on Team U.S.A. William Woods’ Saddle Seat students have the opportunity to groom for the riders and interact with today’s top trainers, networking for summer internships and job placement upon graduation.
William Woods University equestrian students take coursework in equestrian business and management, science and understanding in every corner of the equine industry. Students can choose to specialize in one of four disciplines: Dressage, Hunter/Jumper, Saddle Seat and Western. This series features things you may not have known about these disciplines, and their history at William Woods.