Some of my son's horse crazy friends in his class came down to my stables today to hang out as it's half term break for schools here in the UK and they had been pestering me at school to come and see the horses and the chickens. I put them to good use grooming and helping to hold Hattie while the farrier put new shoes on her with a promise of a side saddle ride afterwards.
All three girls are 9 years old, two of whom take weekly riding lessons and the third has never ridden in her life so decided to use Josie's 13.1hh Welsh Section C gelding, Chance as a side saddle mount for the girls. The only side saddle I have at the moment is my off-side side saddle which fits Chance as well so used that for them.
I tell you what, I wish I had learned to ride side saddle when I was 9 as all three girls (including the one who has never ridden) all had natural seats and did not bounce when trotting even though Chance's trot isn't the most comfortably of trots either. They had such easy, calm positions although I did have to keep reminding them to keep their "LEFT SHOULDER BACK" and the two girls who had ridden before, even did a tiny jump at the trot!
This is Hannah, who has never ridden before in her life with her relaxed seat and she even remembered to keep her left toe down too!
Chance did really well today too considering Josie has only ever ridden him side saddle once before for a few minutes at a walk to see how he would react to the saddle. He took it all in his stride today. It looks like we may have another generation of budding side saddle riders.
Josie and Chance...
The saddler who is making my Manorgrove side saddle called me today to let me know that my side saddle with be ready not this coming weekend but the weekend after! I'm so excited!! He did ask the tree makers about having an off-side tree made but they told him that they would have to have a new block made to make the tree on and that he would have to purchase it for £1000. Unfortunately, this would be then added onto the cost of making me an off-side side saddle so I would be looking at about £3000 in total to have one made which is way above what I can afford to spend so it looks like I shall be sticking to my vintage off-side side saddle for the time being.
It is also the four week mark since I started conditioning Hattie (see my September 21 blog post) by regulating her eating and schooling her by lunging and free-schooling while I have been out of commission so that she would not be out of shape by the time I started back riding (my lack of fitness is another story!!). In the four weeks, she has started to muscle up, her coat has become VERY shiny and dappley, she is carrying herself better on the lunge and free-schooling and her transitions alot smoother. Hattie also seems to have a better attitude to schooling as well and just seems more forward going.
Here is her after photo taken yesterday, Sunday morning...
Now if only I could get someone to regulate my feed and lunge me!