Category Archives: Side Saddle
This series is based on a guide I drew up a few years ago ahead of a clinic I delivered to novice adults and children. There are a wealth of showing experts out there and I will not pretend to know as much nor more than any of them. This guide is not intended for experts, it is intended to give showing novices (and parents!) some sound and basic advice on how to understand what ridden showing is, what the different ridden classes are and what their horses and ponies might be eligible for. I have been showing as an amateur for years and really enjoy it but will admit when I first started, especially when showing Connemaras, I didn’t really know what was right or expected so I needed and sought expert advice. Given how often I hear people asking what is allowed, what type their horse is and how to get started at showing, I believe this document might provide some help to anyone looking to go showing for the first time. I have also tried to include tips and tricks I learned along the way. This chapter looks at the different types of classes and horses. The next chapters to follow will cover class formats, turnout and a guide for grooms.
1. “Do you wear anything underneath your skirt?”
No darling, I am all wool habit and no knickers
Felicity and I were meant to be together. I first met her on the side of a road when I collected her and another saddle off her owner to bring her to be used on a horse at a side saddle camp a friend had organised. I knew sweet FA about side saddles at the time but loved the look of her as she was a dark leather in contrast to the other doe skin saddles.
Theres a new film coming out
About standoffish Mr Grey
And a moron without sense
Who bites her lip all day
I’m confused by all these women
Who think this is such kink
If they turn up in the stable yard
They won’t know what to think
Read the rest of this entry
When the ladies side saddle class returned to the show ring in the 2014 RDS Dublin Horseshow it was not filled with professional riders on professional show horses. Instead the ring was filled with a variety of horses and riders that served as a beautiful demonstration of versatility. The majority of these riders were not professionals and each one had earned their right to be there by competing successfully at one of the four qualifiers held earlier in the year. The class included show horses, hunters, ex race horses and all-rounders. Likewise the riders themselves hailed from different backgrounds and disciplines from hunting to point to pointing.
When some of the side saddle ladies including Ciara my side saddle friend and mentor recently declared that lipstick for side saddle showing should not be red, I was relieved. I have nothing against red lipstick but it simply doesn’t suit me. I either end up looking like a child in their parents make up or a lady that should be on a street corner somewhere. I won’t profess to know a whole lot about side saddle but thanks to being a complete makeup junkie I know a bit more about make up. After a chat with Ciara on what make up we should be wearing while riding aside I was able to pick out what exactly I need from my makeup stash.
Neutral shades, matte textures, weatherproof and smudge proof make up.
Frost/shimmery eye shadows, bright red lipstick, orange foundation or bronzer, clown blusher
Bright shades of eye shadow, glitter (let’s be clear, no one 100 years ago had glitter on their face while on a horse), tide lines, panda eyes.
Back on Easter bank holiday weekend I attended a dressage clinic at Toberton Lodge. Now you are probably thinking sure that’s a good while ago, and it is but I figured it made sense to work on what we covered and see how it went before I wrote about it. Our clinic was with Irelands equestrian Paralympic champion Helen Kearney. Helen is the great success story of the 2012 Paralympic Games taking home three medals across team and individual events. For me, I remember Helen from before then. I remember Helen back when she was a child and she came to ride at the yard where I ride and keep a horse. I remember her determination as she jumped her pony Robin and her will to succeed no matter what stood in her way. It was no surprise that these traits served her well at the 2012 games and when Helen returned to the yard to deliver one of her first coaching clinics in dressage I was keen to get in the ring. Read the rest of this entry
“Luck is when preparation meets opportunity” is one of my favourite phrases. So often in competition, especially when things go wrong, we talk about what you can buy – the best horse with the most potential, the expensive clothing, the sessions with the best coach / instructor / sports psychologist. However it is the existence of luck that levels any playing field. You cannot buy it, sell it, create it, harness it or control it. Luck can be at your back propelling you to victory or pushing against you to defeat. Luck will defy all odds and laugh in the face of assumption. Luck is the unlucky pole down that your horse barely touched, it is the lost button, the bad weather or the little spook or buck that the showing judge was looking away for.
It is almost time for the annual riding clubs festival. Times have been issued, weather apps are being consulted, child of prague statues are being plonked out on doorsteps, plans are being made and lists are being written.
You can check out what I learned at last year’s festival here. In the meantime, considering I have been going to the festival for a long as I have been in riding club I figured it made sense to compile a list of survival tips for newbies and first timers…..
- Past years would suggest that the weather will always be either scorching hot or lashing rain. This means you should be optimistic and pack shorts, suncream and sunglasses, lots of water and fly repellent. This also means you should be realistic and pack water proof trousers, a change of clothing, a waterproof sheet for your horse, wellies and anything waterproof you own.