Friday, 7 December 2012

Off-side Jumping- Take Two

So to break up the tedium on winter, I've decided to start jumping again. Nothing high or amazing, we have no pretensions of being the next Ellen Whitaker but just to bide our time until the showing shows start in the spring again.

Hattie will never make a dressage horse as she HATES schooling but I know she likes jumping so have decided again, to incorporate trotting poles and little jumps sneakily into our schooling this winter in preparation for the spring and summer shows that we both love.

Maybe we will even do a few low height clear round jumping shows this winter, even after the fiasco at the one last winter where I was forced to jump 2'!

I have also decided to sell my Whippy side saddle as well. After jumping this past week in that and in my off-side side saddle, I have come to the conclusion that I prefer a sweepy seat over a flat one. My Whippy, as much as I love it, just doesn't fit me as well as a sweepy seat does (like is what on my Beck, Champy and my Mayhew) and is hard on my hip due to it's flatness. I know flat seated saddles are held up as the "ideal" side saddle but from my own experience, some people's conformations can't take them.

I found jumping in my off-sider more comfortable and I could get a really good purchase with my left leg on the safe. This was the first time I have jumped in my Beck Morrow and the first time jumping on the off-side since August 2010 when I fell off my old off-sider and broke my rib. I don't want to do THAT again so have to make sure I concentrate.

Hattie and I first attempt, she just kind of trotted over it...

A later attempt, good left shoulder back too...

We'll just have to keep practising and see how we go!

Friday, 30 November 2012

May I Introduce...

...Major Reuben Llewelyn Farley!

I had the fortune of Major Farley's great nephew, Tom Farley (Francis Dashwood Farley's grandson), contacting me with additional information on his great uncle and kindly sent me a photo of the dashing Major in his uniform.

It is so wonderful to put a face to the name written on an old saddle label and give the history of this side saddle, the human aspect. Tom informed me that his great uncle sadly died in 1954 and never married so had no direct descendants. I am very happy then, that Champy has ended up in my care instead of being in that antique shop's rubbish pile with a forgotten history.

Thank you Tom for all your help!

December 7, 2012 update! I was informed by a WWI re-enactor that judging from Major Farley's uniform in the photo, that this picture was taken right before the war in c. 1912- 1913, that he was a volunteer due to his side cap  and that the rank badges on his sleeve cuffs denote that he was a Lieutenant when the photo was taken. In 1917 the rank badges were moved off of the sleeve cuff to the shoulders as they were too conspicuous to snipers!

Monday, 26 November 2012


Typical to British weather, we have been inundated with rain causing severe flooding everywhere. Our stables have been fine but many other stables and fields around me have been submerged and the Ford River which runs at the back of us, got VERY high- so high that is started to reach the arch of the bridge!!

Usually we can hack to the bridge and get over it but not this time. Just a little bit down the lane from us, not even close to the bridge, we encountered this (note the current flowing through the middle of the five bar gate!!)...

We went a little further and could see the bridge in site but the water was already coming up near to the edge of Champy's off-side flap and my left foot was getting wet (rubber riding boots are your friend in the UK!).
I decided it would be too dangerous to go any further to the bridge (way in the distance ahead!) due to the fast flowing current and the height of the water...

So we headed back home where Hattie promptly fell asleep in the sun after her "swim". You can see how high the water came up her and that was only little bit down from our stable! If we had gone to the bridge, it would have been waist level on me (Hattie is 15.3hh) and she would have started swimming. Not the safest of things when you are side saddle ...

The weather did let up a little for the South Kilworth Riding Club awards presentation evening where Hattie and I picked up our year end prizes! We got two Champions and a Reserve along with two perpetual trophies (will have to make sure to win those again next year so we don't have to give them back!!).

Roll on next spring when the shows all start again!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

A Manly Side Saddle

I was curious to know the date of Champy as I figured he was about the 1920's mark due the transitional features he has from both eras of side saddle, i.e. plain sweepy seat from the late Victorian and Edwardian period but pommel and flap style of the 1920's- 1930's "Golden Era" of saddles.

The panels are nailed on at the front so couldn't drop them without taking out the nails (I'll leave that to my saddler when he comes to linen the panels) so carefully pulled the panel edge away approximately where the labels are usually stuck on and peered underneath.

