Saturday, 8 October 2011

Boys Can Ride Side Saddle Too

I think most little boys whose mothers ride side saddle have probably at least once, had a sit on their mum's side saddles. My son, who loves anything about the military and history, has had a try on my side saddle especially after I told him about the soldiers from both World Wars (and even some men today), that lost their legs and who still wanted to ride and go hunting, rode in side saddles. He wanted to see how those brave soldiers rode afterwards.

I have two photos in my collection showing boys on side saddles and thought that I would share these unusual photos with you all. Both date from the early part of the 20th century, probably about 1910's.

I love this first one as the expression on the boy is priceless, he looks like he would rather be doing anything else but sitting on a horse. Look at the stirrup iron, it's a jointed "Groom's Stirrup"!

The second photo was taken at the seaside somewhere here in England and shows a toddler aged boy sitting in an even-by-this-date, old fashioned side saddle without a leaping head. I've always noticed in photo postcards and photos from the early 1900's and 1920's that that show seaside donkeys, that they are always laden with these REALLY old fashioned side saddles. I guess by the Edwardian era and the 1920's, there were tons of these relic side saddles around that no one wanted so the seaside donkey ride people picked them up cheap for the kids and ladies to ride in. There are still donkey rides at the beaches over here but adults aren't allowed to ride them any more.

Friday, 7 October 2011

A Date!

Don't you just love it when you find out more about something you have always wanted to know about?

Well, I was having a quick browse of Ebay before heading off to work this morning and a thumbnail photo of a newly listed auction caught my was another side saddle surcingle! An identical one to mine!!

The only difference is the one on Ebay has doeskin pommels whereas mine has leather covered pommels. The Ebay one still has it's original Victorian foot plate stirrup as well but other than that, it's identical right down to the tooling on it and the grab handle (the Ebay one has broken off however). Even the pommel placement is the same. The Ebay surgingle looks like it was used a lot more than mine though.

The neat thing about the one on Ebay, however, is the fact that the date stamp still remains on it. I knew my one was from the late 19th century but now I know that it was most likely made in 1893 as the one on ebay has a date of March 27, 1893!

I have written to the seller asking if there are any maker's marks stamped anywhere as it would be interesting to see who actually made our surcingles. Hopefully she will write back with some more information.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Crazy Week!

This blog took a back seat for the past two weeks as I just had too much stuff and stress going on that I was absolutely zonked in the evening. So if you emailed me and haven't heard back from me, chances are I missed your email in the thousands of spam I had to delete so please do email me again! :)

We had our dressage show on Sunday, September 25th and we did the Intro B and our first ever Prelim test, Prelim 4! The week leading up to the show, we were schooling daily and Hattie was an absolute nightmare. She was busy concentrating on everything else going on around her, going around with her head in the air looking at things, picking up the wrong canter leads, resisting on the right rein and just generally being awkward. I didn't even have my jumps to spice up things while schooling dressage as they were at our new digs and we were still at our old stables so I didn't expect much on the Sunday of our test.

The morning of our show came and Hattie still wasn't 100% with me but she was a lot better in the warm up arena than she had been during the week. Her trot was nice and forward and she only missed her left canter lead once. I checked the order of go and saw that there was quite a few people entered for both my tests so the pressure was on!

Well, we did both tests and I felt that I have never ridden so poorly in my life. Hattie went OK in the Intro test but I don't feel that we did our best. We came 4th with a score of 60.43% which I guess is good but I didn't feel right riding and Hattie didn't feel right. Not lame but just mentally not with it, I guess we were both mentally not with it that day. I suppose we would have probably been better off doing something else that day like going for a good gallop.

For our intro test, we got 4 for our "free walk on a long rein across the diagonal" as Hattie broke out into a trot, which is bizarre as usually I have to kick her along, a 5 as we lacked suppleness when we had to turn at E (to be fair, I kind of forgot that I had to turn there so it was a bit last minute!) and then 6's and 7's for everything else. One of our overall comments that we need to work on our suppleness on the right rein which is what had been giving us problems all week.

The Intro B test:

For our Prelim test, that was to me, atrocious.

We came 6th with a score of 59.09% which is ok, I guess, but I felt I rode poorly and by that point, Hattie had just tuned out. We got one 4 which is "insufficient" for striking off on the wrong canter lead between K and A. We had practised and practised this and she still struck off on the right lead instead of the left one! I brought her back to trot and we got our left lead and continued on. All our other marks were all 6's for "satisfactory". Our nice downward transitions from canter to trot went out the window that day as you will see in the video. It was just pure crap to put it bluntly.

The Prelim 4 test:

After Sunday, I gave Hattie the whole week off to chill out and also, I needed to move the rest of our stuff to our new stable. I wonder if the stress of looking for a new barn and moving stuff contributed to our poor performance? Hattie is very good with picking up on my moods so I reckon it affected her too.

Any ways, we got everything moved, Hattie moved into her new stable last Friday and has settled in nicely! she even has three new boy friends, Munchie, Charlie and the ever devoted little grey pony gelding, Jiggy, who refuses to leave her side in the field.

We schooled yesterday for 20 minutes and then again today for 20 minutes, just practising going nice and forward, doing some transitions and 20m circles, a bit of cantering and that's that1 Hattie was nice and relaxed and did it all! I'm also having to remind myself to SIT BACK as I've been noticing in photos that I'm tending to lean forward. I find when I sit back, Hattie relaxes, I can get her using her hind quarters and she gets the correct canter lead each time.

Her is Hattie outside of her stall after we finished schooling yesterday...

I've also decided that we're only going to do one dressage show a month instead of two. It's just to much stress, money and hassle to do two shows so our next show will be October 30. We'll do the Intro A as a warm up and Prelim 1 which is a nice simple test so as not to blow both our minds!!