I originally intended on riding Josie's pony, Jacob, astride for our dressage test today but woke up in agony with my hip this morning and thought "I can't do this!" so at the last minute, we did the test side saddle!
Jacob is a 14.1hh Welsh Section D and is an extra extra wide fit in saddles. He is BIG, ROUND and HAIRY and have been schooling him this week for the test. Unfortunately, I'm finding with my hip, that I am unable to ride very wide horses anymore without being in considerable pain so whatever horse I end up getting after Hattie, will have to always be a narrow Thoroughbred type like her for the times that I do ride astride.
Luckily, one of the side saddles I have waiting in the wings to sell, is a generous wide/extra-wide Swain in a kid's size 15 1/2" seat (19 1/2" in US measurements) which fit Jacob pretty ok. Josie and I tried it on him last night to size the saddle and had a little ride on him for 10 minutes and he took the side saddle like an old pro! Didn't even notice the balance girth either. Ironically, 15.3hh Hattie's three fold girth was too short for stumpy Jacob so had to use a girth extender on him.
The saddle is a touch narrow on him but it's not too bad. If it had a Wykham pad on it, it would be wide enough but as it is, it was acceptable for the short amount of riding we'd be doing. I would probably say that the Swain fits Jacob better than my old C&W did on Hattie which pinched her.
Although I take a 21 1/2" seat (US measurements) seat, I found this little 19 1/2" Swain quite comfortable to ride in! My seat bones were on the saddle, not hanging off of it like they used to on my 20 1/2" off-side side saddle. It's a little saddle that fits a big butt! Like the black Swain I had, Barry Swain built this one on a vintage tree but one a little later in date than the black one I had. Probably about 1910's- early 1920's as it has a flatter seat and wide pommels.
So with the thought that we would do the test side saddle today and my hip would not have to hurt another day, I jumped out of bed, steamed the creases out of my "new" 1934 Moss Bros habit and armed with Hattie's girths and a really wide Swain, we set off to the stables, went to the show and did out test!
We scored 63% and were 6th out of 10 riders but unfortunately, there was a joint 5th place and so they did not award a 6th place ribbon (I REALLY wanted a pink 6th place rosette too!). I was surprised that we even scored that high as I hadn't thought we'd place at all as it was Jacob's first ever dressage show, let alone doing it side saddle!! My right shoulder wasn't as back as I would have liked it to have been and Jacob was busy looking at EVERYTHING and not concentrating but hey ho, we did good all things considered!
Of course, Josie rode him and she got 2nd place with 67%. LOL, I must remember to never show against a 13 year old and stick to the old lady's divisions and leave these youngsters to get on with it!!
My Moss Bros habit was warm and comfy today too. The sleeves on it are a tad short as is usual with all clothes (habits and normal clothes) as I have stupidly long arms but it is generally a good fit.
It was a good day and nice to actually ride side saddle again!