There I spied the edge of a label saying Champion & Wilton and it turns out that Champy was made for a MAN!!!!!

The label says "India" at the top, then "Major Farley" with his saddle measurements underneath, "18 3/4"  for the length and "12" for the seat width. The label has the date of October 9, 1919 (so I wasn't that far off the mark, it IS a transitional style of saddle between the two eras) and the serial number of 1669.

It wasn't unheard of for soldiers who got injured in both world wars and who wanted to continue riding afterwards, to ride in a side saddle but who was this Major Farley? Was India the name of his horse or where the saddle was being sent to?? From his saddle measurements, he would have been around my height, 5'9" as the saddle fits me.

Thanks to the power of the internet, I did find a little more information on Major Farley ...

Reuben Llewelyn Farley was born in 1890 to Reuben Farley (1826- 1899), FIRST Mayor of West Bromwich, Staffordshire and Harrietta E. Fellowes, whom he married in 1887 (his third wife). Reuben Llewelyn was one of five children (3 boys and 2 girls, the two girls died unmarried) and with his two brothers, Captain Charles Finch Farley (1892- 1969) and Francis Dashwood Farley (b.1896), both serving in (and surviving) the first world war with Francis becoming Justice of the Peace for Warwickshire in 1941, Deputy Lieutenant of Warwickshire in 1954 and vice-chairman of the Warwickshire County Council between 1956 and 1958. A partial Farley family tree can be seen here along with the names of Reuben Sr.'s deceased wives, addresses where they lived and even the names of their servants that the family had when Reuben Jr. was a boy!

Major Farley's father, Rueben Farley, Mayor of West Bromwich...

At the start of World War I, Reuben Llewelyn, seems to have enlisted in the Cavalry as the September 8, 1914 edition of the London Gazette has a list of "temporary Second Lieutenants" in the Cavalry of which his name is listed. An interesting note, before the Second World War, cavalry recruits were required to be at least 5'2" tall, but could not exceed 5'9" which confirms that he was probably just eeked in for the height requirements and why his saddle fits me!

He was a major by 1917 when he was wounded and still a Major after the war in 1919 of the a reserve cavalry regiment and on June 3, 1919Major (A. /Lt.-Col.) Reuben Llewelyn Farley (Cavly. Res.) received an OBE.

In 1920, Major Farley bought Wornditch Hall, which is now a Grade II listed building in Kimbolton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, and which was originally built in the 18th century. The Wornditch Hall and outbuildings (including stables and tack room where Champy lived), are still there to this day and are currently for sale by private treaty if you have several million pounds to spend!! The shop where I bought Champy is about 30 miles from Kimbolton in the same county so it makes sense that perhaps the owner of the antique shop purchased the saddle along with other house contents after Major Farley died (I still have yet to find out this date).

Then in 1946 and 1949, Major Farley was nominated to be "Sheriffs in the King's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice on the Morrow of Saint Martin" for Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire and in 1950 was appointed Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire.

He was still alive in 1952 but I cannot find any mention if he married or not, photos, or any other information about him. There are still descendents of the Farley family around so as I find out more information about Major Farley, I will update this post.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Reversible Side Saddle Eye Candy!

You tend to find reversible side saddles pop up all at the same time, some are poor chop 'n weep jobs like this poor old reversible which has been on Ebay several times being passed pillar to post by various disappointed owners...

Can you spot the weep worthy chop job on this saddle apart from the chopped off off-side fixed head? Off-side safe has been cut down, bad recover job on the leaping head, no leather covering on the near-side fixed head. I was tempted to bid the first time this saddle was listed by the first seller but when I found out how much it would cost to rebuild the off-side head and undo all the poor alterations, I wisely decline as I don't think my bank or credit card would have been too happy!! Poor saddle, hope the current owner is able to get it restored.

Sometimes you get reversible oddities like Lillian Chaudhary's c. early 1890's reversible side saddle surcingle that she has in her collection! 

Then you get this Victorian BEAUTY made by Davis, owned by Jocelyn Danby of Danby Equestrian that she just recently bought for her collection and to restore.

