by Pam Whitfield
(This article appeared in Riding Highlights.)
Scot Evans, big ‘A’ judge and nationally known clinician and lecturer, only judged the ANRC National Championships once, but he found it unforgettable. “I know quite a few ‘A’ judges who have judged the Nationals and all of them said it was by far one of the most exciting competitions they’ve ever judged,” he says. “Several said that because of it’s being sowell-rounded, the competition really showed a rider’s all round capabilities.”
Scot also says that judges at Nationals tend to stick around to see the results. “That definitely says something. After all, they have no idea who’s going to win overall,” he explains. “You’re sitting there by yourself putting your score on your card but your leader could up end as something else.”
Scot values the “master plan” aspect of the ANRC competitions. “As a judge, you’re able to see riders in three different environments,” he states.”These riders could handle any situation, but there is a master plan to all this. These riders have to come up with a plan of how to ride in that open field” during the cross-country phase.
Scot believes that riders who come from a horse show background can benefit from the ANRC. “After being exposed to it, they just keep getting better and better,” he says. A frequent spectator at Nationals and a clinician at many of the participating colleges, Scot can observe the evolution of ANRC riders over a period of years.
He also stresses the value of forward riding. “The one thing I think is very important about this program is the word forward,” he explains. “We’ve forgotten that everything comes from a forward rhythm. The point that people don’t grasp in my opinion, coming out of the horse show world, is the forward ride.”
“Sometimes the show world becomes so calculated,” he continues. “Everything is ridden out of X number of strides and is counted. But the ANRC cross-country course must be ridden off your eye and out of rhythm. So it’s about riding in a forward rhythm but you are also exposed to riding a controlled jumper-oriented or equitation-type course.”
Scot says that the ANRC creates a more unified rider who is also more aware of the horse. “This stands for the right way of riding. More and more people who are exposed to this are finding that it does make a difference,” he says.
He also sees the ANRC “as a way for the college rider to have an outlet other than a horse show.” Scot “strongly urged” Hollins College to attend the ANRC Nationals in 1999 and to take a team. “They had a smile on their faces from the time they arrived until they left,” he recalls. “I’ve gotten emails, faxes, thank-yous, all gratitude for opening their eyes to this.”
Scot also appreciates the team aspect of the ANRC. “One thing we’ve learned in US show jumping is that the team aspect of competition is very important. We don’t have enough team competitions in this country; we need to encourage riding for a team,” he says. “It’s a completely different experience.”
Scot Evans encourages interest in the ANRC when he gives clinics. “I talk it up when I’m traveling and lecturing,” he says. “It’s something that every college should investigate as an alternative and additional way to get team competitions together.”