Passing the Tokens

 (“Between the lead pipe and the rope . , , “)     

 A lot of inexperienced or nervous riders manage to get themselves lost in the show arena, their hearts sinking each time they hear the judge’s scolding whistle. Try as they might, they are befuddled by all those darn same-sounding letters.

What can be done to give them a break? I propose that Adult Amateurs have the option of more comfortable, familiar markers to indicate where movements must begin and end.

How about large versions of the Monopoly tokens? Or the weapon tokens from the game of Clue? Make them 4 feet high, easy to spot, and each one very individual in appearance.

I personally can’t wait to hear their readers intone, “Change rein on the diagonal from the thimble to the iron,” or “Between the lead pipe and the rope left lead canter.” And what rider could fail to see the humor in this scene and begin to loosen up, breathe, and let her mind work?

For that matter it probably wouldn’t hurt a lot of overzealous Type A riders, even ones who never get lost, to see those goofy tokens if not in reality but at least in their mind’s eye as they rider past them before their tests.