According to Nick Creaton, "This saddle was made approximately between 1884 and 1890. I can tell you however he (Davis) referred to it as his "new style" ladies leather and it cost 3 shillings and sixpence (£17.50p) in 1890 . He made a speciality of Reversible side saddles "much recommended by the medical faculty for delicate and youthful riders, ensuring a graceful and upright figure, and relieving the strain on the different muscles". The cost of this saddle was £11 and a plain hog skin version could be had for £9.50p in 1890. For an extra 10 shillings you could have a double socket leaping head on each side."

What is neat about this saddle, is that the purse can be swapped to either side as well by using the leaping head socket and attaching it with the leaping head socket plug! Jocelyn said that she could make me a purse like this for my reversible Parker saddle but I will need to get a socket plug made for my saddle as it's missing the original one. I really like these purses on side saddles as they are handy when out hacking to put your phone and a hoof pick in them.

Detail of the beautiful seat and look how open the heads are on the saddle. Sometimes with these fixed head reversibles, the heads are shaped for very small legs so the space is quite narrow between the upright heads but these one seems to have quite ample spacing. The leaping head seems to a more open curve to it as well to suit an adult leg.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Meet Champy!

Hattie and I went for a glorious gallop the other day on my off-side saddle. Galloped up the hill, then walked down it and then tore off in the corner of the field, flying over the ridge and furrow field and jumping the water filled "ditch" (actually, just where the rain water pooled at the bottom of the furrow but Hattie didn't now that!). I felt VERY secure in my Beck (it is still hard work trying to keep my spine straight but at least I'm concious of it now) and am tempted to go hunting the next time there is a Side Saddle meet at the local hunt (won't be jumping hedges though- we'll go the flat non-jumping route!).

My friend Julia and I also also decided to take a road trip last weekend to do some antiquing as the weather was rubbish, her neighbours were being jerks and it was just a generally rubbish day. Old things always cheer us up and we drool at the architecture of the old houses we pass along the way. We ended up in a junky shop in the middle of nowhere and went in. There was nothing much there, just old tat, most of it overpriced and nothing special. It was all pretty depressing really and as I wandered around in a zombie state looking at all the crap "antiques", I stumbled upon a back room with the door open. I don't know if customers were supposed to go in the room or not, but the door was open and there were some things that had price tags on them so I went in. 

And there piled up on a card board box with load of broken old mouldy stuff, garbage, junk, was a c. 1920's Champion & Wilton!

 It looked at me and I looked at it (his name is Champy), and he told me to rescue him from this dump of a shop and take him home. Unfortunately, since he was in the "garbage pile", he had no price tag and the unhelpful salesperson didn't know a price nor did they want to sell Champy as the shop owner wasn't there. Champy was crying as he didn't want to be there with all the nasty things in the box so I made an offer, the salesperson went away to "consult" with the other salesperson there and then Champy came home with me. Champy was VERY happy when he arrived home to see that this was a horsey family and that there were other side saddles to be his friend! Parker (my reversible) and Little Adam (the pilch!) both introduced themselves and warned him that I would probably be taking him for a spin on the Hairy Miserable Beast.

Well, ride Champy I have and he is VERY comfy, the seat seems to be padded with something between the leather and webbing, I wonder if it's Illsey foam? His panels are a bit moth eaten (not too bad, a linen covering would sort that out) and the flocking needs sorting out in him but other than that (and needing new billets as the original ones are on there), it's actually quite ridable as is!

Some lazy photos of us riding in it. I didn't want to push Hattie too much as I didn't know if the old billets would give away or not!

The seat has a slight dip to it which I like and the pommels are comfy too. The seat is 17 1/2" from cutback to cantle (US 21 1/2") and is 13 1/2" wide so fits my bum better than my Whippy.

It has a Champion & Wilton style balance girth with point and buckle but luckily it came with such a balance girth which also happened to fit Hattie as I don't have any balance girths in this style. 

The saddle will need a point strap on the off-side for Hattie however, as the saddle slide forward about 2" after we walk, trotted and cantered. 

It did not go as far forward as my Edwardian Champion & Wilton did and she did not seem to mind it (if Hattie does not buck when trying a saddle, she likes it). You can see by the white scuff marks made by the edge of the numnah, how far the saddle went forward. A point strap and the flocking being sorted out will fix this. 

Interestingly, the saddle has a crupper loop at the back of it. I wonder if this saddle went forward on the horse who originally wore this as well? If so, why didn't the saddler just put a point strap on the off-side for maximum girth set? Other side saddles from this era, like Whippys, had off-side point straps. This saddle also has two back D-rings for attached a rolled up rain proof mac to the back of it too!

