Equitation is, first, a real word. A friend of mine received her print copy of Moonlit and immediately called me, horrified, and sure that "equitation" was a typo in my biography. It's a horse-related word, and, to be fair, many horsey words are odd. I am, among other things, a coach for a high school hunt seat equitation team, which competes in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association.
So what is equitation? In short, a style of riding that focuses on "form to function," or, maintaining the most correct form in order to be able to most effectively use your body and aids. I copied this from Wikipedia's definition for a more thorough explanation:
Equitation is the art or practice of horse riding or horsemanship.
More specifically, equitation may refer to a rider's position while mounted, and encompass a rider's ability to ride correctly and with effective aids. In horse show competition, the rider, rather than the horse is evaluated. Judging criteria covers the rider's performance and control of the horse, use of riding aids, proper attire, correct form, and usually factor in rider poise and the cleanliness and polish of horse, rider and equipment. The performance of the horse is not judged per se, but a poorly performing horse is considered to reflect the ability of the rider. A good equitation rider is always in balance with the horse, maintains a correct position in every gait, movement, or over a fence, and possesses a commanding, but relaxed, presence, able to direct the horse with nearly invisible aids.
Tanzy is a life-long horse girl and, until her path took a detour with her father's death, was a formidable opponent in the equitation ring. My real-life equitation team did very well this year, claiming the title of Region reserve-champions, and sending two individual riders to the Zone championships. We're also sending six riders from our sister teams to the National competition in New York in two weeks. I'll be there to cheer them on, and to promote Moonlit. I'm very excited!
Here are a few pictures from our season:
Here is a picture of me at a horse show many years ago. Funny thing: my position isn't great in this picture. I'm pinched at the knee and my lower leg is too far back, which puts my upper body a little too far forward. But luckily, we were competing in hunters instead of equitation, and we won!