Thursday, 14 July 2011

I Want To Do This...

Well, my virus and my ear infection went away and Hattie's kicked leg unswelled so I thought "great, we can start schooling again!".


Not according to Hattie after deciding to pull a shoe today while schooling. It wasn't even loose and she took a chunk of hoof off with it despite having bell boots on. Sigh...

I swear she does it on purpose to get out of work.

Anyways, the few times I did get to ride this week, were spent practising our transitions and our left rein cantering as we are going to attempt a Prelim test in September. I've been trying to put into practise what my instructor Lili, said about making a nice smooth downward transition (she is reading this! :) ) and this work has paid off as we FINALLY got some good marks for our transitions at our last dressage show.

Any ways, when I come back from vacation (and touch wood that Hattie hasn't found some new and interesting way to injure herself), I'm going to have a lesson with Lili so she can whip us into shape again as we need it!

We also had an interesting hack yesterday when Hattie ran off with me down the lane. I changed her chaff based feed to another brand which I thought was the same but is actually full of molasses and sugar beet (both of which are no-no's for Hattie) so it's sent her crazy. I've been having to school her before hacking out to take the edge off of her. On the plus side, we had some good fast canters!

While hacking out, we passed a man who asked if I was "practising" riding side saddle for a special occasion, I said no, I always ride this way! He couldn't believe it! It reminded me of a photo I came across on the internet a little while ago.

"Side saddle riders, Broad Chalke. A rare and unusual sight these days. The three ladies were beautifully dressed in side saddle habits as they rode their horses down the village street."

© Copyright Trish Steel and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The caption made me chuckle as we side saddle riders are becoming less rare and unusual these days!

I also bought myself a Belly Buster girth tightener on Ebay as my fingers are becoming too arthritic to do up a non-elastic girth, especially when Hattie blows out. I paid £6 for it and it's the BEST £6 I have ever spent. I can tighten the three fold girth easy without straining and Hattie doesn't try to bit me when I do the girth up now as I'm not heaving and struggling to grip the billets. I can tighten slowly which is what Hattie likes without stressing my fingers. It truly is a godsend.

My saddler Roger Whitehead, is also coming out next month to finish my off-side side saddle (YAY!!!), reflock my Whippy and restore my side saddle surcingle. I told him about it and he's excited to see it! If my off-side side saddle is done for September, I may try a dressage test in that as Hattie seems to like that saddle. With the age that it is, I don't think it will be a jumping saddle but purely for dressage. I'm going to have Roger take off the leaping head cover so my farrier can open up the pommel for me too.

Someone posted this video on the Sidesaddle Riders! Facebook page of Aly Howard who has started doing eventing with a side saddle. I WANT TO DO THIS!!!! I wish I was 15 years younger and a bit less stiff as I would love to event side saddle. LOL, I will have to be happy with my little 1' fences :)


  1. Oh my goodness! Just had a mild freak out moment. I've been reading your blog for about 6 months and suddenly I see my face on it! LOL! You should try a greenie or a starter event, there are crossrail combined tests as well, you just might have to shop around a bit.

  2. Wow! Cross country sidesaddle. Fantastic! I've recently started riding again after 20 years - gosh it is a long way up in the air. When I rode as a teenager I loved sitting "sidesaddle" and dreaming of riding aside in an elegant habit. At the moment I'm just happy to have my backside firmly in the saddle and my legs around Sam's ample tummy. But I do wish I could wear a habit because joddies are not the most flattering attire. Your darling girl sounds like a real character! I sadly just have Sam for my lessons and have a long way to go before I can persuade my lovely husband that my own horse is utterly essential. I love reading about your adventures.

  3. I was wondering if you could help me out with a problem I am having, since side saddles seem to be more common there. I am having an absolute devil of a time finding a SS that fits me and my horse over here. If I mailed you a wither tracing, would you be willing to have a look around for me?

  4. I would send wither tracings to either the SideSaddlery, American Lady Aside, Hundred Oaks or Sidesaddle Heaven. Between those four sites, the ladies should be able to help you find a saddle that will fit you and your pony.

  5. Just wanted to add one more thing, to have a saddle shipped over from England will be REALLY expensive.

  6. LOL Ally, it's because you are just such a good rider! You've inspired me! :)

    Poppy Black, it took me ages to convince my husband that a horse was essential, even now with Hattie firmly in the household, he still begs to differ. I saw just go for it and get one as husbands will NEVER agree ;-)

    Jessica, sure you can send me some tracings and what seat size you need. I'll be going to the Nationals at Addington in August to spectate and shop so I can look to see if there is anything there or is I make it down to Sandon Saddlery in the near future.

    Michelle, if you send a side saddle by courier, it's about £200. I sent one to Jeannie by DHL and it was about this. :)

  7. That's better than I thought it would be, still not cheap though. I think it works out to be about $300ish, plus don't forget you'll probably have to pay tax & duty and sometimes they like to tack on a fee for getting it through customs. Just something to be aware of, if the price is right, then it's still worth it! DHL is way better than any other courier for shipping in my experience.

    Question for you Leila, have you noticed that sidesaddle prices seem to be cheaper in N.America? I always keep an eye on Ebay UK and I wondered why that was. There are more sidesaddles in the UK but perhaps because it's more popular over there? I always wondered that.

    You're coming over to Montreal soon too aren't you? That's exciting!!

  8. Yes, I am Michelle, can't wait!!

    I'm not too sure as I think once you do the conversion, it works out the same. If you look at the prices of C&W's, Owens and Mayhews and what they sell for on the US side saddle websites compared to the UK sites, it works out about the same. Owens are desirable no matter which country you are in.

    Wide saddles tend to sell for ALOT over here as many people ride REALLY wide cob and cob types. The narrower saddles don't tend to go high which is kind of good for me with Hattie as she needs a normal medium fit.

  9. The thing to remember with DHL is that they are an importer, not a postal service. So, yeah, with the duties and all that. And if Lei slips in a chocolate, don't let her put it on the manifest or you not only have to pay duties on that, but they'll hit you with a fee for not getting pre-approval from the FDA!!!! (What a learning experience that was!)

  10. I can't believe they did that Jeannie, it was only a couple I sent you too! What freakin jobsworths they are. Next time, I'll just send choccy normail mail.

  11. Did they really put an extra charge on for having chocolate in the package?!?!?! That's really crazy!

  12. Yup, there was only about 4 things I put in too!

  13. The three ladies in the photo are Lucy Holland, Philippa Holland and Lady Martha Sitwell. The photo was taken during their 100 mile sidesaddle trek they did for charity

  14. Thanks Becca for the info! The photo didn't state who the riders were and always wondered who they were :)