Usually Champion & Wilton trees do not fit Hattie as the off-side fork, curves too acutely inwards and pinches her off-side wither. This one seems to have a slightly more open head than all the other C&W's I have seen but without having a huge flair at the shoulders. It is VERY similar shaped to my Whippy- open at the head without being too flared at the shoulder and ribs. You can see that the tree shape follows her shape quite well.

This is the shape I need for modern astride saddles and what causes Hattie so much grief when trying to find her an astride saddle. The "narrow" modern trees fit her in the shoulder but pinch in the wither, the "medium" or "medium/wide" trees fit her in the wither but stick out like wings at the shoulders! I think we'll stick to old name side saddles.

Annoyingly, a little mouse also had fun with Champy sometime during the past 80+ years and chewed through the leather layers of the fixed head!! LUCKILY, the mouse chose to chew through the middle of the fixed head and hit the iron strapping on the tree so could no proceed any further and gave up. The fixed head is completely sound (it's only cosmetic what the mouse did), and it's neat to see all the layers of leather that the saddle maker used to build up the big flared head on the saddle!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Suffer for Perfection!

Since my dressage show on Sunday, I've been trying to be more concious how I sit, stand, lay down, ride, ride my bike- anything really, to try and retrain my body to be as straight and even as possible. Due to the conformation of my back, I will never be 100% straight but if I can try and be a little less wonky in the saddle, then that is better for Hattie and me!

Hattie falling asleep after our short (but killer for me!) schooling session...


I've looked on various scoliosis websites at stretching exercises and was surprised (and pleased) to see that some of them I have already been doing as they are the ones my physiotherapist gave me a few years back. I guess if I hadn't been doing those already, I would have been even more crooked! I found some good side stretch ones on the Live Strong website so have been doing those since Monday and it's TOUGH! I think I over did it a bit yesterday as although I only schooled for about 30 minutes, I was making a real effort to stretch out my right side on my off-side side saddle and could feel the pull on my right side waist muscles. My right hip was not happy yesterday with all these new stretches and riding position at all but it's a lot better today so I think little and often is the key to straightening out 37 years of wonkiness!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Anyone Have A Steam Roller To Lend Me?

Hattie and I FINALLY made our first competing debut in our off-side side saddle today and it was brilliant!

I decided to enter in the Intro A class (walk/trot) as we are still working on our canters and cantering 20 meter circles in this saddle and just wanted something non-stressful to try this saddle in a competitive situation in.

There were 10 riders in this class, some were riders new to dressage and others were Prelim riders using it as a warm up for their horses so a good competitive mix really and we ended up coming 5th with 61.74%!

Our comments have improved from the last time we did this test and my figures were more accurate, we also got more 6's and 7's than 5's so that was good too! Hattie still got her "trademark" lacking in purpose comment too, lol, this time when we were trotting the 20 meter circle at E.

Murphy's Law, however, dictated that not all would go smoothly today as as soon as the judge rang the bell for us to start, my safety iron decided to unhinge itself and did not have time to make it right so decided to just do it stirrupless. Don't think we did too badly??

All in all I am VERY please how Hattie went today in this saddle and think we will go back up to doing the Prelim tests at the next show.

HOWEVER, I did notice something today with myself that my off-side side saddle has brought to my attention that I hasn't always been immediately obvious when riding astride or in my nearside side saddle, but that has always been lurking in the shadows since I was a crooked spine aka scoliosis.

I've always had problems with my back and hip ever since I was a teenager and although I had been to doctor's about it, none of them actually did anything about it preferring to blame it on riding and that my back aches were caused by my weight and that I would "grow out of it". Even my gym teacher noticed my wonky back and showed the class it so why on earth the doctor's did nothing is beyond me.

You probably noticed it in the video, right hip higher than the other, the right shoulder lower than the other even though I was sitting perfectly square, my left shoulder back and my back was straight.This has always caused me grief in an astride saddle as I always collapse down to the right and then lose my right stirrup and have to hoik it up a hole or two higher than my left one. Riding bareback and stirrupless helps me overcome this astride. Riding in my nearside Whippy, the same thing sort of happens but it's not that noticeable except for the dropped right shoulder since a nearside saddle kind of covers up and compensates for this fault.

