I did get to go to the Nationals this year but with a severe case of jet lag as it was the day after we got back from our long haul trip to Montreal. I spent most of the time hanging out with my friends in my friend Sarah's trade stand, A Bit on the Side Saddle as she had chairs, drink, sweets and her stand smelled nice, of new side saddles.
The summer, the British summer has been a wash out with constant rain since April so the rain at this year's Nationals wasn't a surprise. I did manage to take photos between rain showers though and hope they caught the atmosphere of the show. As usual, the vendors had AMAZING stock and I came away with this lovely Champion & Wilton style saddle for Hattie from German Master Saddler, Saskia Von Ehrenkrook which as made April 10, 1893. I've been riding in it for the past two weeks and it is SO comfortable but unfortunately, although it fits Hattie, it has the same problem that all C&W saddles tend to have, the tree is too curved inwards for her conformation and pinches her slightly on the off-side shoulder just like my old C&W did.
What is neat about this saddle, is the plethora of D-rings it has! It has D-rings on the nearside for a skirt protector, an extra 3rd D ring where the sandwich case goes and a fold down d-ring on the front of the off-side flap!
I also stocked up on red hair nets and found a white lampwick girth for Hattie to use with our off-side side saddle next year for the costume class. More on that later on in the year as my costume progresses however.
Despite the rain, the classes at Addington went on as usual including the Geoffrey Worsfold Pony Rider Stakes with brave little girls jumping their ponies over 2' fences.
The early 1900's habit shown in this photo is for sale on their website for a very reasonable price..
Riders waiting for the Geoffrey Worsfold Horse Starter Stakes while the rain decides to hold off, where jumps range between 2' and 2'6".
Cute little lead rein riders in the Henrietta Barton Lead Rein Pony class. This is the age to start!
The winner on a fancy stitched Victorian pilch side saddle!
A young rider waiting and warming up for the Valerie Lewis Fledgling Rider class to start for riders between the ages of 5 and 10.
There this year was the talented side-saddler, Laura Dempsey! This horse was HUGE that she was fitting.
A peek at Laura's stand for those who aren't lucky enough to visit in person but many of the saddles for sale, are available on her website.
I thought this Champion & Wilton on Laura's stand was interesting as the fixed head was so far over to the left. I asked her if it had been made for a lady with VERY large thighs and she told me no, the fixed head was broken! She explained that it could be fixed and how they fix it but the lady who owned it kept putting larger and larger queens on the fixed head over time as it was going more and more over, thinking it was her that was the problem and not the saddle! I was a very nice and comfy looking saddle however.
Another one of my favorite stands to visit is Headlines owned by Jan Lines as she has stockings side saddle and hunting themed antiques and collectibles, vintage riding habits and accessories like top hats and bowlers and antique clothing. All the favorite things! If you wish to contact her, her details are:
Nr. Southam, Warwickshire
01295 770 689
jan_lines1 @ yahoo.co.uk (please removed the space before and after the @ sign)
A little girl's habit...
A collection of vintage bowler hats...
Reproduction riding habit along with original antique whites..
Antique and vintage tops hats!
My friend Sarah Parry's Bit on the Side Saddle stand, full of brand new side saddles and side saddle goodies!
Sarah has been working on producing a line of affordable AND correctly made side saddles and accessories to fit the budget of most riders. The two tan saddles are models she is trialling. I was lucky enough to be able to sit in both of them and both felt comfortable and balanced and I was struck by the quality of the leather and the workmanship. I am not just saying these things because I am her friend but I would be happy to put these on Hattie and would feel safe riding in them. Unfortunately, both demonstration saddles were too wide for Hattie so I couldn't take them home with me!!
I really do love tan tack...
The leather on dark tan saddle reminded me of Stubben quality leather and this one fit my bum well...
I liked the light tan one too but the seat was a little short for me. I found the pommels supportive and the seat A LOT more comfier than my hard Whippy. The upright position of the fixed head was just how I like it too.
This is another model Sarah produces as well and it is a VERY lovely saddle for the price and VERY comfortable. She makes them in draft sizes too. They are NOT nasty saddles stuffed with medical waste and with trees made from pallet wood, they are proper flocked saddles on side saddle trees. When I sat on it, I felt balanced and the pommels were good for my leg too.
This is a similar tree that is used in the dark tan side saddle. The one in the dark tan saddle, was based on a Victorian or western design whereas this one is a modern designed tree for jumping and the hunting bar is MASSIVE on it. Sarah will be doing safety fittings on her saddles but also sells safety irons for those with roller bars. To be honest, I don't have a problem riding in a roller bar saddle as every time I've come off, my safety iron has opened up WAY before I've hit the ground.
I also enjoy visiting Saskia von Ehrenkrook's stand as she always has the most interesting saddles and makes BEAUTIFUL saddles as well!
She has a small off-side Mayhew for sale, I believe it is either 15" or 15 1/2" (UK sizing) and it is in MINT condition, so if you need a small off-sider, please contact Saskia!
Vintage bowlers and a gorgeous saddle that Saskia has made.
Taking a break from shopping while the sun has made a brief appearance. I think these riders were waiting for the Dassels Bury Ridden Coloured Horse or Pony class to start.
Started raining heavy again so we headed over to the Side Saddles stand which is a plethora of EVERYTHING side saddle, even side saddle toilet seats which my friend Julia, ended up buying.
After running out of money and it still raining hard, we went into the indoor arena to have a peek at what was going on.
Riders in the warm up ring keeping dry...
Pony rider watching the Tessa Mitchell Classical Ladies Side Saddle Finals...
My camera didn't catch them very well, but this horse had nice quartermarks!
Tessa Mitchell Classical Ladies Side Saddle Finals, a rider starts her individual show...
Then my husband came in the car to pick us up but I managed to get this last photo of pony riders going into the ring (MINUS aprons!) for the Cleanall Soda Pop Challenge. It's exactly like the ladies champagne challenge but with pop and the kids get to take off their aprons so they don't spill it all over them.
All being well, Hattie and I plan on showing next year at the Nationals so next year's installment of the SSA Nationals show report, hopefully will be done from my view as a competitor, not just as a shopper and spectator!