Early Friday morning shot of the dressage rings on the way to the toilet!
Trade stands full of every side saddle thing and related items you could EVER want. Boy did I shop...
Saskia von Ehrenkrook's stand, a yearly favourite of mine to visit as she always has beautiful saddles and accessories for sale. She has a small seated off-side Mayhew for sale as well.
Another favourite stand to visit with lots of lovely saddles for sale- Laura Dempsey's stand! This year she had Jocelyn Danby, Nicola Watson and Tiffany Parkinson on hand at her stand. I was very lucky as I had the whole team there poke and prod at my poor Mayhew. Fortunately, Laura said that my Mayhew wasn't damaged beyond repair and she whacked the loose rivet back in. She said that the tree was in good condition for it's age and although it was ridable as it was with the rivet whacked back in, she said that if I continued riding in it, the rivet would just work loose again as it was shorn off on the other side (from when Hattie fell). She showed me the points where to get the metal on the tree welded to each other.
Laura and Tiffany fitting a saddle at her stand...
Johan Ulvede from Viking Saddlery was there repairing and refurbing old trees and saddles. I was amazed with how he repaired some REALLY BROKEN old trees so that they were as good as new. Laura suggested I take my Mayhew to him to get the points she showed me welded and now I have a Mayhew that is as strong as it was when it was new!
The Wilkins Family stand displaying a variety of saddles including the synthetic Millenium saddle which they hope to produce again soon. They also had a beautiful Edwardian riding habit on display and lots of side saddle photos. I could have stood there hours looking at everything.
Another one of my FAVOURITE shopping stands, Side Saddles! They sell pretty much anything you could imagine side saddle. A word of warning, NEVER come to the Nationals without plenty of money to shop.
ANOTHER favourite stand of mine, Showtime Supplies owned by Trish Daly. She made by lovely green keeper's tweed habit and can make any habit you desire at a reasonable price as well as altering an existing habit. I brought my navy Mears cutaway jacket and two of my aprons to the Nationals get altered by her.
And last but not least is Sarah's stand, A Bit on the Side Saddle where we hung out and talked horse and side saddle for all the days of the Nationals. Sarah introduced her new Melody side saddle (the off-side Megan version was not ready in time for the show but I brought my off-sider for people to try at the show to see how it feels to sit on the off-side) and it is SO COMFORTABLE to sit on. The leather is lovely on it and it's all European. I'm so looking forward to the Megan.
Sarah's special side saddle boots where you get a shorter right boot with suede on the outside of the right boot for extra grip on the saddle. She informed me that I could get these made for off-side riding....
AND the lovely NEW and MODERN riding habit made from soft shell material! I've already ordered and paid for mine and am getting two aprons, a near and a off-side one. The jackets come in standard sizing but the aprons are custom to your measurements, which is good, as I needed a longer one than the display one. so if you are tall, it's not a problem! The jackets will fit you whether you are tall or short! I couldn't believe it when I tried on the jacket and the sleeves FIT my long arms as well as fitting shorter ladies who tried it. I can wait to get mine.
Sarah and I did get to see a couple of classes during quiet times and I snapped these photos of the historic costume class.
On the Saturday night, we went to see the Rider of the Year class where the final four riders battled it out to be the Rider of the Year. Basically, all 4 riders had to ride 4 unknown horses and keep rotating until all 4 had ridden each horse, the judges judging their equitation each time. Samantha Boxhall was the winner this year and I would not have liked to have been a judge as I couldn't choose between any of the riders as they all rode so well. It was very interesting and something to aspire to!