When hacking out yesterday, Julia shouted to me that I was "wonky" but I had no idea that I was because I felt comfortable and central. You can see in the photo that she took of me yesterday, that even though I'm square in the saddle and my left shoulder is back, I'm wonky on the right side like a "C" shape! How strange that someone can be straight and wonky at the same time!!

When analysing my video today, it got me wondering why my "spinal imperfection" is so blatant in my off-sider and then I looked down at my lap and saw this...

This is how I sit and have always sat for as long as I can remember, my left leg hooked under my right thigh so that my right hip is propped up so that it has no pressure on it and all the weight is on my left hip (the non hurty side). Even when I get into the bath, this is what my legs do. Because of the slight curve in my spine, this is a natural comfortable position for me to assume. I can't do it the other way round, it's too uncomfortable. I guess this is why I find off-siding so comfortable as it's basically how I sit at home and have sat for most of my 37 years!! In fact, I'm sitting like it now as I type this!!!

When I sleep, I prefer laying on my left side as my right side feels like it's being pulled apart too much and is uncomfortable. 

Then it got me to thinking, what is these comfy sitting and sleeping positions doing to my back and side muscles so I did some stretches (side to side, etc) and I'm definitely looser on my left side than on my right which would correspond to how lay down and how I sit on chairs and on my off-side saddle. The muscles on my right side, because of the curve of my spine, are shorter and more tenser which pulls me down on the right side, hence the lower right shoulder and the higher right hip- they being pulled  towards each other!!!

It explains why my heavily boned Victorian corsets that I used to wear for Victorian re-enactments, always wore out first on the right side and why the bones ended up being bent severely inwards on that side as well, LOL!

So now with this "light bulb moment" and barring being run over with a steam roller to straighten me out, I'm going to have to take drastic action to "uncrooked" me as best as I can for riding on the off-side as Hattie and my poorly hip enjoy riding on that side the best. I already do the back exercises the physiotherapist gave me for my hip and lower back but am going to have to look into which exercises are best for stretching out the side muscles on your back and do these everyday before riding to even myself up!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Stirrup Length and the Sweet Spot

I've been riding in my off-side Beck side saddle for about 2 weeks now alternating between hacking out and schooling in it and it's been wonderful for my hip! I can actually school for an hour and then be able to go on a hack afterwards without my hip screaming in pain and then the dreaded "unclicking" of my hip when I get off.

The thing I have been noticing about my Victorian saddle, is that they were not meant for all the technical schooling that we do these days. With it's symmetrical "common" seat, my saddle was built for riding straight in the park and perhaps some hunting with cantering and galloping straight on. I've been having brilliant, fast hacks out in my off-sider and feel very secure in it for fast hacks but schooling dressage, especially 20 meter circles and bending exercises, in the common seat is taking a bit of getting used to as I can't adopt the same seat position in my 1898 Beck that I can in my 1930's Whippy with it's built out flat seat.

I love the slight dip to my Beck as it fits my ample thigh great but have been finding holding my position on the seat while cantering 20 meter circles and doing spiralling exercises difficult. My seat bones are ending up diagonal with each other with my left hip being slightly forward to my right which then makes me need to twist at the waist to force my left shoulder back so that I don't corkscrew off of the saddle on the off-side. Hattie has been sensing my position problems and hasn't been wanting to canter in the school as she can feel that I'm not balanced on the bends (there has been no problem cantering and a bit of galloping out on hacks though!!).

SO this morning, I had to have a think of how to ride in this antique saddle which has a totally different seat shape to my Whippy built 40 odd years later. If I had a mirror image of my 1930's Whippy, there would be no problem but going by the photographs in Mrs. Haye's The Horsewoman, Victorian women adopted a different position to what 20th century ladies did and the saddles were built to reflect the riding styles of the day.

I like a short stirrup and ride short in my Whippy with the leaping head set on the top hole and have been riding with a short stirrup in my Beck Morrow.

You can see that this stirrup length isn't doing me any favors as my heel has come right back which forces me to sit right at the back of the saddle which in turn, keeps me from getting my lower left leg back and around the fixed head for a good purchase on the saddle.

Sitting too far back on the saddle. You can see that I'm twisting at the waist to keep my left shoulder back. My seat bones are on the saddle but my ample butt spills over...

