A Ladies Guide to Preparing to Ride Side Saddle

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I was asked earlier today by a rider if there were any exercises she could to prepare for riding in a side saddle lesson. Having only recently converted to the sideways side I thought it was only fair to share my experience and what I learned in those valuable first few weeks.


Phase 1 – Financials

 1. Stop heading for the sale sections and the bargain basements. They are dead to you now. Head into a tack shop, pick up something expensive made of top quality fabric in brown, navy, green or black. Pay for it with money you shouldn’t be spending while telling yourself ‘it’s an investment’.

2. Go back a few weeks later and buy another because having one just won’t cut it.

 3. Join every online auction site and spend hours looking for vintage attire and bidding on things. If the item in question won’t fit you or your horse, tell any friends about it who are the right size.

 4. Congratulations you are now an enabler with expensive taste.

Phase 2 – Dress Code

 1. If it has bling on it, is in any shade of pink/purple/orange/baby blue or has a big logo on it – burn it

 2. If it’s made of tweed or wool – wear it

 3. Develop a penchant for anything with hound prints on it

Phase 3 – Lifestyle

1. Quit the alco pops, the cheap wine and the spirits with mixers

2. Switch drinking in pubs and nightclubs for drinking in fields, tents and horse lorries.

 3. Buy a hip flask

 4. Learn how to make at least one lethal concoction by mixing wild berries with a bottle of spirits and keeping it in the hot press

Phase 4 – Physical exertion and pain threshold

 1. Practice telling yourself to suck it up every time something hurts

 2. When on a horse make yourself do several laps of sitting trot.

 3. Find a place that will sell you good painkillers without an interrogation (you will need them!)

 4. Find a high bar stool with no back and make two diagonal legs shorter than the others.

 5. Sit sideways on the bar stool

 6. Have someone vigorously shake the stool while you hold on for dear life using only your right ass cheek.

 7. Clench stomach muscles hard

 8. At the same time point your right toe downwards while twisting your lower right leg to the right (you are trying it now aren’t you?)

 9. Shove your right shoulder back so you don’t poleaxe yourself and fall off the stool

 10. Once you have mastered the bar stool, try it on a horse

The good news is after a few weeks it starts to feel nice!


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12 thoughts on “A Ladies Guide to Preparing to Ride Side Saddle

  1. Better still…it gets addictive, and the trusty old GP saddle (or whichver is your..ahem… ‘astride’ preference), starts getting dusty and sulking in the corner of the tack room…!
    Once I ‘got it’ and my leg and back muscles worked out the new directions I wanted them to work in I absolute loved riding side-saddle. I honestly used to just hack out side-saddle…for fun, yes truly!
    The stool analogy had me laughing out loud. I’ve just tried it in the kitchen, and its absolutely spot on! I only wish Betty Skelton had started me out on a stool all those years ago, instead of some of the crazy, snorting beasts I had my first few lessons on!

  2. I went to Ardmulchan on Saturday…I ran out of excuses not to go! I rode Rambo and had a ball! It’s now Monday and my muscles are still giving out yards, but I am ignoring them!
    All I can think of now is, “when can I do it again”!

  3. You have inspired me to give it a go, here in southern California. I’m going to a side saddle clinic in San Diego on Tuesday, taught by Linda Flemmer . I’ll be riding a strange horse in a stranger saddle … !

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