I FINALLY rode out for the first time in two months yesterday! I free schooled Hattie first to see what sort of mood she was in and then saddled up and walked and trotted around the arena for a bit to see how my rib would be. I rode astride as I wasn't sure how my ribs would like sitting trot in a side saddle and figured if Hattie decided to trot, at least I could rise and save myself any unnecessary jolting.
Didn't do much as my astride riding is absolute rubbish now and the doc warned me not to try and do too much when I start back riding anyways so just went on a hack down the lane. I was a bit naughty and had a bit of a canter too. I had on my body protector and the stupid thing is too long! It kept bouncing me forward as the bottom of it hit the top of the cantle, preventing me from sitting up straight. When I got home, I chopped 2" off the bottom of the foam lining inside. I don't know why manufacturers make them so long as I'm 5'9" and the darn thing was even too long for me! Goodness help those who are shorter than me...
I hacked out again this morning but Hattie was ALOT stronger today and wanted to GO! I find the body protector makes me feel stiff like a beginner riding. I don't like wearing it but I don't want to break my rib again if I come off now that it is weak.
I'm going to hack out again tomorrow morning but first will lunge Hattie to get any excess energy out of her as I'm still trying to get my fitness back without having to hold in a strong horse. I don't know why she's gotten so strong as I've been free schooling/lunging her 4 times a week for 30 minutes a go and she's not on any feed at the moment as she's out 24/7 on good grass- same as she's been all summer! I'm also going to ride in my off-side side saddle as well to see how I get on with my body protector riding side saddle!
Speaking about long Edwardian riding habit jackets on the Downton Abbey post, reminded me about my old 1910's Busvine riding habit that I used to have. I bought it in 2006 originally to resell but when I tried it on and saw that it nearly fit me, I decided to keep it. It was made of navy blue cavalry twill and lined in beige silk satin and had a nice long jacket.
I finally got to wear it in 2008 when I hit 165lbs (the skinniest I have ever been and will ever be) to the Miss Blaby Beauty Pageant Procession, were local riders accompany the winner of the Miss Blaby competition where she starts her reign by opening a summer fair in Blaby, Leicestershire. I rode Senara, an Arabian mare I had on loan for a little while. She had never done side saddle in her life (she was 17 at the time) and took to it like a duck to water! The saddle was my old Champion & Wilton before I had the Wykeham pad put on for Hattie.
Here is Josie (before she got Chance the Welshie) and I making our way to the park where the procession was going to start from. It was a June morning and it was already VERY hot! I was boiling underneath that habit and it wasn't even a heavy weight one either!
Josie, me and m,y ever suffering husband, Gary, waiting in the park for Miss Blaby to turn up. It was a VERY long wait and Senara started to get a bit antsey. Horses aren't normally allowed on that park as there is a bit "NO HORSES" sign but the policemen didn't seem to mind us being there.
I was the only side saddle rider there! Note my antique Edwardian ladies side saddle riding whip with the little horse leg handle, I bought it especially for the procession and has been my good luck whip ever since. I can't believe how skinny I look there! Gah, I hate being 30lbs heavier now!!
Miss Blaby FINALLY turned up but there was a problem.... Every year the Miss Blaby winner gets driven to the town fair in a horse and carriage. Unfortunately, that year as the carriage was coming to meet us all at the park, the horse spooked and the carriage overturned in the road. Thankfully, no one but the driver was in the carriage but it caused a bit of a problem as how would Miss Blaby get to the fair to open it?
In the end, it was decided that Miss Blaby would ride one of the quieter ponies in the group and one of the rider's mums would lead her as she had never ridden in her life. Unfortunately, AGAIN, Miss Blaby had chosen to wear a mini-dress that day which isn't conducive to riding a horse so she her mother had to go back home and bring her a pair of jeans to wear undeneath her mini-dress. Poor Miss Blaby but at least all of us riders had a good time riding in the parade!
We even had a police escort and they blocked off the road for us! Senara didn't like the roundabout cricle painted on the road however.
All of us nearing the end of the procession. The end of the parade wasn't organized very well as we were all just kind of dumped in the middle of the road near a busy dual carriage way road with no police escort. Senara started to freak out as little kids kept running up to us wanting to pet her and mothers pushing baby carriages right behind all the horses so Josie and I just turned around and went back home as it wasn't safe.
Although the Miss Blaby competition is still held every year, they no longer have the riders accompanying the winner nor does she get to the fair by horse and carriage. They use a limo now...