What I did after I got on, was twist my leaping head so that it faced the front and scooted myself as far forward as I could comfortably. When I did this, I felt my seat bones even up and I could feel them resting into the seat spot of the saddle where the seat swelled out at it's maximum. Then I turned the leaping head back into position (I think I may need to open it up a bit more for my leg) and let my leg hang down loose and bring it back up into a comfortable position without moving my seat bones. Checking the new length of my leg against the old stirrup length, I could see that I would need to length my leather by two holes. 

With the stirrup set two holes lower (it was on number 10 so moved it down to 8), we started our warm up with walking and trotting on a loose rein. I immediately felt the difference in my new position. It was more stable and comfortable and Hattie felt it too. It was also easier to bring my left shoulder back as well without twisting so much. I did find during trotting, that my leather felt a bit long and that I was starting to reach for it so came to a halt, reset my position and brought the leather up one hole to 9 and continued our schooling. That felt MUCH better and although Hattie was a still a bit unsure of me, she went into canter easier than before and I did not have to twist. I still need to work on my new off-siding position before we attempt a Prelim test or showing but I think I may have figured our how to ride in this Old Lady of a saddle.

This is me at the end of our schooling session with our new position and stirrup length and I've managed to keep my seat bones level. There is no overhang off the back of the saddle and my seat bones are in the sweet spot. The sip of the seat, also fits the widest part of my thigh better too. I'm also sitting central with no twisting at the waist to get my left shoulder back.

With our new stirrup length, my right leg is in a normal riding position, not as far back as it was and I am able to bring my lower left leg right back and bring my toe down which I was unable to do so with the old riding position, so that I have good purchase on the saddle.

We're entered in the Intro A test at the dressage show on Sunday as I still need to work on our aids cantering in this saddle (Hattie will be ambidextrous at the end of it all!!) and making our new position solid, but I'm going to take her out for a hack tomorrow in our off-sider and ride in my new riding position so fingers crossed we hold it together for the show on Sunday!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The Next Generation

Not only were Barbara and I side saddle at the South Kilworth Riding Club shows but two young ladies also  made their side saddle debut at the show as well.

You remember Maria who tried out my little pilch side saddle in August? Well, I did promise her that she could show her pony Misty, in my pilch and show she did! That girl did not want to get out of that side saddle and rode around the show grounds in it all day after her two fun showing classes were finished. The only reason why I got it back, was because she had to pack up to go home! LOL!

Misty is very round so brought my gel grip pad to stabilize the saddle (which it did!) and Maria and Misty came 5th in the "Pony Judge Would Most Like to Take Home" and got a special placing in "Cheekiest Face".

Maria and Misty just tacked up in the side saddle before her classes...

Walking around while the judge chose the pony that they Would Most Like to Take Home...

The Fun Showing classes don't usually call for cantering but they do usually have the young riders (mostly novice riders), trot around and was worried that Maria would have problems at the trot as she had only even done a few strides on the lead rein at home but I can see that my worries were unfounded as she just did it without any hesitation. Ah, to be young and fearless again!

Maria and Misty with their 5th place rosette...

Maria, Misty and Chloe showing her friend's horse, Bailey, in Cheekiest Face (note Barbara riding side saddle in the background as well!)...

Chloe also got her chance to ride aside that day as since she doesn't have her own horse and was desperate to show, I allowed her to ride Hattie but on one condition, that she rode her side saddle as I didn't feel like bringing her astride saddle (*evil grin*).

Now Chloe has never ridden side saddle, ridden in a double bridle or even ridden Hattie for that matter, so threw her on the saddle with my apron buttoned under her Pony Club jumper and off we went to the warm up field for a mini 10 minute side saddle lesson before her fun showing class, Prettiest Mare. Note Hattie's priceless expression!

Within the 10 minutes Chloe was trotting Hattie like a pro on BOTH reins (not bouncing either!) on a 20 metre circle and managing to hold the double reins as well (I said she could keep the curb rein very loose so she wouldn't have to worry about it). Seeing this, I had no worry about Chloe riding Hattie by herself with no lead rein so off we went as Prettiest Mare was about to start.

Chloe and Hattie walking around in Prettiest Mare...

and coming in 3rd place!

It looks like we have the next generation of side saddle riders folks and they are all naturals!