Thursday, September 10, 2009

Eyebug: WSCA Tandem Bareback Class

At the state fair last weekend, I got to watch a WSCA show. And thusly, I was introduced to a class I had never heard of: Tandem Bareback. Now, I've heard of riding double. I know what a tandem bicycle is. The concept does not bother me. Sounds like a good test of seat and temperment of horse.

Two skinny kids ride a horse around the ring, W-T-C-B-H, and then line up and get ribbons. Silly costumes are worn, and sensible tack (no tie downs, obviously!)

Now, I'm not going to lie, it's a stupid class (these kids aren't that good at it). Like Arabian costume class, it's not exactly something you do all that seriously. It's fun to go ride with a friend, and I'm certain all of the contenders were there for other classes.

So you'd think it would at least look fun, but it doesn't. It looks downright creepy. The kids sit butt cheek-to-crotch, knee-to-knee, toe-to-heel close. The kid in back keeps their nose almost touching the head of the rider in front of them, smiling at the back of their friend's hair/helmet. They move their arms in some sort of impotent mimic of the front rider. It's creepy! Even the woman behind me thought it looked unsettling.

As it's a western pleasure derivative, the winners were the pair with the slowest 4-beating horse, who was so long backed it looked like he could have fit another 3 or so kids. None of the horses moved very quickly- it was slow enough to realize just how unsettling it looked.

I don't blame the contenders. If you're already there, have a matching outfit and a friend who's willing to get a little intimate in the show ring, then it seems like a fun way to get another ribbon.

Still, it's like riding with a Realdoll or something.